New Physical Education Policy to Be Voted on at October Board Meeting

RYH was invited to a policy briefing this week given by CPS’ Office of Student Health and Wellness and hosted by Healthy Schools Campaign. About 90 people from different community-based organizations, some PE teachers and vendors were in attendance.

Currently, CPS is not in compliance with Illinois School Code 105 ILCS 5/27 -6 which requires that students receive daily PE in both elementary and high school.

CPS has maintained a state waiver for 11th and 12th graders since 1997. This will expire in June 2014. CPS has not applied for a waiver for elementary schools but as we know, most of our students only get PE 1x a week, which CPS acknowledged at this meeting. CPS says that most high school students receive only two semesters of  PE during their high school career.

There is much research to show that regular PE improves student learning, concentration, behavior, health outcomes.

Here’s what we learned about the Proposed Policy:

For Elementary Schools: Implementation to being in 3 years (SY 2016/2017) with an Action Plan due from schools next summer that meets the criteria of the policy. The policy suggests 30 minutes of daily PE or the equivalent of 150 minutes per week not including recess. Note, there are some schools piloting this currently.  

For High School: requires daily PE starting next school year (SY 2014/2015). Suggests that high schools schedule all students in grades 9-12 in a daily PE or health course in the same time increments as other core courses.

Note: students in certain programs such as JROTC, IB, CTE (Career Related Certificate Programs), and Early College programs that lead to Associates degree will be able to apply for a waiver for daily PE.

Our Thoughts: Daily PE is good policy if implemented correctly and if funds are provided to support it.  The majority of students in CPS had no recess and inadequate PE for decades and this is a step in the right direction but will require funds and facilities adjustments in some cases. CPS says 40% of students in the district are overweight or obese. Past policies certainly didn’t help this statistic.  

Right now, there is no discussion of funds to go along with this policy. CPS did recently win a $2.25 million grant from the US Department of Education, which is great, but that will not cover the cost of providing daily PE to every student in 3 year’s time.  As parents, we know the dire funding situation in our schools and we must push to get funding for this so it is not an unfunded mandate that will lead to the reduction of other important courses or programs, or even less money for supplies and substitute teachers, etc.  Email us your thoughts on this policy:info@ilraiseyourhand.org. We will communicate with Healthy Schools Campaign about it.

October 18th – Parents can join  Healthy Schools Campaign for a citywide physical education breakfast forum. To learn more or register to attend contactggomez@healthyschoolscampaign.org.

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