Author: Richard Wiles

Moonshining Techniques to Achieve a Moonshot Idea in Physical Education

A moonshot, in a technology context, is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.

When I think of moonshot thinking, one name always comes to my mind, Elon Musk. He is a billionaire that continues to invest in companies that are impacting change in the world. He is the founder of Spacex, Tesla Motors, and co-founder of Solar City. He is working on developing reusable rockets for space missions, cars that don’t run on combustible fuels and working on lessening our dependence on fossil fuels.  He is always exploring groundbreaking concepts and is working to stop the development of artificial intelligence. Musk has even questioned if we are already living in a computer-generated world created by machines. His ambition keeps pushing science and technology past the current standard set by humanity.

If SHAPE America’s 50 Million Strong commitment is a moonshot idea for health and physical educators, then how will we achieve this moonshot goal? According to SHAPE America “Approximately 50 million students are currently enrolled in America’s elementary and secondary schools. SHAPE America wants to ensure that by the time today’s youngest students graduate from high school in 2029, all of America’s children are empowered to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.” But what is our functional tool that will measure growth? What instrument are we going to use to gather data? Is SHAPE America going to create developmental milestones for this campaign? And what happens if we don’t have success by 2029?

The Death of Physical Education by 2029

Currently, approximately 50 million students are enrolled in America’s elementary and secondary schools. SHAPE America is leading the effort to ensure that by the time today’s youngest students graduate from high school in 2029, all of America’s young people will be “empowered to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.” SHAPE America proposes doing this through its “50 Million Strong by 2029” commitment.

I am a pragmatic person working in the field of education. I grew up with both of my parents working in public education and I followed in their footsteps hoping to make an impact in the classroom. I have both blue collar and white collar friends from my childhood. For most of my adult life, while I’ve been teaching I’ve also worked in the outdoor industry. I’m knowledgeable about bikes, boards, and hiking gear and I love being outside especially on the water.  I also have two children who will be in school through 2029 and unfortunately, I don’t believe that on its current course 50 Million Strong will succeed.

Over the past two months I have watched two outdoor industry businesses close their doors due lack of sales and poor profits. The first business to close was the bike shop that I worked at in a small town. They had a great business model and great brands that supported the shop through the good years but as e-commerce grew they couldn’t compete with cheaper prices on the internet and now the lack of people’s interest in bicycling.

GOPHER