Bill Would Allow New Mexico School Districts To Provide Physical Education Alternatives

Jan 30, 2014

Santa Fe – Senator Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho is sponsoring a bill that would allow marching band, cheerleading, JROTC  and any other physical activity that local school districts deem as Physical Education (P.E.)  to meet the State’s requirement for one unit of  P.E. credit in order to graduate.

His bill is in response to a recent memo from the Public Education Department (PED) that stated marching band, cheerleading and JROTC would not be given PE credit.  Senator Brandt said students who were already counting onPE credit from those activities had to scramble to adjust  their course load to accommodate the surprise notification from PED.

“There has been some conflict between State laws and the Public Education Department’s  requirements for P.E.  Some students have completed certain locally allowable courses in their school districts, believing that these would fulfill the P.E. requirement, only to have the PED declare a course ineligible and impose an additional P.E. course before the student can graduate.  In some cases, this has meant that a student has had to drop an academic course to add a P.E. class.  This does not benefit our students,” Senator Brandt said.

SB 122 clarifies the confusion by allowing each local school district to determine which courses are acceptable as P.E. and it specifically provides that “participation in cheerleading, the marching band, the junior reserve officers’ training corps” as well as “any other course or program that meets State content and performance standards” may qualify as P.E.

The bill allows PED to continue to have oversight of school districts’ implementation of the P.E. requirements.