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California wants to scrap student-fitness tests because they treat boys and girls as boys and girls

Is the state calling the Obama administration transphobic?

There’s a problem with the Body Mass Index measurement of physical fitness: It’s based in biology, not gender theory.

That’s one reason why California is planning to halt the physical-fitness tests it gives all fifth, seventh and ninth graders – whose assessment was approved by the Obama administration – for “at least” the next three years, Politico California reports.

The state uses FITNESSGRAM assessment recognized by the Obama administration, “which has six parts including timed running assessments, push-ups, curl-ups and ‘sit and reach’ stretches.” California children actually do pretty well on it: About 60 percent of those tested score in the “healthy fitness zone” on aerobic capacity.

But it makes some children uncomfortable because it requires them to identify as male or female:

During a three-year suspension of the test, the California Department of Education would consult with experts in fitness, adaptive physical education, gender identity and students with disabilities regarding “the purpose and administration of the physical performance test,” according to a proposal in budget-related bill language quietly released late last week.

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H.D. Palmer, spokesperson for [Gov. Gavin] Newsom’s Department of Finance, said the move comes after complaints from parents that the test is discriminatory to students with disabilities and to non-binary students, since it includes a Body Mass Index screening that offers only male or female options.

The Newsom administration suspects that the assessment – again, explicitly recognized by the Obama administration – runs counter to its mission of “[d]ispelling myths, breaking down stereotypes and improving school climate” by enabling “bullying” against transgender and special education students, Palmer said.

Politico California notes that Newsom’s fearmongering is undercut by recent research that suggests students don’t have strong feelings about the tests.

A study published last summer in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, conducted by Louisiana State and Adelphi University researchers, found “little association between fitness tests and student attitudes and emotions towards PE,” contradicting “the strongly held beliefs of both proponents and critics of the tests.”

The worst part of the tests, which are “often implemented poorly,” may be simply that they aren’t the best use of class time for educating students on health and fitness, the researchers said.

Read the report and the study.

h/t Fox News

MORE: Students forced to wear Fitbits, punished for too little exercise

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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