Queens elementary school students not getting enough physical education time, data shows

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Public schools in Queens need to shape up when it comes to providing their students with proper physical education (PE), according a report released this week.

As the books open on another school year, the Department of Education (DOE) has released its first round of findings on the frequency of PE classes in public schools, and Queens received a failing grade.


According to the report, during the 2015-2016 school year 69.9 percent of Queens elementary students (grades 1-5) did not receive the state-mandated amount of PE, totaling 74,621 students. That makes Queens the borough with the second highest number of students missing their required PE time out of the five boroughs.

When grades 6-12 and kindergarten are added, the number of students missing out on the required amount of PE skyrockets to 109,600.

“This data shows just what we suspected — that the Department of Education must be held accountable and start providing our children with the minimum physical education they deserve; not only because it is mandated by the state, but because their futures depend on it,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. “Studies show physical education improves not only health but discipline and better focus in school. Healthy lifestyle habits are developed at a young age, and we have a responsibility to ensure our children are given every resource they need for a successful education and future.”

In order to create some transparency in finding out how much PE students enrolled in city schools are getting, Crowley introduced a bill last year, now known as Local Law 102, requiring that the DOE report data on the level of frequency of PE in city schools, which produced these results.

According to the results, Queens third graders are the largest group of students — 16,414 — in the borough not getting enough PE. The number of students from each grade found not getting enough PE across Queens are as follows:

  • Kindergarten — 14,610
  • Grade 1 — 14,885
  • Grade 2 — 15,246
  • Grade 3 — 16,414
  • Grade 4 — 14,093
  • Grade 5 — 13,983
  • Grade 6 — 3,373
  • Grade 7 — 1,637
  • Grade 8 — 2,381
  • Grade 9 — 3,082
  • Grade 10 — 3,410
  • Grade 11 — 2,804
  • Grade 12 — 3,682

The report gives information about the frequency of PE classes in grades in the other four boroughs, which can be broken down by school district or by individual schools. The report also provides the number of full-time and part-time certified instructors at each school and information about the on-site and off-site spaces used for PE instruction.

For more information about Local Law 102, the study and to view the results, visit the DOE website.

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