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I'm extremely irritated for many reasons that physical education classes are still mandatory in my high school. I am prepared to write a letter to the principal or superintendent with a long list of reasons that P.E classes should be optional. I also have several ideas of ways to fill the schedule gap for those who opt out. My question is, even if i can persuade someone on a local level to change this inefficiency, are they mandated to keep Physical Education classes mandatory by law?

If that is the case I am willing to send my ideas to lawmakers. Also, would it be a state or a federal law?

closed as off-topic by James K, Alexei, Federico, chirlu, agc Mar 24 '18 at 16:32

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    it depends on the state – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Aug 27 '13 at 20:15
  • I do not think it is law but... The DoE has certain criteria to be awarded funds. One of those criteria is that there are PE Classes and that there is a certain percentage of compliance with the required participation rate. The amount of money that the School district is penalized by is pretty signifigant for non compliance... If I can find some good online references ill post this as an answer. Unless someone beats me too it. – SoylentGray Aug 27 '13 at 21:52
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    What state are you in? – Ben Collins Aug 27 '13 at 22:40
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    Not a political answer: But if your goal is to get out of PE, many schools have exceptions that you can apply for--such as if you already partake in extra curricular physical activities. – user1530 Aug 28 '13 at 19:22
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    I realise this is very old, but this is not an on-topic question – James K Mar 24 '18 at 14:44
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Depends on a state, since educational legislation is mostly a state province.


Predictably, California has an app law for that:

What are the required instructional minutes for an elementary school maintaining any of grades one through eight?

If a school is identified as an elementary school in the County-District-School (CDS) code system, EC Section 23 states that, “Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 51210 and 51222, instruction in physical education in an elementary school maintaining any of grades one to eight shall be for a total period of time of not less than 200 minutes each ten schooldays, exclusive of recesses and the lunch period." (src: http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/pe/physeducfaqs.asp)

CA Educational Code (http://law.onecle.com/california/education/index.html) lists several sections clearly dealing with PhysEd, most in 512xx range:

  • California Education Code Section 51210.1 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: (A) The Education Code currently mandates 200 minutes of physical education every 10 schooldays...

  • California Education Code Section 51210.2 (a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the physical fitness and motor development of children in the public elementary schools is of equal importance...

  • California Education Code Section 51210.3 (a) The governing board of a school district may designate a credentialed teacher at each elementary school as a science coach, or provide staff development...


Same thing in New Jersey:

Are all students required to participate in the health and physical education program?

N.J.S.A. 18A:35-7 requires every pupil, except kindergarten pupils, attending public schools to take such courses. However, the core standards establish requirements for students in grades K-12. (src: http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/faq/faq_chpe.htm)


For other states, googling for "physical education mandatory law " yields good results based on the above 2 states.

  • Thanks for telling me where to look. Turns out my state has made it mandatory too. Hopefully someday that will change. – Nick Aug 29 '13 at 19:17

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