MEMO OF SUPPORT
Intro 644: Requiring Reporting on Physical Education in NYC Schools
Overview: The PE for All coalition fully supports the approach of the PE disclosure legislation introduced by Councilmember Crowley, and proposes amendments to ensure that the new Local Law will be as comprehensive and effective as possible.
Who We Are: The Phys Ed for All coalition is comprised of citywide health and education advocates, community-based organizations, parents, school administrators, educators, and health professionals who are deeply committed to improving school wellness by ensuring equitable and improved access to quality physical education in New York City public schools. The PE4ALL campaign aims to improve NYC children’s access to quality PE through a multi-pronged approach of legislative advocacy, research, and community education and outreach.
Statement in Support: A wealth of research makes clear that participation in quality physical education (PE) curricula enhances students’ academic achievement, instills good habits for healthy living and teaches critical skills such as teamwork. Among other things PE increases focus, retention, and improves sleeping patterns. PE can also help combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses related to a lack of physical exercise – health problems that afflict students citywide, but especially in low-income communities and communities of color.
Despite the need for physical education, many schools in New York City are struggling to meet State PE requirements. Those requirements include the use of certified PE teachers to teach or supervise PE classes (depending on the grade level), and grade-specific requirements for the amount of weekly PE instruction – including daily PE classes for all students in grades K-3.
Unfortunately, efforts to improve PE are hampered by a lack of transparency and the absence of clear data about physical education in our schools. As Comptroller Scott Stringer complained in his recent report on physical education, the DOE’s tracking data is currently “incomplete” and of “poor quality,” making it “impossible to determine whether the DOE was meeting State requirements related to PE instructional time or class size mandates agreed to” under the City’s contract with the UFT.
For these reasons, the undersigned members of the PE for All coalition support Intro 644 with proposed amendments. Our proposed amendments would further strengthen the bill by asking detailed questions that would ensure the DOE provides useful and comprehensive data about physical education; adding questions about recess and other physical activity during the school day; and adding questions about how the DOE monitors and encourages compliance with state regulations.