FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Educators Head to Capitol Hill to Advocate for Health & Physical Education SHAPE America Members Will Ask Congress to Fully Fund Title IV, Part A ESSA Grant
RESTON, VA , April 13, 2017 — In response to serious threats of cuts to the federal funding of the bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), health and physical educators from around the country will head to Capitol Hill to advocate for full funding to support health and physical education programs in schools and professional development of teachers. Working with a coalition of more than 70 other organizations, the advocates will ask lawmakers to fully fund the federal education program Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, under ESSA.
More than 200 health and physical educators representing nearly 50 states on Capitol Hill will take part in the SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators 10th annual member lobby day, SPEAK Out! Day, on April 25-26. During these Capitol Hill meetings, teachers and advocates will offer insight and perspective on the negative impact of marginalizing health and physical education in schools. They will also share success stories and the links that exist between health, physical education and academic achievement.
When ESSA was passed in 2015, health and physical education were designated as part of a well-rounded education, making these subjects eligible for federal education funding for the first time. Under the new program, Title IV, Part A, schools will receive funding to support a well-rounded education, safe and healthy student programs, and effective use of technology. Despite being authorized at $1.65 billion, Title IV, Part A is at risk of being significantly underfunded under several proposals in Congress, putting health and physical education at risk of not being able to thrive in schools.
SHAPE America Senior Manager of Advocacy Carly Wright says it is critical to set a strong precedence for funding as ESSA implementation begins in the 2017-2018 school year.
"By September, all states will have considered feedback from education stakeholders, including health and physical educators, and will submit their ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education and set funding priorities for school districts," says Wright. "We are laser-focused on ensuring that health and physical education are on the top of the priority list."
In addition to pushing for full funding for Title IV, Part A, advocates will also ask Congress to support robust funding for Title II, Part A, which supports professional development for all school employees and Title IV, Part B, which supports after-school programs for low-income students.
During this year's advocacy event, SHAPE America will recognize four of its Congressional supporters. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as well as Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and Joe Crowley (D-NY-14) will be honored with the 2017 SPEAK Out! Day awards at a luncheon. Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) supporters over the years, the legislators have also been supportive of including health and physical education in ESSA as part of a student's well-rounded education.
Effective health and physical education are the cornerstones of SHAPE America's 50 Million Strong by 2029 commitment to empower all children to lead healthy and active lives.
For more event details, visit SPEAK Out! Day. Find updates during the two-day event by following @SHAPE_America and #MoreTitleIV on Twitter.
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.