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(Sunday/December 10, 2010) Today I am flying to Southern California to discuss the implementation of the Virtual PE Administrator to the Northridge Hospital Medical Center’s Center for Healthier Communities. A key aspect of this all-day Monday meeting is to explain why a PE-specific assessment platform is necessary and needed in today’s data-driven public school environment. As I see it, physical educators have always been an easy target because we lack accountability as a content subject.

We continue to be vulnerable because of our inability to say a firm “No!” to the “status quo.” What’s lacking is a coordinated and sustained effort among the PE leadership at the national, state, local district, and school levels to work together until physical education is “protected” like the other core content subjects. Until then, we will witness a slow, but steady, erosion to our physical education programs.

Core or Non-Core? To be perceived and valued as a core content area, we must act like one. This includes having:

  • District-wide  grade level outcomes that are taught, assessed and reported to parents on regular intervals like Science, Math and Language Arts.
  • State-level regulations that require school districts to hire certified PE teachers and providing students with a minimum weekly time allocation for physical education (not just physical activity).
  • A rigorous skill-based program (again, not just activity-based) so non-certified or out-of-field educators will have a difficult time in delivering the required content.

Positive Changes at the National Level: As many of you may know, the current leadership within the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) has proposed re-organizing itself to have a stronger national focus on K-12 physical education.  I think this will be voted upon at the 2011 National AAHPERD Convention in San Diego in early April, 2011 (Does anyone out there know if this is the case?). While I still have a few reservations based on the lack of information being shared at this time,  I believe this will create a dramatic and positive opportunity for us (i.e., the real, live PE teachers).

PE 2020: Hopefully, this new national organization will have the resources to be both responsive and effective in carrying out the type of sustained efforts we desperately need. But one never knows. One way to voice your opinion is to go to the PE 2020 website today and tell NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) the type of physical education program changes you’d like to see over the next 10 years.

What Do You Think? Please take this opportunity to send a clear message to AAHPERD/NASPE by sharing your thoughts regarding what needs to be happen to protect your school district’s physical education program. Write from your heart, share what’s bugging you, and be specific. What do you really need to ensure your PE program will be around in the year 2020?

Also Pony Up Some Bucks! And after you hit the SUBMIT button, please consider joining AAHPERD! This will let them know you are serious about what needs to happen locally in your community and in your state! Tell them you’re joining because you need an excited and renewed national advocate and you will be watching to see if the new organization is responsive!  Plus by doing this, a portion of your national association dues will automatically be credited to your State AHPERD with your name as a new national AAHPERD member. While you’re at it, contact your State AHPERD office and insist that this money go towards advocacy to protect your job! If you’re not a State AHPERD member, join this too!

Why Do It? So, why should you considering joining AAHPERD now?  It’s pretty simple:

  • We all need this “New AAHPERD” to succeed and look out for us!
  • We need this “New AAHPERD” at the national level to work with members of Congress, and
  • We need this “New AAHPERD” to leverage and provide State AHPERDs with new advocacy efforts and tools that are state and school district specific.

Plus, we need to use this unique opportunity to combine our individual “grassroots” PE teacher voices into a mighty ROAR!! Because, … we all know money talks! Please act now and spread the word via your State AHPERD association and/or other available means.  Thanks!

I’ll close this “renewed call for action” with two e-mails I recently received.  The first is from Steve Jefferies and the second is one I just got today. Please note both e-mails have been edited and shortened. Please act now and spread the word.  Thanks!

Artie:

I hope this finds you well! When I was elected NASPE President in 2008, one of my goals was to try to positively influence the future of the physical education teaching profession. I was intrigued and puzzled about where our profession was going. Thinking about the future and how physical education might better meet the needs of tomorrow’s students led to the creation of a NASPE-sponsored initiative called “PE2020” (http://www.pe2020.org)

PE2020 challenges all of us who care deeply about physical education to think about how we’d like it to look in 10 or more years. You and I believe that physical education has great potential for improving the lives of young people. But we face uncertain and challenging times. What should our programs look like in the future? How can we improve them? And what can we do today to prepare for tomorrow?

These and many more questions are the focus of PE2020. But for it to be a success, we need to come together and share our ideas and insights. I am personally writing to you because based on your professional involvement with NASPE and many other groups, I know that you care about physical education. You also of course have access to many professional colleagues through the Great Activities publications and the presentations you make.

As part of the initiative, we are also planning a one-day PE2020 symposium on Tuesday, March 29th at the San Diego AAHPERD Convention. This is going to be a different kind of event. We intend to create an environment in which as many people as possible have the opportunity to present and share their ideas. We want it to be a day of discussion, debate, and reflection. I am hoping that you will want to be a part of this event. Getting submissions on the web site will give the Planning Committee (George Graham, Bonnie Mohnsen, Darla Castelli, Tracy Krause, Allison Kleinfelter, and Bunny Lancaster) time to design a stimulating and rewarding professional experience.

Okay, that’s quite enough for this email. If you made it this far I greatly appreciate your patience and interest and look forward to reading your thoughts as well. Thanks very much for all that you do for our profession.

Best Regards,

Steve

Dr. Stephen C. Jefferies, Professor
Dept. of Physical Education, School and Public Health
Central Washington University

PS: Please excuse any other mass emailings that come your way inviting your participation in PE2020.  This message was sent directly from me to you!

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Hello Artie,

I just received the December issue of the Carol M. White PEP Grant Newsletter e-zine. Thanks!

We are devastated here in our township as our school district is facing a fiscal shortfall and MANY unfortunate changes may be coming our way, including losing our elementary PE program.

We are located in a state where elementary physical education is mandated by law, but licensed PE teachers are not!

Do you know if the PEP grant would cover PE teachers’ salaries?

I think elementary physical education will come back, but probably not for several years.

We do have a referendum scheduled in the Spring of 2011. However, passing the referendum does not look like a sure thing by any means.

Any ideas?

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