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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Harvard Poll Finds Lack of Physical Education in Public Schools a Concern of Parents

In a time of heightened worries that U.S. public schools do not give enough emphasis to math and English, a new poll released December 2 finds that many parents are concerned about inadequate levels of physical education. NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health polled 1,368 parents of public school children in grades K-12 on a range of issues around education and health in the their child’s school. One in four parents (25 percent) said their child’s school gives too little emphasis to physical education, compared with  one in seven who say the same thing about reading and writing (14 percent) or math (15 percent). In addition, about three in 10 parents (28 percent) give a low grade (C, D or F) to their child’s school on providing enough time for physical education, while almost seven in 10 parents (68 percent) report that their child’s school does not provide daily physical education classes, a recommendation included in CDC guidelines for schools. Just under two in 10 parents (18 percent) give a low grade to their child’s school on providing quality facilities for physical exercise, like playgrounds, ball fields, or basketball courts.