Payton moves to make the FitnessGram PACER Test a graduation requirement for the 2023-2024 school year

By Charlie Niewiarowski, Contributor

The FitnessGram PACER test allows students to demonstrate aerobic capacity, and students will now be required to take the test all four years at Payton two times a semester. (Image created with the help of DALL·E by Bridget Galibois).

On May 25, 2023, Walter Payton College Prep’s administration formally issued the PACER Test to be a graduation requirement. The PACER Test is a nation-wide, standardized test. However, unlike most standardized tests, the PACER Test assesses students’ respiratory abilities. The test has students run laps of a given distance, each of which are timed. If a participant does not finish the lap when the timer concludes, they fail the test. Those who have taken the test have attested to its rigor, repeatedly mentioning its lack of breaks. The “lack of breaks” they mention is due to the fact that as soon as one lap concludes, which often coincides with when one completes the lap, they must immediately begin running again. This leads students to feel like they are in a constant cycle of exhaustion.

The Payton administration claimed that the PACER test is something vital to students’ futures and that they surely will use later in their lives when they cemented the test as a requirement.

However, the decision was not well received by Payton students. Beginning at 7:30 this morning, students protested and voiced their complaints. On the front entrance of the school, students have been raising signs and shouting chants. As more students joined, the street was blocked by 9:00 am.

We interviewed dozens of students on the scene and got many different answers. However, every student seemed to have a similar sentiment: they would not attend a school that forces its students to take an aerobic test to graduate.

One student interviewed, Sasha Khimyak ‘24, compared the protests to those at the Berlin wall. He claimed, “This is the worst atrocity an established body has made since Popeyes got rid of their Spicy Chicken Sandwich.” He then proceeded to bang on the front wall of windows in protest.

Other students have claimed that the PACER Test itself is a violation of their rights protected under the CPS Student Code of Conduct, and some students who feel strongly have even dropped out of their school less than 24 hours after the announcement. 

This article is satire.

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