FLINT TWP. — A change in graduation requirements means that Carman-Ainsworth eighth-graders heading to high school in the fall will not be required to sweat as much as their predecessors.
The new graduation requirement, approved by the board of education last week, reduced the physical education requirement from one full year down to a half-credit along with a half-credit health requirement.
Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff said the change was recommended by the District Curriculum Council and included input from physical education teachers.
The change aligns with the Michigan Merit curriculum PE requirement and with other school districts, Tunnicliff said The new PE requirement will begin with the class of 2017 who will be freshman in the fall.
It will allow them more freedom in choosing electives to meet the district’s 24-credit graduation requirement, which otherwise remains unchanged.
C-A other graduation credit requirements include four math credits, three science credits, four English credits, three social studies credits, one half credit in computer literacy and eight elective credits meeting visual, applied and performing arts requirements.
The reduced PE requirement does not preclude students from taking four years of PE or more advanced PE classes, if they choose to, Tunnicliff said.
Patrice Hatcher, board president, added that the reduced PE requirement will help students meet a two-year foreign language Michigan Merit requirement that began with the class of 2016, who are currently freshmen.
Hatcher acknowledged that some PE teachers would have preferred keeping one full year of physical education classes but saw the merits of giving students more options including room to take more math and science courses.
On the other hand, a 2011 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students 12 percent were obese, 15 percent did not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on any day; 73 percent were physically active at least 60 minutes per day on less than seven days; 66 percent did not attend physical education classes in an average week when in school; 73 percent did not attend PE classes five days in an average week when in school; 29 percent watched television three or more hours per day on an average school day and 27 percent used computers for something other than school work for three or more hours per day on an average school day.