Introduction and Background
We just may be in the middle of our best chance ever to make an impact on the quality and quantity of physical education services for school-aged children. Physical Education issues are before Congress for the first time in more than 10 years. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska has introduced Senate Bill 1159 to Congress, which, if passed, would provide funding for districts to expand physical education services, support equipment purchases, require qualified and certified physical education teachers to provide these services, and increase in-service training. Senator Stevens is looking for co-sponsors to strengthen the chances this bill will be approved. We all need to make phone calls to our Senators' offices and encourage them to sign-on to Stevens' Bill!
In April, 1999, members of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) under the larger umbrella of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) issued a call for action. NAPSE was instrumental in spearheading this legislative initiative with Senator Stevens and encouraged us to call and write to our Senators urging them to co-sponsor this Bill. It should also be noted that members of the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPERID) and the Adapted Physical Activity Council (APAC) have coordinated over 52 visits to 26 Senatorial offices in Washington, DC. They were also responsible for hundreds of letters and phone calls to these same key Senators and Educational Legislative Aides. Follow-up phone calls and letters are still being sent by NCPERID and APAC members to determine Senators' decisions to be cosponsors.
However, as of June 25, 1999, only nine senators had agreed to join Senator Stevens in co-sponsoring this bill. This list includes: Senators Jeff Bingaman (DNM), Thomas Daschle (D-SD), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Carl Levin (D-MI), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), and Richard C. Shelby (R-AL).
Senator Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska introduced the Physical Education for Progress Act in the Senate on May 27, 1999, along with eight co-sponsors. The purpose of the bill (S. 1159) is to provide grants and contracts to local educational agencies to initiate, expand, and improve physical education programs for all kindergarten through 12th grade students (Part M, Sec. 10999 B). (For a copy of the Bill, go to AAHPERD.org, then to the NASPE section on the Internet).
It appears that this proposal would amend Title X of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 8001 et seq.), adding Part M - Physical Education for Progress Sec. 110999A-L. The Program would authorize the Federal Government to share the costs of initiating, expanding, and improving physical education programs for kindergarten through grade 12 students by--
* providing equipment and support to enable students to actively participate in physical education activities:
* developing or enhancing physical education curricula to meet national goals for physical education developed by the Secretary in consultation with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education; and
* providing funds for staff and teachers' training and education (Sec. 10999D).
In order to qualify for a portion of the $400 million over a five-year period, certain minimal qualifications must be met, including--
* elementary school, middle school, and secondary school students with not less than 150 minutes per week of instructional physical education and, if practicable, daily instructional physical education;
* fitness education and assessment to help children understand, improve, or maintain their physical well being;
* instruction in a variety of motor skills designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social or emotional development of every child;
* development of cognitive concepts about motor skill and physical fitness that support a lifelong healthy lifestyle;
* opportunities to develop social and cooperative skills and gain a multicultural perspective through physical activity and participation;
* involvement for all children in activities that provide appropriate amounts and kinds of physical activity; and,
* instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition (Sec. …