FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bonnie Nebuda, Director of Advancement
Date: February 9, 2015
LOCAL PHYSICAL EDUCATOR MAKES RETURN TRIP TO CAPITOL HILL TO ADVOCATE FOR HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, FEBRUARY 10-11
Fremont, NE, February 9, 2015– Local physical education teacher, Wyatt Morse from Archbishop Bergan Catholic School will head to the nation’s capital, February 10-11, to advocate for school health and physical education at the federal level. Morse, who currently serves as President of SHAPE(Society of Health and Physical Educators) Nebraska, and peers from 37 other states will meet face to face with lawmakers to help ensure health and physical education are included in the federal education law known as Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), up for reauthorization in Congress.
Wyatt will be advocating as part of SHAPE America’s 7th annual SPEAK Out! Day. This year, SHAPE America is looking to secure support for designating school health and physical education as core academic subjects and will be urging legislators to bring the only federal funding for physical education, the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), back to its original funding level of $100 million. The funding decreased for fiscal year 2015 to an all-time low of $47 million.
The group of 122 teachers will have the opportunity to share their unique perspective on the impact these dollars make in helping not only sustain but also expand their health and PE programs.
“As a PE teacher, I see day in and day out the impact physical education has on all aspects of a student’s life, from improved academics and behavior in the classroom, to increased confidence to excel in other endeavors, both personal and academic, as well as the obvious proven health benefits of being physically active,” says Wyatt Morse. “I hope to have a chance to meet our state representatives and explain to them why these two bills are important for the health of our children. There is so much research out there now that ties being physically active to academic performance. Allowing Physical Education and Health to become a core subject is extremely important in changing the perception of health and PE. These classes are not what they were even when I was in school and kids need the information being taught as a foundation to developing and living an active lifestyle.”
Currently only six states require physical education in all grades K-12 and many states do not provide adequate health education instruction time as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I’m very lucky to be able to work in a school that really does embrace the importance of physical education. At Bergan our students receive PE 3 days a week for 30 minutes. In addition, many of our classroom teachers have found that using class brain break activities to get kids moving help improves learning as well. Our administration, parents, and staff do a great job of promoting being active and it has really registered with our students. We started a before and after school walking club last year and had about 45 students enrolled. This year we continued the program and that number doubled. Nearly 42% of our K-6 grade students participate in the program, which is awesome.” Morse said.
Past participation from SHAPE America members has been critical in securing Congressional support for elevating health and PE to core subject status. Members have also been successful in encouraging their lawmakers to keep PEP from being cut out of the federal budget altogether.
“The Senate has already begun to address ESEA early in this session of Congress, so this is the time to advocate in order to ensure that we are included in the final bill! We look to our members to help push our legislative asks forward and bring policy to life through their unique perspectives as educators,” says Carly Braxton, senior manager of advocacy for SHAPE America.
To follow live updates on SPEAK Out! Day, follow hashtag #SPEAKOutDay on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook. To learn about the status of physical education in the U.S. with state by start profiles, visit the Shape of the Nation webpage and read the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report, which will be updated later this year. For more event details, visit www.shapeamerica.org.
If you would like more information on this topic or to schedule an interview with Mr. Wyatt Morse, please call 402-721-9766 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.