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December 11, 2012

Junior ROTC doesn’t count as P.E., state board votes

A proposal to require Kansas school districts to count Junior ROTC class as physical education failed on Tuesday.

A proposal to require Kansas school districts to count Junior ROTC class as physical education failed on Tuesday.

The State Board of Education voted 3-7 against board Chairman David Dennis’ motion, which would have required districts to count two years of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as one P.E. credit, which is required for graduation.

Dennis, along with board members John Bacon and Ken Willard, voted in favor of the measure.

A former business teacher at Wichita North High and a retired Air Force colonel, Dennis pushed for the change because he said the Junior ROTC program – in 20 Kansas high schools, including seven in Wichita – “clearly aligns with our goals for physical education.”

He said counting it as P.E. would allow more students to participate in the program, particularly in Wichita, where Junior ROTC counts only as an elective.

Wichita district leaders said the Junior ROTC program, while worthwhile, doesn’t conform to approved health and physical education standards and shouldn’t substitute for regular P.E. classes.

This week marks the final State Board of Education meeting for Wichita’s current representatives, Dennis and Walt Chappell. Jim McNiece and Kathy Busch, who ran unopposed on Nov. 6, will take office in January.

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