From L-R: Mariusz Borkowski, Evgenia Noidou, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Gerard Mergardt, Lisa Sherman and Matthew Zuccarello
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LOCAL PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER GOES TO WASHINGTON, DC
TO ADVOCATE FOR PHYSICALLY FIT CHILDREN
RESTON, VA, March 20, 2013 – To advocate for legislative initiatives that would help American children and youth reach their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day, Mariusz Borkowski of Bay Shore UFSD went to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC recently for the 5th annual SPEAK Out! Day with other physical education teachers from around the country. Organized by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the health and physical educators asked Congress to support the
Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (PHYSICAL) Act as well as maintain funding for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant. At the event NASPE recognized U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO 2nd) with SPEAK Out! Awards for their demonstrated commitment and leadership in “speaking out” for physical education and physical activity.
“The need for health and physical education champions like Senator Harkin and CongressmanPolis is greater than ever. With today’s generation becoming the first to have a shorter life expectancy then their parents, with 70 percent of potential military recruits failing their physicals due to being overweight and with the cost of childhood obesity in America estimated at $270 billion annually, we simply can not afford to let physical education and health education fall to the wayside,” says Carly Braxton, NASPE’s Senior Manager of Government Relations. “Our hope is to educate legislators of the many benefits of maintaining quality P.E. and health programs in our schools and the vital need for their support.”
NASPE applauds Senator Harkin for designating physical education as a core subject in his recently introduced Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention American (HeLP America) Act and for including physical education and health education provisions within the Senate’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act during the 112th Congress. Senator Harkin has been a long standing supporter of health, physical education, physical activity and wellness throughout his political career. Learn more about
Congressman Polis is being recognized for his leadership on the New Democrat Coalition and its Education Taskforce. The coalition acknowledges the critical role physical education and health education play in a student’s academic achievement and over-all health and well being. The Congressman’s recognition of the importance of a well-rounded and whole child education is to be commended. Read
more about Congressman Polis.
The PHYSICAL Act (S. 392) was reintroduced to Congress in late February by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). If passed, the bill would classify health and physical education as core subjects within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, allowing them to be eligible for federal funding under Title I and Title II. The monies would help school districts expand physical education and health education, leading to potential opportunities to dedicate weekly physical activity time, enhanced classroom
instruction or development of creative health programs.
The organization’s other main legislative ask was for continued funding of PEP at its current level of $78 million per year. The program provides grants to school districts and community-based organizations to support innovative physical education, nutrition and activity methods. PEP is the only federal funding dedicated to physical education. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education awarded 56 grants totaling $27 million to school districts and community organizations that plan to implement comprehensive physical fitness and nutrition programs in addition to funding previously awarded grants that were in year’s two and three of the grant cycle.
Congressional leaders and staff had the opportunity to hear stories on the impact of PEP on the local level and learn more about the need for more stringent mandates for physical education and health education.
Follow the hashtag #physed on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook, to keep up with the latest on SPEAK Out! Day. To learn about the status of physical education in the U.S., visit the Shape of the Nation webpage to read the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report and to view NASPE’s infographic.
For more details on SPEAK OUT! Day 2013, visit NASPE’s events page.
The preeminent national authority on physical education and a recognized leader in sport and physical activity, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is a non-profit professional membership association that sets the standard for practice in physical education and sport. NASPE’s 15,000 members include: K-12 physical education teachers, coaches, athletic directors, athletic trainers, sport
management professionals, researchers, and college/university faculty who prepare physical activity professionals. NASPE seeks to enhance knowledge, improve professional practice, and increase support for high-quality physical education, sport and physical activity programs. It is the largest of the five national associations that make up the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
(AAHPERD). For more information, visit www.naspeinfo.org.
From L-R: Lisa Sherman, Evgenia Noidou, Matthew Zuccarello and Gerard Mergardt