Georgia Senate Bill 474, or the Student Health and Fitness Act, has passed the Senate and is now waiting for House approval. If we don't act now it WILL BECOME LAW.
SB 474 looks good on paper. It is designed to help children stay fit. Elementary school students will be required to excerise for 30 minutes a day while at school. Middle School students will be required to excerise for 50 minutes a day while at school. Schools are already scrunched for time, however. There will be no time for music, art, and language classes. At my brother's middle school they have band class for 30 minutes every other day. Music classes already suffer without the state requiring 50 minutes of exercise per day.
Georgia does have a high child obesity rate (35% of children are obese). However, lifestyle changes need to be made in order for this to change. State mandated exercise is not going to make this change if nothing is changing at home. We also cannot forget the 65% of Georgia children who are not obese.
The bill will also be costly to implement (all teachers across the state will be trained in physical education), and it will result in the loss of fine arts education jobs.
A similar bill was passed in Texas not long ago. Fine arts classes across the state suffered for it.
If you live in Georgia, please right to your House Representative (You can find out who that person is and his/her e-mail address here). At my school, we are planning to use our Senior Skip Day to protest at the capital.
To non-Georgia residents: keep an eye out to make sure this doesn't happen in your state!
The GMEA wrote a nice letter you should take a look at.
If you would like to read Senate Bill 474 in its entirety, click here.
Note: For those of you who are unaffected by what goes on in Georgia, I'm sorry for spamming, but I thought it might interest you anyhow, ;P
I've posted this at viola_is_life and violists. If you guys know of any other communities that may be interested by this, please share!