Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

With Landmark K-12 Education Law Up for Reauthorization, Physical and Health Educators Seek Congressional Support for their Subjects during SHAPE America's SPEAK Out! Day

Reston, VA, February 6, 2015–In an effort to ensure that school health and physical education are addressed and eligible for funding in the new version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a group of more than 120 physical and health educators will meet with their Congressional representatives next week.

Educators will participate in face to face meetings on Capitol Hill during SHAPE America's 7th annual SPEAK Out! Day, February 10-11. The teachers representing 37 states will offer insight and perspective on the negative impact that occurs when health and PE are marginalized. They will also share stories of success when these programs are sustained and thriving in schools.

"The Senate has already begun to address ESEA early in this session of Congress and we expect the House of Representatives to follow suit very soon. We look to our members to help push our legislative asks forward and bring policy to life in schools across the country," says Carly Braxton, senior manager of advocacy for SHAPE America. 

In addition to the upcoming advocacy day efforts, more than 85 organizations in the health and physical activity arena have signed a letter in support of featuring health education and PE as a prominent piece of ESEA, which would make them eligible for federal funding. The letter also asks that the PEP grant –the only federal program addressing PE and nutrition education - remain in the bill. Learn more about SHAPE America's 2015 legislative asks and federal legislative agenda.

Past participation from SHAPE America members has been critical in securing Congressional support for elevating health and PE to core subject status in federal education law. Members have also been successful in encouraging their lawmakers to keep PEP from being cut out of the federal budget altogether. Currently, the funding is at an all-time low of $47 million for FY15.

During this year's advocacy event, SHAPE America will recognize two of its Congressional supporters. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) will be honored with the 2015 SPEAK Out! Day Awards at a luncheon. Both Mikulski and Lewis gave their support for designating health and PE as core subjects as outlined in the PHYSICAL Act.

To learn about the status of PE in the U.S. with state-by-state profiles, visit the Shape of the Nation webpage and read the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report, which will be updated later this year.

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About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.