Last week the House of Representatives began consideration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill, H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. H.R. 5 eliminates the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP Grant Program) and has no other source for physical education funding. H.R. 5 is currently stalled on the House floor.
The Senate is concurrently working on a bipartisan ESEA bill and is using the public comments solicited by Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) proposed discussion draft to help aid the negotiations in the bill’s policies. Sen. Alexander’s discussion draft had physical education as an acceptable use in a consolidated grants program but no dedicated funding. NCPPA members sent a letter to Senator Alexander and Senate HELP Committee Staff member to let them know we support dedicated physical education funding. (See the letter)
PEP is the ONLY dedicated spending in the entire U.S. Department of Education budget for physical education, yet funding has been targeted for elimination in spending reduction legislation in Congress. In 2014, funding for the program was cut by more than one-third (~37%).
It is vital we keep PEP funding alive. If PEP is cut, it is essential that there is language included in the bill that dedicates some percentage for physical education. We must protect physical education to protect the health, wellness of our children and their academic performance now and in the future.