Kentucky becomes the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/language arts. The Common Core State Standards Initiative are a part of Secretary Arne Duncan’s historic $4 billion “Race to the Top”  funding program.

While this (Kentucky’s adoption of Common Core State Standards) may not be of interest for the average K-12 physical educator, it reveals a new direction for our country.  This is a significant departure from how we normally develop K-12 public school curriculum. For many decades, content area curriculum (including physical education) was written and approved at the state level (i.e., your State Department of Education wrote the curriculum and it was approved by the State Board of Education).

The establishment of a national curriculum is well on its way.

Who Developed the Common Core Standards? These common core standards were developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (this is the national organization for State Superintendents of Education) and the National Governors Association (national organization for Governors).

What this Means for PE: There may be several implications for physical educators:

  1. The use of “Core Standards” language is a good. For years, physical educators have been faced with having to deal with 30+ student objectives per grade.  For example, there is a state in the West that begins with a “C” that has 47 PE outcomes for Kindergarten, 61 for 1st grade, and so on. 200+ objectives for an elementary PE teacher to deal with.  This is just a bit too many…. Personally, I like the 12 “PE Power Standards” format our company has developed. To get a copy of this, just e-mail me.
  2. The move towards a national curriculum is good.  I personally like this idea as long as we have a good balance between skill development and physical activity outcomes. Again, I like the notion of incorporating CDC’s physical activity recommendations and long with the five commonly-accepted obesity prevention behaviors [(1) 60 minutes of daily physical activity, (2) limiting screen time to 1 hour or less a day, (3) eating 5-9 fruits/vegetables a day, (4) getting 8-11 hours of sleep each night, and (5) limiting sugar-added beverages].
  3. Contact Your Governor! Isn’t the National Governors Association the same group who invited Michelle Obama to keynote at their Opening Plenary session?  As a group, they appear to be understand the fiscal impact of childhood obesity.  Now, we need to get them to hold their PE teachers more accountable!

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