Facts about Physical Education

When students receive effective PE they do better physically, mentally, and emotionally, which is good for kids and good for schools. Effective physical education has many benefits:

  • Helps kids grow up at a healthier weight and reduces the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes
  • Improves sleeping patterns
  • Allows kids to focus, perform, and behave better in class, leading to improved academic outcomes
  • Teaches lifelong healthy habits that will help children grow into healthier adults

For more information about the positive impacts of physical education, download this fact sheet from the American Heart Association.

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has clear physical education requirements for public schools. These include standards for instructional time and frequency, space, and personnel, as outlined in the chart below and in more detail on the NYSED website. Most schools in New York City are failing to meet these standards. Better understanding the standards as well as what is being provided in your school, and schools across the city, will allow parents and advocates to call for change

New York State Physical Education Requirements

Grade Level

Frequency Duration Instructors

K-3

Daily 120 minutes/week Certified PE teachers or teachers under the direction and supervision of a certified PE teacher

4-6

At least 3 times/week; if housed in a middle school, grades 5-6 can attend class 3 class periods/week in one semester and 2 class periods/week in the other semester

120 minutes/week

Certified PE teachers or teachers under the direction and supervision of a certified PE teacher; if housed in a middle school, grades 5-6 must be taught by a certified PE teacher

7-12

3 class periods/week in one semester and 2 class periods/week in the other semester

90 minutes/week

 Certified PE teachers only

Note: recess, movement throughout the day, and after school sports or other activities do not qualify as physical education and should not be counted toward students’ required minutes.

Take Action

Want to ensure that every school in New York is meeting these standards and every kid has access to quality physical education? Visit our Take Action page to learn how you can get involved to ensure they every kid in New York has access to quality physical education.
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