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Letter to the Editor: Key role of health/phys ed undervalued

on February 16, 2014 2:00 AM

I read with great interest Tuesday’s article concerning staffing levels in the Indiana Area School District. I was particularly interested in the case Patrick Snyder was making to the board for the prevention of staff reductions in health and physical education.

I fully understand and agree with his professional concerns.

However, this scenario is nothing new. Members of our profession have spent untold hours and great amounts of energy throughout many years trying to overcome problems that ultimately prevent health and physical education from being rightfully accepted as an academic component of our education process.

Historically, I have been involved in academics as a student, coach and professor for well over a half-century. These same problems continue to resurface. Everyone agrees that education is important and yet we seldom adequately fund it. Many people think of education as a business, but it is not a business. It is not how many bolts you manufacture, or how many bridges you build or how many cars you sell.

The product is different and so, the budget considerations should differ accordingly. This process will probably lead to a different “bottom line.” We should have a broad-base source of revenue to properly fund education. We should no longer have to rely on real-estate taxes since the total budget is too large for this type of tax.

Subject areas other than reading, writing, math and science are generally not considered academic and are often thought of as frills. Health and physical education is especially vulnerable to cuts since many people don’t understand that it is “Education through the Physical” and, as such, is an important component in the complete education of the individual.

For many years I would ask my students to list the five most important things in their life.

There was never a list that didn’t include health, which was often listed as the most important.

I think it is so ironic that there is so much concern about the state of our national well-being and health care costs, and yet we are constantly looking to make cuts in programs that have been developed to teach individuals how to care for themselves.

This comes at a time when we should be increasing, not decreasing our support. So, if education is as important as we say it is, then we should render adequate support.

Dr. Edward Sloniger


Retired IUP professor

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