Arizona Health and Physical Education Leaders Advocate for Federal Funding Virtually!

Public Relations Advocacy, News & Events, Public Relations, SHAPE America

SHAPE America Members Ask Congress to Fully Fund Title IV, Part A of ESSA

3/19/21
Mesa, Arizona

In an effort to educate members of Congress about the importance of a well-rounded education within
the bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) leaders from Arizona Health and Physical Education
Association are advocating virtually to Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill to advocate for full funding
to support professional development for teachers and health and physical education programs in
schools. Arizona leaders representing AzHPE for this event are: Keri Schoeff, Kyle Bragg, Lynn Preble,
Aaron Mason, and Jennifer Reeves.

AzHPE leaders shared their stories with members of Congress about how COVID-19 has impacted
schools over the past year and specifically how health and physical education programs have become
more important now than ever for students. Advocates also asked lawmakers to support health and
physical education programs by fully funding the federal education program Title IV, Part A, Student
Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, under ESSA. AzHPE members joined more than 160 fellow
health and physical educators representing 38 states who are advocating virtually and are taking part in
the SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators 14th annual member advocacy day,
SPEAK Out! Day, on March 16-19. When ESSA was passed in 2015, health and physical education were
designated as part of a well-rounded education, making these subjects eligible for federal education
funding for the first time. Under a the ESSA program, Title IV, Part A, schools will receive funding to
support a well-rounded education, safe and healthy student programs, and effective use of technology.
SHAPE America is asking Congress to fully fund Title IV, Part A for $1.6 billion and $2.6 billion for Title II, Part A respectively. As Congress reconciles appropriations for FY 2022 and beyond, with a new
Presidential Administration and Congress, it is critical that the health and physical education community continues its strong advocacy efforts for this important funding stream for schools.

“It is imperative that health and physical education teachers embolden themselves to speak up and
advocate for our profession. It is crucial to use our voices to help others understand the importance of
protecting students rights to a well-rounded education which includes a quality, standards-based
physical education program. If we don’t highlight the benefit of teaching students to be active and
healthy for life, who will?”
– Lynn Preble
SHAPE America Western District President
Former AzHPE President

During these meetings, teachers and advocates offered insight and perspective on the negative impact
of marginalizing health and physical education in schools as well as the importance of health and
physical education during the pandemic. They also shared success stories, challenges and gave
testimonials about what they are seeing and experiencing in schools, both virtually and in-person, across
the country.

“ESSA Title II and IV funds are an integral step towards a future where schools have fully funded physical education programs. In a climate where schools are having to choose between having physical
education teachers, school counselors, and/or full time nurses on staff, these funds make a direct contribution that has the potential to positively impact the whole-child at considerable scale. In the
event a school is fortunate enough to have a highly-qualified physical education teacher or teachers,
these funds can be used to obtain evidence-based curriculum, access professional development, replace
inevitably fatiguing equipment, afford the purchase of diverse equipment to inspire students in novel
ways, or even acquire technology (e.g., projectors, iPads, pedometers) to amplify already quality
instruction.”
– Aaron Mason
Doctoral student at Arizona State University
Adapted Physical Education Teacher for 5 years

SHAPE America’s Vice President, Advocacy and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Carly Wright says it is
critical to fund Title IV, Part A at a meaningful level as the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need
for schools to prioritize students’ health and well-being.

“This session of Congress brings many new legislators to Capitol Hill and new committee leadership that
will oversee federal education issues. This gives us an important opportunity to develop new champions
in Congress for health and physical education,” says Wright. “In turn, we must be laser-focused on
cultivating a strong voice in Washington, DC on behalf of the health and physical education community.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for effective health and physical education programs and this
funding is essential for these programs’ continued success.”

In addition to pushing for full funding for Title IV, Part A, advocates will also ask Congress to support
continued funding for Title II, Part A, which supports professional development for all school employees, including for health and physical education programs.

For more event details, visit SPEAK Out! Day. Find updates by following @SHAPE_America and
#MoreTitleIV on Twitter.

About SHAPE America
SHAPE America Society of Health and Physical Educators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association and the
nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals. Our vision is to
have a nation where all children are prepared to lead healthy, physically active lives — and our
programs and resources support the teachers who are making a difference every day. Through our
advocacy efforts, we laid the groundwork for the inclusion and elevation of health and physical
education in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And now, we continue the fight for increased
funding for these critical K-12 programs.