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Posted at 9:40 AM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Fairfax delegates urge Mc­Don­nell to veto PE bill

By Rosalind S; Helderman

Four Fairfax County delegates are urging Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) to veto a bill mandating that elementary and middle schools devote 150 minutes to physical education each week.

In a letter sent earlier this week, the four Republicans -- Dels. Dave Albo , Barbara Comstock, Tim Hugo and Tom Rust -- call the bill an "unfunded mandate" that would, according to Fairfax officials, cost the county $18 to $24 million and "crowd out other mandates and accountability requirements in academics."

"In science and math, we need to be increasing our time on task, not decreasing it," they write. "This bill would have the opposite impact and set us back academically."

The letter specifically praises McDonnell's wife Maureen, along with Michelle Obama, for embracing the cause of ending childhood obesity, which bill supporters say motivated the legislation.

But they write that the issue is better addressed though the private sector and public education than a "one size fits all mandate to our schools."

All four of the delegates voted against the bill in the General Assembly, so their continued opposition is not surprising. But their letter, following a similar missive from Fairfax County, ratchets up the pressure on Mc­Don­nell to veto the measure.

He has not yet indicated whether he intends to sign the bill into law.

By Rosalind S; Helderman  | March 8, 2011; 9:40 AM ET
Categories:  !General Assembly, General Assembly 2011, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Comments

Really??? What are they going to take away next, lunch? Sigh...30 minutes of decompresson a day for these kids is too much to ask? Maybe Dels. Dave Albo, Barbara Comstock, Tim Hugo and Tom Rust should sit on their butts in classrooms for a month with the walk from classroom to classroom their only exercise. I'm all for improvements in science and math but kids are not robots. They need a break just like any adult.

Can we leave the schools alone already?? There are far more frivolous expenditures out there that we can do away with...find them!! Maybe if all the state delegates and senators take a pay cut, they can save the $18 to $24 million.

Posted by: cheez | March 8, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Unfunded mandate?" I guess the Fairfax GOP delegates didn't get the memo that this magic phrase was to be employed against President Obama only. I suppose they will be challenging McDonnell's Virginia residency next.

Posted by: Cossackathon | March 8, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

State Sen. Chap Petersen, who sponsored the PE bill, has also sent a letter to the Governor urging him to sign the bill. the letter was posted on Sen. Petersen's oxroadsouth.com blog and which reads in part:

"In regard to the physical education bill, I strongly support a mandatory physical education requirement for today’s school children. I am the father of three healthy school children. They receive an excellent public school education. Unfortunately, their physical education is limited to only two days a week. Moreover, the objective standards of the “President’s Physical Fitness Exam” have been jettisoned as a means for measuring our childrens’ fitness. With the current problem of childhood obesity, I believe our schools are on the wrong track to de-emphasize fitness. I understand that physical education takes away from classroom time, but young children cannot just sit down all day. They need to run around. The standard of 150 minutes per week is a minimum standard, in my opinion, for children in grades K-8 to stay active. I am puzzled by the assumption that such a program, which won’t take effect until 2015, is “unfunded.” Our schools already have physical education teachers, as well as modern gymasiums and playgrounds. Let’s use them every day."

I tend to agree with Sen. Petersen on this. It is important for kids to get a chance to run around every day. Having PE only twice a week simply isn't good enough.

Posted by: aardvarks | March 8, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh.. the kids only get PE twice a week? That's tragic. Forget their academics then, they need more activity. If they don't get it out, they'll just be hyperactive in the classroom - then nobody learns.

Posted by: RandomAnon | March 8, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if parents didn't let their kids sit in front of the TV, computer, or video game, they wouldn't need any more PE.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the diets.

It all comes down to parenting. Don't put the responsibility on the schools.

Posted by: jwash4472 | March 8, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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