–Pennsylvania Department of Education
We often receive emails stating, “contact your legislator today to…” but many may wonder, “Why is this important? What could my call or email possibly do?
In 2014, Illinois, the only state with state-mandated daily physical education was on the verge of losing this mandate. In a 24 hour period over 3000 calls and emails flooded legislators and this threat was taken off the table. As health and physical educators, we know the nature our subjects have the ability to impact how our students feel every day for the rest of their lives. When our time with them is cut short, or removed from the school day completely, we lose that ability to instill healthy habits and skills for our students to carry into adulthood. Our policy makers and administers may not always be aware of this. Advocating is not about job security; it’s about making sure every child has access to a quality heath and physical education program to lead longer, healthier and active lifestyles.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Includes Funding for HPE
Make sure your district includes the needs of your health and physical education programs in the district's needs assessment for Title IV Part A funding. It is recommended that health and physical educators use the CDC School Health Index to identify the needs of your programs. The term "well-rounded education" is used in ESSA instead of core academic subject. Health and physical education are now identified as two of eighteen subjects that contribute to a student's well rounded education. Districts are now permitted to choose to use Title IV Part A federal funds (along with Title I for students from low income families and Title II for professional development) toward health and physical education programs. It is imperative that you advocate for the needs for your programs with your district and that the district understands that HPE is now eligible for federal funds.
2016 Speak Out for Healthy Kids Day, Harrisburg
The 2016 Speak Out for Healthy Kids Day was held on Monday. May 2, 2016 in the East Wing Rotunda at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg. A press conference was held in the morning with Cindy Allen as the master of ceremony. Speakers were Melanie Lynch, PSAHPERD President; Representative Tim Briggs; Corey Coleman, Department of Health; and Dr. Lombardi, Ex. Dir. PIAA. PSAHPERD had a few exhibits on display promoting the inclusion of health and physical education in ESSA's "well-rounded" education and opposing waivers from Physical Education requirements. Meetings were held with legislators to raise awareness about ESSA.
Advocacy Quick Links
Chair: Bev Martin
Resolutions: Jeff Jacobs
Public Relations: Jessica Peconi-Cook
Please contact us or visit our booth at state convention for advocacy packets and more information!
PSAHPERD Meets with Secretary Rivera at PDE - August 26
Linda Woods Huber, Cindy Allen, Jessica Peconi Cook, Jeff Jacobs and Bev Martin met with Pedro Rivera (Secretary of Education), Nicholas Slotterback (PDE Health and Physical Education Advisor) and John Weiss (Assistant Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction) on August 26th to discuss issues in health and physical education. Linda gave a brief overview of the waiver and substitution issues occurring with health and physical education classes. Jessica shared the advocacy toolkit containing fact sheets on waivers, Chapter 4, organizations that support quality HPE, the Joint State Government Report on Childhood Obesity, what quality HPE looks like, the difference between physical education and physical activity and what exercise does for the brain and academic achievement.
Bev discussed more in depth the need for compliance in HPE. Secretary Rivera stated that his first approach to non-compliance would be to offer guidance to the district to bring it back into compliance rather than to initially sanction the district. He asked for possible solutions. Cindy asked for the process to report non-compliance. Secretary Rivera suggested that contact be made first with Nicholas but did not expound on the remainder of the process.
Unfortunately, it is concluded that Chapter 4 violations and waivers are going to be a long, ongoing problem to rectify, but Secretary Rivera is looking forward to working with our organization to find solutions.
Call to Action - July 29
Call your state representative and state senator to urge them put our school age students first by doing the following:
Call to Action - July 16
Call/email your state representative (not senator yet) and chairman of the House Education Committee, Representative Stan Saylor, firstname.lastname@example.org (717) 783-6426 regarding the following:
Students must receive planned instruction in health and physical education as stated in Chapter 4 of the PA School Code. House Bill 1365 allows for sub-standard instruction to occur in health and physical education for cyber school students. I oppose House Bill 1365 because:
For more information, click the following links to read about HB1365 and HR112.
Advocacy in Action:
On the EPLC "Focus on Education" show that aired on April 12, 2015:
A group of PSAHPERD members, along with Mid-Atlantic Dairy Fuel Up To Play 60 and Fizika, visited legislators, set-up exhibits and held a press conference in the East Wing Rotunda to proclaim the importance of quality health and physical education programs in school. The issues that were discussed with legislators were: no waivers from health and physical education requirements (HR112), make health and physical education core academic subjects and urge PDE to provide information and guidance to school health and physical education programs through their Health and Physical Education Advisor. Highlights of the day included: visit from Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera and PDE Health and Physical Education advisor, Nicholas Slotterback; video showing quality physical education (see home page); media coverage of the press conference (speakers: Cindy Allen, PSAHPERD; Sharon Piano, Mid-Atlantic Dairy; Corey Coleman, Chief of Staff for Dept. of Health; Martha Harris, Fizika and Representative Harry Readshaw); special invitation from Speaker of the House Turzai extended to Dave Schmidt, Bill Love and Jessica Peconi-Cook to attend a House floor session.