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Lawmaker wants to switch choir for P.E.

SPRINGFIELD -- High school gym class; some love it, others hate it.
SPRINGFIELD -- High school gym class; some love it, others hate it. Now a state lawmaker wants to give students a chance to try something different. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

A former educator turned state senator wants to offer a new P.E. waiver for students who take show choir. It's an idea meeting some opposition at the Capitol, but a local teacher say it's the right idea.

"There are fewer and fewer spaces for elective classes each year as core class credits increase. Then we lose our funding if we don't have our numbers in our classrooms."

Tiffany Williams has been fighting for funding for years. She's the choir teacher at Southeast High School and the director of the Sensations, Southeast's show choir.

"When kids become passionate about something, it's very intrinsic, and when they are passionate about music, whether I ask them to breathe into a certain manner or dance in a certain manner, they're going to do that 100%."

So Williams is a huge supporter of an idea floating around the state capitol to offer a choice to high school students. Skip P.E. if you devote yourself to show choir.

"It's impossible for them to meet the same standards of what we're offering through physical fitness, through the physical activity of show choir and marching band."

Williams says kids leave her show choir classes dripping in sweat. Even on days they're not dancing, they're still getting exercise.

She says certain vocal warmups and exercises actually help work your core. But critics don't like those days without movement.

"In P.E. they have days where they are reading or studying the basics of a sport so some days may be more strenuous than others."

The lawmaker leading the charge says it will be a tough sell, but if other lawmakers buy in, some students could soon trade in their sneakers for dancing shoes. The Senator proposing it says the American Heart and Lung Association isn't happy because it feels kids won't be getting the same amount of activity. The bill was pulled from the records Friday afternoon, but it still could be called before the end of the session.
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