District creating couch potatoes

The Board of Education recently voted to lay off nine members of the CEA Bargaining Unit–many fewer than we expected. Attrition and the recently negotiated contract mitigated severe cuts to our unit; and we applaud this, except for the casualties.

We note a few hundred in particular: a 31-year teaching veteran–and a school building full of children whose health now is at stake.

It happened under the radar. A middle-school principal in an alternative school in the King-Lincoln District decided punishment was in order for the building’s physical education teacher who would not follow directives in blind obedience. This phys. ed. teacher had been hired by a former administrator–a highly regarded educational manager who went on to become an executive director.

So the principal waved the administrative wand and presto: There will be no physical education classes offered next year. Results? The teacher no longer has a position at the school. A physical education teacher at another school gets laid off. The children get no exercise.

CCS curriculum supervisors and the HR department have given their blessings for this cost-saving measure. Really? Is this a school district, or is this Wall Street? What is the real cost? Both teachers have made a life-long commitment to CCS and the students we serve. The district has invested millions of dollars in these employees and is now throwing this investment away.

But the students are the real victims. These students in their most critical years of adolescent development will lose three years of vital physical education necessary for their well being. How many times have we heard First Lady Michelle Obama talk about the need for physical activity and health education for our students? We all know that obesity and poor diet are prevalent among our CCS families. These children clearly are at risk.

We thought this district subscribed to the gold standard for our students. We thought our administrators wanted for our students what we all want for our own families. Could it be that this principal does not value physical education for his own children?