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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
School Physical Education Budgets a Cause For Alarm in New Trends Survey
RESTON, VA, February 1, 2010 --The median physical education budget for schools in the United States is only $764 per school year ($460 for elementary, $900 for middle, and $1,370 for high schools), and 61% of physical education teachers report an annual budget of under $1,000 – alarming numbers discovered through the inaugural “Physical Education Trends in Our Nation’s Schools: A Survey of Practicing K-12 Physical Education Teachers,” conducted recently by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and Polar USA.
“Reducing or eliminating school physical education programs is counter-productive to student health and learning, as well as our nation’s economic health,” said NASPE President Dr. Stephen C. Jefferies, professor and director of graduate studies, Central Washington University. “Students who are fit and healthy are more ready to learn. Physical education is a critical contributor to physical fitness, health and academic performance.
“That is why NASPE urges education policy-makers and decision-makers to support and invest in quality school physical education programs,” Jefferies stressed. “Increasing physical activity through physical education is a public health strategy for reducing childhood obesity.”
During this economic recession, states and school districts are examining every expenditure as they work to balance their budgets. Physical education is one curricular area that traditionally draws consideration for reduction. NASPE believes the reason might be a lack of understanding about the purpose and benefits of a quality physical education program.
To help equip physical education teachers across the country with a valuable advocacy tool, NASPE has released a statement called “Reducing School Physical Education Programs is Counter-Productive to Student Health and Learning and to our Nation’s Economic Health.”In addition to explaining the goal of physical education – developing physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity – the statement outlines the benefits to students as well as the country in reducing childhood obesity.Physical education improves students’ health, which improves their ability to learn.
According to Dr. Jefferies, “Now is the time to invest in prevention, not reduce or eliminate obesity and chronic disease prevention programs such as school physical education. Physical education represents a critical investment in the immediate and long-term health and productivity of our nation’s citizens.”
To view the complete statement, “Reducing School Physical Education Programs is Counter Productive to Student Health and Learning and to our Nation’s Economic Health,” visit: http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/advocacy/governmentRelations/toolkit.cfm.
The survey, which was completed by 1,164 practicing K-12 physical education teachers, was conducted to collect information on instructional content, use of technology, professional development, principals’ knowledge and support for physical education, perceptions of student and parent involvement, and funding. The findings identify progress that has been made and opportunities that exist.
Expanding on the disturbing annual budget numbers, almost half of all teachers (45%) reported that their budget has stayed about the same in recent years; however, 36% said that their budget has decreased slightly or substantially as compared to only 11% that said theirs had increased slightly or substantially.
Headquartered in Lake Success, NY, Polar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Finland-based Polar Electro OY, which invented the first wireless heart rate monitor (HRM) in 1977. Since its founding over thirty years ago, Polar has been pioneering a revolution in training and leading the heart rate monitoring and fitness assessment technology category with innovative products and solutions that deliver valuable feedback and guidance to help individuals reach their personal goals by improving their well-being and sports performance through a profound understanding of the human body. Today, Polar training computers are the number one choice among consumers worldwide.Polar products and technologies are also used by leading fitness facilities, athletic teams, corporate wellness facilities and by thousands of physical educations programs around the country. For more information, visit www.polarusa.com.
Society of Health and Physical Educators