Every Child Deserves High-Quality PE
We, the undersigned, commend CPS for its leadership in championing student health and wellness through strong policies and urge CPS to continue to make students’ health a priority.
Despite efforts to strengthen the PE program, many students still lack access to high-quality daily PE.
All students—no matter where they live or what grade they are in—benefit from physical education. Unfortunately, only 31 percent of elementary and middle schools offer 150 minutes per week of PE and just 57 percent of high schools offer daily PE to all grade levels, according to the district’s 2017-2018 self-reported data.
A stronger commitment to physical education is absolutely critical. PE is essential to learning. It is an academic subject that students need and deserve. Studies show that active students perform better in school, behave better in the classroom, attend school more regularly and have a greater ability to focus. PE also develops healthy habits for a lifetime and helps keep students’ hearts healthy.
Disparities in education mirror disparities in health. PE is an important strategy to help close the achievement gap and reverse the negative trends of chronic health conditions among low-income students and students of color. It is increasingly clear the important role high-quality PE plays in the success of all students.
The fact is, active students learn better. With better access to high-quality PE, every student in every school will have a chance to succeed. Building the district’s capacity so all schools can deliver high-quality daily PE is a long-term process, and, as invested partners in promoting student health and wellness, we are at the ready to support the district’s efforts to provide physical education for all.
We, the undersigned, urge the Board of Education to publicly affirm CPS’ commitment to PE by:
- Fully implementing the district’s Physical Education policy, especially by ensuring a transparent data collection and evaluation process that identifies challenges and opportunities around compliance at the district and school level.
- Developing and implementing a comprehensive plan to ensure that all schools have the staffing, training, facilities and funding necessary to fully implement PE.
- Amending the district’s Wellness Policy so that the Board of Education retains full authority to set the district’s Physical Education policy.