Press Release


Health and Physical Education Teachers Head to Capitol Hill  to Advocate for Health and PE Programs Under Every Student Succeeds Act

Reston, VA, February 26, 2016 — In an effort to ensure that school health and physical education are appropriately funded and addressed in the new federal education law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a group of 200 health and physical educators representing 46 states will meet with their congressional representatives in Washington, DC for SHAPE America's 8th annual SPEAK Out! Day, March 1-2

During their face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill, SHAPE America members, including teachers and other school health and physical activity champions, will offer insight and perspective on the negative impact that occurs when health and PE are marginalized. They will also share success stories of programs that are sustained and thriving in schools and ask their members of Congress to support robust funding for health and PE programs within their state.

New this year, SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators will host a Shape of the Nation Summit on March 1 as part of the two-day event, highlighting state PE policy opportunities and offering a preview of the highly anticipated 2016 Shape of the Nation Report. The soon-to-be-published report gives a snapshot of PE and physical activity policies across the country.

"SHAPE America advocates have been critically important in ensuring the inclusion of health and physical education as part of a well-rounded education in ESSA," says SHAPE America Senior Manager of Advocacy Carly Braxton. "Our work is far from over, however. Health and PE programs will be competing for Title I, II and IV funding with many other subjects in every state and school district."

This year's legislative asks include asking Congress to fully fund ESSA in FY2017 and specifically to fund Title IV, Part A of ESSA at the authorized level of $1.65 billion. This will allow health and PE programs to have access to significant funding. Under Title IV, block grants will be distributed to states, replacing the previous Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant and consolidating it with many other education grant programs.  

SPEAK Out! Day participants will also seek support for implementing ESSA in their states in a way that is advantageous and equitable for health and PE so these programs can continue to encourage lifelong healthy habits among all students. 

SHAPE America will present a SPEAK Out! Day award to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) during a special luncheon on March 2. The award recognizes federal lawmakers who have demonstrated commitment and leadership in "speaking out" for PE and wellness in our children's school day.  

Both Baldwin and Davis have been staunch supporters of the PEP grant as well as health and physical education for all students. 

SHAPE America will also share information on how health and PE professionals can get involved in 50 Million Strong by 2029, the organization's national commitment to empower all children to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.  

For more event details, visit SPEAK Out! Day. Find updates during the two-day event by following @SHAPE_America, #SPEAKOutDay on Twitter and watch the Summit live on Periscope.


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