Liberal Arts Blog — How bad is the State of Physical Education in the US?

John Muresianu
3 min readNov 7, 2020

Liberal Arts Blog — Saturday is the Joy of Sports, Dance, Fitness, and All Things Physical Day

Today’s Topic — How bad is the state of physical education in the US? What are best practices? Should physical education be nationalized?

Inactivity was a problem for children and adults before Covid. How much worse has it got? What should be done? Is this an opportunity to identify best practices and implement them remotely? What public school districts, what private schools have taken action? What is the most efficient way to attain an adequate level of fitness in terms of aerobics, strength, and flexibility under current conditions? Today, a few random notes gleaned from poking around the web. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. “Not one state follow the CDC recommendations for time spent in PE at all grade levels.”

2. “70% of children drop out of organized sports by age 13.”

3. Only one in five teenagers meets the CDC recommendation of one hour per day of physical activity.

GYM CLASSES ARE NOT DOING THE JOB (see fourth and fifth links)

1. “the average high school gym class only keeps students physically active for an average of 16 minutes!”

2. “In a class period that is about 45 minutes long, that isn’t a lot of active time.”

3. “In today’s educational climate in which standardized test performance in core subjects carries a significant amount of weight with regard to teacher and school evaluations, “wasting” all that time doing nothing in PE is something districts cannot afford. As such, PE classes have been cut so students can spend more time in core classes.”

NB: A study of a $37 MM Texas physical education initiative at the middle school level showed that it was actually counter-productive.”Not only does PE do little to improve fitness, it can also lead to truancy and other disciplinary problems.” (Atlantic Monthly, 1/29/19)


1.”the median PE budget for American school is only $764 a year” (Society of Health and Physical educators).

2. “In a school of 500 students, that means only $1.50 per child for PE, when total per pupil annual expenditures in our public schools exceeds $12,000.”

3. How costly would best practices adoption be?

Physical education is key to longer, happier lives. Our kids and schools need more of it.

New Physical Activity Guidelines Urge Americans: Move More, Sit Less

The Pros and Cons of Mandatory Gym Class in Public Schools |

Gym Class Is So Bad, Kids Are Skipping School to Avoid It

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PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to sports, dance, fitness. Or the coolest thing you learned about Sports, Dance, of Fitness in your life — whether on the field, on the dance floor or in the gym, whether from a coach, a parent, a friend, or just your own experimentation.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day. Or even change their life. It’s perhaps a chance to put into words something you have never articulated before. And to cement in your own memory something cool you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.



John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.