Tell Lawmakers to Save Physical Education
Almost half of all high school students can’t take physical education classes. The average annual school budget for physical education currently stands at just $768. And with one-third of our kids overweight or obese, this epidemic is costing our health care system anywhere from $147 to $210 billion each year.
That’s why we’re urging lawmakers to save physical education by ensuring that the Early and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) designates physical education as a core subject and preserves and expands physical education grants. Right now, the Senate version of ESEA contains all these provisions, and will go a long way to helping us invest in our children’s health as well as cut down on health care costs down the road.
Join us and tell your lawmakers to save these programs that have already helped hundreds of thousands of children get active. Federal investment in physical education provides desperately needed resources that help cut down on obesity, teach healthy habits that will last a lifetime, and help kids do better in the classroom.
I am writing to ask you to make physical education a priority in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization and adopt the Senate provisions on physical education. We need physical education to be designated as a core subject and we need to preserve the federal grants in physical education, including the Physical Education Program (PEP). Currently PEP is the only dedicated source of federal investment in physical education. This popular and effective program has helped hundreds of thousands of children become more active. PEP provides desperately needed federal help while maintaining local flexibility to address school districts’ unique needs. The Senate bill makes sure that physical education, critical to the health and academic success of our children now and in the future, remains a priority
The overwhelming majority of children spend much of their time at school, and schools offer a unique platform to help students become more healthy and active. Forty-eight percent of all high schools have NO physical education and the average school budget for physical education is only $768. The current state of physical education is not acceptable.
With one-third of our children overweight or obese, this epidemic is costing our health care system $147-$210 billion a year. We must invest in our children’s health upfront to help cut costs down the road. Evidence shows that physical education programs are effective at improving physical fitness, promoting the health of students, and physical education teaches our children healthy habits that will serve them for the rest of their lives. In addition, physical activity has been shown to improve academic performance, behavior, and attendance. Physical education is a win-win.
In addition to the health and academic benefits, lack of high-quality and regular physical education is a national security issue. The growing pool of young men and women who want to serve in the military and can meet the basic requirements for service is rapidly shrinking; for instance, in 2010, 47 percent of males and 59 percent of females failed the military’s entry-level physical fitness test. Those who do qualify for service are sustaining costly training-related injuries at a significantly higher rate than soldiers from past decades, showing insufficient physical fitness, and each discharged recruit due to a training-related injury costs the US Department of Defense $57,500.
Please tell the ESEA conference committee that physical education is important and ask them to adopt the Senate bill physical education provisions. These provisions will strengthen physical education policy and will not only help children reach their recommended daily physical activity of 60 minutes, but help them develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. I urge you to invest in our children’s health, academic performance, and future success by supporting the Senate provisions on physical education as ESEA moves through conference. Thank you.
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