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|Submission Title:||In 2020, an Inclusive Model of PE is Part of Every Child’s Education|
|Submission Entry:||It is my hope is that when we reach the year 2020, physical education will take its rightful place within our country’s educational system, as the known solution for many of today’s pressing issues confronting kids. While the Women’s Sports Foundation was started by elite athletes, the organization has remained steadfast in advocating for a sports and fitness experience for all, which includes quality P.E. programs that foster the sheer joy of physical self-expression, life-long fitness and a mutual respect between boys and girls. In 2020, PE could be an inclusive experience for boys and girls with the full range of abilities, from the self-proclaimed klutz to the gifted athlete. This place of honor will not be an easily expendable separate program in times of community financial hardship. Rather, the immense life-long benefits of physical activity will be acknowledged as an indispensible part of every child’s education.
At the Women’s Sports Foundation, our research shows that children who participate in physically active play at a young age are more likely to be physically fit throughout their lives. We also know that physical activity in childhood and adolescence will lead to less obesity and coronary heart disease. Physical activity deters risky behaviors like drug use for all children. Girls, in particular, reap unique benefits such as increased self-esteem and lower risks of teen pregnancies, eating disorders, breast cancer and osteoporosis. P.E. programs in 2020 will teach physical intelligence, and will foster a love for being active and a respect for the body. Yet even as the empirical data continues to stream in supporting the educational mission of PE, the eye on the ball, so to speak, will still be on play and having fun.
If this inclusive model of sports and fitness opportunities is to be available broadly, a model where tax-payer dollars are to be intentionally doled out to provide these educational opportunities to all students throughout their school years, the separation between the P.E. curriculum and the athletic departments must come down by 2020. We can best teach physical intelligence to our youth with unity and collaboration between these two departments, sharing equipment and facilities. Indeed, in 2020, sports could be an extension of PE, keeping all focused on the educational mission.
Finally, P.E. in 2020 should offer a wide range of co-ed options to all its students – from dance and weightlifting to self-defense and ball-handling skills. Boys and girls develop mutual respect for each other’s abilities, starting at a young age. In 2020, my hope is that our country will unlock the great potential in its citizenry when P.E. programs nationwide were widely recognized as a crucial part of every child’s education.