Health groups are pushing to make sure schools allot time for physical education. Claiming that inactivity in children causes obesity, cancer, heart attacks and strokes down the line, they’re supporting legislation to make physical education a quality program in Illinois schools, sponsoring measures to establish standards and to create the category of “highly qualified” P.E. teachers.
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“We count certain kinds of teachers like math and English as highly qualified, and this would create a designation for PE teachers so we know whether our students and children are being taught by PE teachers who know what they’re doing,” says Alyssa Bassler, chief executive of the Illinois Public Health Institute.
Advocates claim to have public support, with a survey showing 80 percent of Illinois voters say physical education should be required at all grade levels and to graduate from high school. State law now allows waivers from P.E. for participation in activities such as team sports and Junior ROTC.