Data: Many Illinois schools cut back on physical education

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Data released by the Illinois State Board of Education show many schools in the state have cut back on days of physical education on class schedules.

The Chicago Tribune said Wednesday that nearly 1,200 Illinois schools have been trimming the number of physical education days, frequently saying they don't have facilities or staff to have the courses daily, which is required by a state law.

Of the roughly 3,100 schools that reported, slightly over 60 percent said they had five days a week of physical education.

Not all districts reported in the manner asked by the state, while some didn't report.

State Board of Education spokeswoman Laine Evans said the agency doesn't have plans to sanction school districts regarding physical education. There's a focus from the State Board of Education on working with districts to gather information on physical education.

"Going forward if a district fails to submit this information, more severe consequences will be considered," Evans said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has said that he wants to lift the daily physical education requirement for schools.

For many school districts, lessened physical education time has come partly because hundreds of waivers in the physical education law have gotten the approval of Illinois legislators over the years. State Board of Education records show that Chicago Public Schools has received at least four such waivers, with the last expiring in 2014.

Round Lake Community Unit School District 116 for several years had permission to have students in first-through-sixth grades have physical education every other day in the school week due to inadequate facilities. The waiver expired in 2014, and the Lake County district wasn't able to give those children daily physical education, citing circumstances such as academics and lack of space.

Because of the expiration of waivers in many districts, just a few dozen school districts currently have state approval to cut days of physical education.


Information from: Chicago Tribune,