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In P.E., Who's Dropping the Ball?

July 18, 1996

Re "P.E. Gets a Life" (June 26) and "Testing the Teachers" (June 27): Lynell George and I have very different memories of physical education. I was one of those P.E. students who wore the "polyester zip-up suit." Unlike George, however, P.E. classes offered me some of my best memories while growing up. In fact, my experiences inspired me to want to become a P.E. teacher.

Now after 18 years of teaching P.E., I would like to present some personal views.

The problem is not the capabilities or commitment of the P.E. teacher; it's money and priority. The story mentions a teacher at Van Nuys Middle School who had to write and receive a grant in order to limit his class size to 40 and follow the current California P.E. framework.

I've never seen the new P.E. framework, and my principal and head counselor have yet to receive one. There are no district in-services for P.E., at least that I'm aware of. I have, however, been through mandatory in-services for math, science, English and Spanish. Where did the money come from to implement these in-services? Why must P.E. educators write grant proposals to implement a state framework?

Give us some priority. Let's start with smaller class sizes, training and equipment. We will pick up the ball and run.

KANDY CHAIN

Los Angeles

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It's true, P.E. teachers do not get a lot of respect, but then instead of being on the cutting edge of educational practices, they live up to that lack of respect.

With a high number of LEP (Limited English Proficiency) students in our schools P.E. teachers have a unique opportunity to help these students.

TPR (Total Physical Response), a technique used with ESL (English as a Second Language) students, is built into P.E. classes. SDAE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) is a perfect tool in P.E.

Instead, we see laps, push-ups, and teachers who do not take part in professional development activities. How shortsighted and sad.

ALEX TAYLOR

Los Angeles

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