Thanks to the District 214 school board for passing the physical education waiver for marching band students and dropping the information processing requirement.
Unlike the many teachers present at the board's recent meeting, the board members realized that one-size-fits-all solutions are not in students' best interests.
At the meeting, adults who had no experience with marching band insisted that marching band students need physical education. I participated in marching band in high school and college. So when my son tells me that he gets more of a physical workout in marching band than he does in gym, I believe him. Just like gym, marching band meets every day as a class, but unlike gym, there are additional practices after school.
Some parents at the meeting talked about how their children in varsity sports opted to take gym because the break from academics helped them focus. That's great. That's exactly what my children have found in music classes. But I would never tell a parent that since "my" children enjoy music classes, "their" children should have to take them, too. And I doubt that many of those student athletes, unlike my son in band, have to forego a lunch period in order to take gym.
As for information processing, my two sons tested out of the class. Their older sister took the class, but found the few skills that were new to her were not skills she needed.
It was great to see so many passionate teachers at the board meeting, but those teachers have to realize that not all students reap benefits from what they teach. It's the district's obligation to give students options so they have time to pursue their passions and best live up to their potential. The board's recent actions show that they are committed to doing exactly that.