Audit Finds New York City’s Schools Short on Physical Education

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Despite alarming obesity rates among school-age children and a state requirement that all students get some level of structured exercise every week, many New York City schools do not provide physical education, or do not provide it as frequently as they should, according to an audit released on Tuesday by the city comptroller.

None of the 31 elementary schools throughout the city that officials visited — of about 700 total — were in full compliance with the state guidelines on physical education, the audit found.

It also found that the city’s Department of Education had not filed physical education plans with the state since 1982, in spite of a state recommendation that the plans be reviewed and updated every seven years. In response, officials in the department said they were working on a new plan, though its final draft is not expected until next year.

“The D.O.E. is failing gym,” the comptroller, John C. Liu, said.

Education Department officials said in the audit that they did not monitor whether students were getting as much exercise as they should in school, and that it was each principal’s responsibility to make sure the requirements were met, much as it is the principal’s role to supervise compliance in other instructional areas.

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