Freshmen should receive PE credits from sports

Freshmen+are+earning+no+PE+credits+after+a+season+of+sports.+%28Graphic+Illustration+by++Nicole+Ge+and+Audrey+Sun%29

after aGraphic Illustration by Nicole Ge and Audrey Sun

Freshmen are earning no PE credits after a season of sports. (Graphic Illustration by Nicole Ge and Audrey Sun)

Nicole Ge

Most student-athletes can earn five PE credits from a sports season. However, freshmen cannot and may only earn elective credits, which are easily fulfilled requirements. It is unfair for freshmen to put in the same amount of time but not receive the PE credits they deserve and need for graduation. Shouldn’t time spent building physical fitness be treated equitably regardless of grade? With freshmen not able to earn their five credits through each sports season, they are forced to continue sports throughout high school or take another PE class, which prevents students from pursuing other interests. Therefore, the district should remove the policy that allows students to only earn 10 PE credits per year.

All freshmen are enrolled in PE 9 and are set to earn 10 of the 20 PE credits required to graduate. After freshman year, students either must participate in two sports seasons in their remaining years of high school, or take one more year of PE. After fulfilling their 20 total credits, additional credit earned from sports or PE classes are applied as elective credits instead.

“It is a district-wide policy that students cannot earn more than 10 PE credits in one school year,” guidance counselor Nikki Dang said. “The only exception to this rule would be if the student was a senior and needed more than 10 credits to meet the 20 credit PE requirement.”

A sports season requires a considerable amount of time, even more so than PE, with an example being basketball. While PE is about four to five hours a week, a typical basketball season consists of four two-hour practices per week, in addition to two games a week, each game about an hour long. The total time spent during the season amounts to more than twice the amount of time spent in PE. Even though a sports season only lasts one-third of a school year, not receiving any PE credit would be unfair given the amount of time invested in the sport.

Sports requiring such a huge time commitment also causes course selection limitations for students. Amnah Khan, a sophomore who played in both girls basketball and field hockey in the 2021-22 school year, reasons that freshmen should receive PE credit as sports prevent many students from taking the classes they are interested in or the ones that require lots of time to succeed in due to a packed schedule.

“After playing two sports and being told freshmen only earn elective credit, I was upset because sports programs should equate sports credits,’’ Khan said. “Allowing students to satisfy the PE requirements earlier would give them extra space in their schedules to take the classes they wish to take.”

Another reason the policy should be removed is because of the inequity of the policy. Although all athletes are investing the same amount of time for sports, freshmen are still unable to receive any sports credit . Freshman Sarah Wei, who plans on participating in girls basketball next winter, argues that sport PE credits should not be determined by grade level.

“We should get the PE credits because we’re still putting in the work, and the upperclassmen get PE credits for doing a sport,” Wei said.

Alternatively, some students may find the policy excusable as it limits how fast students can accumulate PE credit to encourage students to stay fit. Although this policy could temporarily help students to keep in shape, eventually physical fitness can only be maintained if students are motivated to do so. As freshmen are already required to take PE, students already learn how to work out and stay healthy, so it should be up to them to make their own decisions as it will help them become more independent.

Being unable to earn PE credits for playing sports as a freshmen means it will take longer for students to fulfill their PE requirements. Earning PE credits in freshman year could reward freshmen for their effort in sports and allow students to take other classes that they may enjoy in the future.