“Neither the Pennsylvania School Code nor the State Board of Education allows for waivers for students from the requirements of health and physical education due to participation in a physical activity, such as interscholastic sports, band or ROTC. Physical activity is only one component of physical education and physical activity does not meet all of the requirements and standards of physical education.”

 –Pennsylvania Department of Education

Why Advocate?

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. 

Recent Events

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

Advocacy Committee

Chair: Bev Martin

Resolutions: Jeff Jacobs

Public Relations: Jessica Peconi-Cook


Jeff Jacobs
John Helion
Dave Schmidt
Gary Clark
Ginny Ward

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:

  • Pass a budget that helps the school funding crisis 
  • Implement the bipartisan school funding formula developed by the Basic Education Funding Commission.
  • Invest money in basic education to restore funding to the 2010 level.
Call to Action - July 16

Call/email your state representative (not senator yet) and chairman of the House Education Committee, Representative Stan Saylor,  (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:

  • It permits staff from health and fitness organizations who do not have a teaching certificate to teach school age cyber school students the standards in health and physical education
  • It conflicts with one of the recommendations in the Joint State Government Commission Child Obesity Final Report (June 2014), which states that health and physical education be taught by quality health and physical education insructors certified to teach those subjects. 
  • In the Commonwealth there is a great abundance of teachers certified in health and physical education who have been trained and evaluated in higher education programs and certified by the PA Dept. of Education to provide quality instruction in health and physical education.
  • Please pass House Resolution 112 because it will ensure that all students will receive quality instruction in health and physical education

For more information, click the following links to read about HB1365 and HR112

Advocacy in Action:

Speak Out for Healthy Kids Day

March 31: PSAHPERD Sponsors First Annual Speak Out for Healthy Kids Day

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.  

165 Arla Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
OFFICE: (412) 489-5608
CELL: (412) 952-8720

The Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Inc (PSAHPERD) is a non-profit (501 c 3) education association working to promote quality programs and provide professional development in the disciplines it represents. The PSAHPERD  is committed to the continual professional growth and development of its members,  the expansion and application of the knowledge base and pedagogical constructs, and the support of the professions that encourage active healthful lifestyles by all people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2011  PSAHPERD

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