Consequences of Changes to the Wellness Policy and Policy 141

Testimony of Robin Lowry to the BOE, October 22, 2020

Good Evening Dr. Hite and Board members.  This is my 15th hour on a computer today slightly higher than my virtual school average, that is as a PE teacher who routinely got 20,00 steps per day.  I’m here tonight to advocate for Health and PE.  The Wellness Policy originally was considered a boon for Health and PE because it underscored the critical place of Health and Wellness in a school’s community at a time of cuts in PE in favor of testing under No Child Left Behind.  Removing language from the Wellness Policy of providing access to high quality Health and PE instruction as well as language around recess makes is worrisome.  Setting forth the “expected instructional minutes” for Health and PE is evasive.   Currently students can graduate High School with 1.5 credits in Health and PE which they can earn in as little as a half year. Is that is expected?  Elementary school students may have Health and PE 1- 2 times per week for 45 minutes per class -not enough time to teach the skills necessary for Lifelong Wellness. 

Reducing HPE course requirements while outsourcing Social and Emotional Learning lessons to outside agencies devalues Wellness for district students. Why spend money outsourcing when you could hire more Health and PE teachers. We are already teaching the most essential content during a Pandemic -mask maintenance, Mental Health, Stress Management and Mindfulness skills.  Outsourcing seems like a bad management decision and not one based in science. Criticism of federal agencies for being anti-science and yet failing to use Education science in favor of Market Theories is ironic.

“Right sizing” the district for fungible fiscal reasons without seriously addressing class size in schools that tests have shown for 20 yeast need resources is anti-science. Why did the ratio of Black students at Masterman shrink from the 90’s? Capable and curious students in Renaissanced and closed schools like Wister were used to create a narrative of failing schools. That’s what’s happened since the 90’s.Why would you remove resources from schools that testing demonstrated needed support except to create a fictitious reason to Renaissance a school and give them to Charters companies.  If Wister students received the resources needed to raise academic success rather than the 5 years of resources being pulled prior to Renaissanc-ing then those students would be entering Masterman not left as pawns in the Charter Industry’s narrative. Your Equity Efforts now cannot cover up your Broad Academy Agenda.