Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg Claims He Fights Obesity By Banning Large Sodas But Actually Causes Child Obesity By Cutting Physical Education In Schools.

The Emperor, oops I mean Mayor Michael Bloomberg lost hi scase for reducing large sugary drinks and ranted about how the Judge's  decision was a terrible decision and defies "common sense.  The Mayor' exact words were:

"There is one public health crises that has grown worse and worse over the years? It would be irresponsible if  I didn't take action". If you know what you are doing "common sense" would say you might want to do something about it".

While the Mayor conveniently ignored are the reasons why the judge stopped the soda ban as "arbitrary and capricious".  First the judge stated that it was an end run around the City Council.  Second, was the lack of authority by the City health Department since it's not considered a "health emergency".    Finally, there were so many loopholes in the proposed regulations that a bus could travel through them.  The Mayor's new mission  as the Mayor who brought healthy living to New York City.  However, when it came to the New York City students, the Mayor's education policies actually encourages childhood obesity.

Since July of 2008 there has been a drop of 12% in the number of licensed physical education teachers.  That is from 2,150 to 1,890.  Moreover, many of the small schools the Mayor has touted have no or inadequate gyms or fields for physical fitness and some small and Charter schools have no gym classes at all!  Added to the inadequate or lack of gym space is the limited extracurricular activities in these small schools.  Many of the extracurricular activities are sports related and keep the children physically fit.  Only those schools fortunate enough to occupy a large campus have adequate physical education facilities.  Assuming they have the money to fund these programs. Worse, the very stringent Bloomberg budget  restrictions make school principals reluctant to spend money on non-core subjects or add extracurricular activities.

Even the large comprehensive schools feel the severe budget restrictions imposed by the Mayor.   For example, the few schools that have swimming pools do not get any funding to maintain them nor do they give these schools extra funding to hire swim teachers who can properly supervise and give swimming lessons to the school's students.  In addition, many of the schools claim the DOE has inadequate funding of necessary and up-to-date physical education equipment.  While the DOE, under the Mayor's watch has a road runner program that includes anywhere between 60,000 and 100,000 students, that is less than 10% of the New York City student population of 1,100,000!  Finally, the Mayor's emphasis on increased test preparation means that less money is spent on physical education.

The Mayor might claim that his legacy as Mayor was to improve the health of the people of the City.  However, the reality is the very children who needs it most, children trapped in neighborhoods of poverty and violence and are afraid to go out and play, are the ones most affected by the reduction and lack of physical education in the New York City schools. Just another example of the Mayor's "children last" agenda.


harvey said...

Thanks for this Chaz and we need to also note that PE teachers still have 50 students per class even though they don't have a proper gymnasium. Let's not forget another fun fact about the small schools: Most have no proper cafeteria. Lunch is brought in to the students via gross smelly insulated bags. Then the fare is slowly dried out in a big heater until it is no longer edible. Oh wait, maybe Hizzoner's plan is to make sure hungry poor kids never expect a free lunch - ever.

TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew) said...

Chaz, you only hit the surface. The DOE has not filed a PE plan with the state since the 80s.

Last year when a city councilman asked a mayor's rep why, if the mayor was so concerned about kids weight, why are they cutting so much PE in the schools or they do not institute better policies, the health department rep replied, "the soda ban is cheaper". This was from the NY Times. I wish I could remember or look up the date, but it was there. State regs state that K-3 kids are required to have PE five days a week. Good luck finding one of those schools. And those classes are being run by school aides and paras. Naturally, they are cheaper salaries.

And please don't take this the wrong way, but one day some kid is going to get hurt, and a smart parent will be the new owner of the DOE as they will sue the living daylights out of the DOE for not having a licensed teacher running the "class". I do not want to see a kid get hurt, but that is what it will take to change that part of the issue.

Unknown said...

Wow, a school "reformer" doing an end run around elected officials? I am shocked, shocked I tell you. Here in B-Lo our privatizers tried running to the state when their plan to steal 2 newly renovated schools was challenged and miraculously the state referred them back to the Board of ed. ...this time...

Zeno said...

Great point, add the fact that sports in school generate teamwork, sportsmanship, controlled competition, a way to expend energy, and quite often a reason to come to school.

Anonymous said...

Good post about the perverse priorities Bloomie has. Keep us the posting.