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Kamla JimA physical education instructor at the University of South Carolina Upstate will travel to the nation’s capital with representatives from 37 other states to help ensure health and physical education are considered as core academic subjects under the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Jim Kamla, Ph.D., will be advocating as part of AAHPERD’s sixth annual SPEAK Out! Day Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at Capitol Hill.

Kamla, as well as 100 of his colleagues from around the country, will seek additional cosponsors for the PHYSICAL Act.  The PHYSICAL Act, which stands for Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (S.392, H.R. 2160), is the key bill, that if passed, would designate physical education and health education as core subjects, making them eligible for federal funding under Title I and Title II. The monies would help school districts expand physical education and health education programs and professional development for teachers, leading to potential opportunities to dedicate weekly physical activity time, enhanced classroom instruction or development of creative health programs.

“As a physical education teacher, I see day in and day out the impact physical education has on all aspects of a student’s life,” Kamla said. “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.”

The group of more than 100 teachers will also encourage continued support for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), the only federal funding for physical education. The grant program has been available for the past 13 years and has awarded nearly $800 million to support the development of quality physical education programs.

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.

Kamla will also have the opportunity to share stories on the impact of PEP on the local level and the need for more stringent mandates for physical education and health education.  In addition, Kamla will attend a special luncheon where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) will be awarded with SPEAK Out! Day awards for their leadership regarding the PHYSICAL Act. Both members of Congress are cosponsors of the legislation and also sponsored a Congressional briefing in September to highlight the importance of health and physical education in the nation’s schools.

Follow the hashtag #shapeofthenation on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook, to keep up with the latest on SPEAK Out! Day. To learn about the status of physical education in the U.S. with state by state profiles, visit the Shape of the Nation webpage and read the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report. For more event details, visit AAHPERD at www.aahperd.org.

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