Editorial: School Board admits defeat in attempts to nurture strong minds with fit bodies

PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER Tony Wagner teaches Ripon High School students the fundamentals of tennis. Tim Lyke photo

Would you mind if your child took driver’s education classes on line?

Probably, if you felt that some behind-the-wheel training is more critical than a behind-the-computer tutorial.

What if that same child wanted to learn ballroom dancing — from the Internet?

You might object to that, too, if you expect one day your offspring might actually want to fox trot with a real-life partner.

Point is, some lessons are less adaptable to the computer age than others. ...

the notion of learning to become more physically fit while stationed behind a video display terminal seems antithetical to the mission of raising students to possess sound bodies as well as strong minds.

Yet that’s what the Ripon School Board agreed to do last week by approving a curriculum change that would have high school students as early as their sophomore year begin taking online, individualized, physical-education courses, with their progress monitored by staff.

In so doing, it hammered the first nail into a coffin that one day will contain Ripon schools’ efforts to teach students to ski, swim, bike, dance, play team sports and in other ways burn calories, build muscles and learn the fundamentals of fitness, understand good sportsmanship and appreciate the importance if not the satisfaction of physical exertion. ...

— Tim Lyke

Read the full editorial in the April 29, 2010 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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