“I’m concerned because that’s my passion. I teach these kids every day. At the middle school level, they’re very vulnerable and if we remove that or water it down, where is that going to leave us?”, says Terri Baker, Health Education Teacher at Lincoln Middle School.
And this is the concern among quite a few teachers across the region with some proposed policy changes from the West Virginia State Board of Education in Health and Physical Education.
Baker says, “So as it stands now, I have a classroom of 25 to 30 students, and every day I am dealing with issues that these kids are dealing with in life. Real life issues.”
WVDE Policy 2510 would all but remove Health and Physical Education in the middle school setting, a class in which basic skills for student success are taught.
“Nutrition education, obesity, suicide prevention, self harm prevention, and these are issues and these issues are issues that kids need real information for”, Baker says.
One county Superintendent says that nothing is going to change even if this potential change becomes a reality
Dr. Mark Manchin, Superitendent, Harrison County Public Schools says, “I want to make sure everybody is clear that this is a minimum requirement, and we can exceed that and we will. We will continue to have health, we will continue to have physical education we will not reduce the number of teachers as a result of this policy.”
And it’s not just county leaders that are listening to this. Other state leaders say while they don’t think health education will be cut, they’re working to address these issue in the schools.
“I’d like to think we could respond to this opioid crisis with strategies that make a difference, but honestly I can’t say that with certainty. I wish that I could, but I can assure you that we will perform out best efforts to try to address solutions to the problem”, says Dr. Steven Paine, West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools.
Besides the changes to Health and Physical Eduation, the proposed changes to Policy 2510lowers the amount of credits high school seniors need to graduate as well as change the grading scale that’s used in some schools across the state.
To comment on the proposed changes to WVDE Policy 2510, click here.