Why We Can’t Let Illinois Cut PE
Our state’s commitment to supporting children’s health and learning is under threat. Illinois lawmakers are once again considering weakening Illinois’ requirement for daily PE with House Bill 4069. The bill, under consideration this week, would eliminate the daily PE requirement for Illinois students and reduce the amount of required PE to only three days a week.
Raise your voice to tell your representative that our state’s commitment to PE, with its profound benefits for health and learning, is not a bargaining chip. Take action today!
Today, Illinois is a leader in supporting children’s well-being with PE: It is one of only a few states that require daily PE for all students. This law was originally passed after World War II in response to worries that our population would not be fit to serve in the military. Since then, our understanding of the value of PE has only grown. Research shows that in addition to providing health benefits, physical activity and exercise benefit cognitive development in children and contribute to improved student behavior and self-esteem. In fact, just one session per day of PE can enhance students’ ability to learn.
Upholding Illinois’ commitment to PE is especially critical given that one in three Illinois children is overweight or obese and at increased risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. High-quality PE not only provides immediate health benefits but also equips students with the lifelong skills to manage their health.
Nationally, education leaders are increasingly recognizing the value of PE. The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, our nation’s education law, recognizes PE as part of a well-rounded education, placing it on par with language arts, science and math. After decades of leadership in recognizing the critical nature of PE, this is not the time for Illinois to step backwards. House Bill 4069, which would allow schools to scale back daily PE to as few as three days per week, threatens to undermine our state’s commitment to the health and academic success of Illinois children.