California elementary schools may now be required to prove that they are providing at least the minimum amount of physical education required by state law, as a result of a recent settlement agreed upon by an Alameda parent and dozens of California school districts who were accused of not meeting the requirements.
The 37 districts – some of the largest in the state – have agreed to a settlement that forces elementary school teachers to publicly document how many minutes of physical education students receive. Under the state Education Code, schools are required to provide 200 minutes of physical education every 10 school days in grades one through six.
According to EdSource.com, a key legal turning point occurred in 2009 when Donald Driscoll, the attorney representing parent Marc Babin, filed a lawsuit against Albany Unified. When the district argued that the Education Code requirement of 200 minutes of physical education every 10 days was a goal and a guideline, not a mandate, a Sacramento Superior Court judge agreed and dismissed the case. But the California Third District Court of Appeals overturned that judgment and ruled that physical education requirements were a mandate, not a suggestion. The appellate court also ruled that a parent could file suit to force a district to comply with the law. Albany Unified asked the California Supreme Court to review the decision, but the court declined.
All parties in the lawsuit have asked San Francisco Superior Court Judge Mary Wiss to grant final approval to the settlement, which is expected by late March.
To discuss this case further, or if you have any questions, contact a DWK attorney.