So, I'm going through the pile of paperwork we finally got from East High for the start of the school year (long story behind that "finally" . . one that doesn't need reiterating . . ) and I come upon a pink sheet which begins "To the Students and Families of Sioux City Community Schools," and ends with a "Healthy Kids Act Contract".
Now, let me remind you that I am a relatively intelligent woman. I have a Master's degree, even. Yet, I had to read this letter over and over and over again before I completely grasped what it was asking of me. This obscurity was the first issue I had with this pink sheet. My second issue with it emerged when I finally grasped what it was asking of me.
Apparently, Iowa has a law requiring that public schools must ensure that middle and high school students "engage in physical activity for a minimum of 120 minutes per week in which there are at least five days of school." Sioux City's high school students are required to take PE every semester, but the PE class only meets every other day -- that is, three days one week, two days the next. And on the two-day weeks, the students do not get their 120 minute minimum.
So, parents are apparently required to make up this difference, and we are to fill out this contract to describe how we will do that. The form asks for the activity the student will participate in, its starting and ending dates, etc. Does this seem bizarre to anyone? I mean, just how are they supposed to enforce this? What's to keep a parent from lying and saying their kid is playing soccer at the Y twice a week when he's not? And what would they do if a parent just said, no, my kid isn't doing any stinkin' physical activity? Since when does the school have the authority to prescribe how their students spend their time off campus and off hours?
But, wait -- there's more! They offer a list of possible activities that will meet this mandate, which includes, along with sports, dance, drill team, cheerleading and such . . . are you ready for this? . . . "Interscholastic activities sponsored by the Iowa High School Music Association or Iowa High School Speech Assocation."
Seriously? Orchestra concerts and debate tournaments count as PE?? This is absurd.
I'm sure legislators had Iowa's children's best interests at heart when they came up with this baloney. I'm sure they thought anything that would lead to students becoming more physically active is a positive thing. But perhaps they should have thought through whether the time-consuming, paper-wasting process they set up was actually going to make kids more active, or just set their parents and schools up to be liars.