A group appointed by the director of the Iowa Department of Education is now reviewing and preparing to make a recommendation on what would be the first statewide standards for teaching physical education and health in the state’s schools.
Department spokesperson, Staci Hupp, says it’s part of the ongoing process of reviewing and revising standards. “We have mandatory standards for math, science, social studies, literacy and 21st century skills. But we also have what we call recommended or voluntary standards for things like fine arts or computer science,” Hupp says. “And now we’re looking at having PE and health standards — and those would be voluntary for schools as well.”
Hupp says the standards give schools guidelines as they carry out the actual job of teaching students. “Standards are open-ended they are not prescriptive, but again they establish the expectations and then it’s up to the locals schools to make decisions about curriculum and teaching, the things that help students meet those expectations,” according to Hupp.
She says educators have asked the state to look at the PE and health standards. “There are standards for PE and health in the U.S., but we don’t have any that are Iowa specific. In fact, we are the last state to look at adopting PE and health standards,” Hupp says. The Physical Education and Health Standards Review Team has already had one meeting and will have five more before putting together recommendations for the State Board of Education by next spring. “The State Board of Education has the authority to adopt or revise state standards, so then the State Board of Education would review a recommendation and then decide ultimately whether or not to adopt PE and health standards for Iowa,” Hupp explains.
Hupp says the meetings are open to the public and the team will take input from the public later this fall in an on-line survey. The next meeting is scheduled for October 11th, with other meetings set for November 15th, December 7th, January 10th and February 21st. All meetings are 9:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Grand View University’s Student Center (Room 201).