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Unintended Consequences Cost The Kids

      Ann McMaster read my column about the new Phys Ed requirement for Florida public schools. But she suggested that maybe the new initiative wasn’t so well thought out.

      Dear Mr. Grimm - I enjoy your columns and can certainly relate to having inert preteen biomasses draped on the furniture. However, in praising the
new middle school PE requirements, I think you overlooked the unintended negative consequences.

      I'm sure you realize they didn't add any school time, nor will they be taking away a nanosecond from FCAT drills. Instead, it comes at the expense of the other electives: art, music, and especially
foreign languages. Yes, we found out today that this has basically eliminated Spanish classes in middle school. Geez, why would anyone want to
learn Spanish living in a bi-lingual, bi-cultural community?

      Aside from the fact that Spanish is the fastest growing language in the US, and that propensity for learning languages drops precipitously after age 12, kids won't even be able to get a job at the mall here in a few years without Spanish.

      After five years of the coloring, cutting out pictures and watching kids' movies in Spanish three times a week that constitutes MDCPS' ludicrous
excuse for a an elementary school Spanish program for non-speakers, we were so looking forward to middle school and a "real" Spanish program last year. But alas, budget cuts were blamed for last year's new rule at Palmetto Middle - no Spanish allowed for 6th graders! So of course, they let go yet
another Spanish teacher this year.

      Now, apparently there aren't enough
teachers to allow 6th OR 7th graders to take Spanish.

      At Palmetto Middle School, the demand for Spanish was so high that they went to a lottery - for
8th graders only. Everyone else gets to go do jumping jacks.

      For my son, who is an avid after school athlete, taking PE is a total waste of a class period and came at the expense of a valuable skill that would benefit him personally, academically and professionally in the future.

Maybe those "good intentions" not only weren't funded, they weren't particularly well thought out.


     

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