Protect PE in Schools: Join the PE Action Team!

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. See my full disclosure here. 

I failed junior high gym class – and I still have the report card to prove it.

I could talk for a while (and have) about why I think this happened. But, more importantly, despite my childhood misgivings about my physical capabilities, I evolved into a pretty solid “late in life athlete.”

Fortunately, I do not see my children facing the same young physical fitness mistakes, thanks in part to an example set by their active parents, participating in fun physical activities like Crossfit Kids and parkour, and a fantastic physical education at their local public school. I’m also extraordinarily fortunate that our school has a full-time Playworks coach! Playworks actively changes school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. They provide services for elementary schools and youth-serving organizations around the country.

But not every school is so fortunate.

We all know that physical activity is good for the mind, body, and soul — so why is physical education so often on the chopping block in school systems? That needs to change, and that’s why I am working with the American Heart Association on their Protect Physical Education campaign. They are passionate about ensuring that physical education remains a part of every child’s education to help educate about the importance of PE.

The benefits of physical education (PE) ring clear as a school bell. With daily PE, we can keep kids’ hearts healthy and their minds in gear to do their best at school. The fact is, active kids learn better! And the benefits don’t end there. Physical education has positive impacts on their physical, mental, and emotional health.

Yet competing priorities are making effective PE programs less and less common.

Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. With the passage of the federal education bill at the end of 2015, 2017 presents an important opportunity to help drive awareness of the need for local and state action on PE, as State Departments of Education prepare their plans.

Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” — this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding. But here’s the thing: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not a mandate. We need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE. If PE is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding!

But with your help, we can change that. Join the PE Action Team and as an action team member, they’ll keep you up-to-date on campaigns in your community and around the country in support of PE and provide opportunities to get involved. Want to learn more about how you can work to increase PE in your community? Visit http://physicaleducation.voicesforhealthykids.org

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here. 

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