Education Committee to Shine Light on Physical Education Compliance

January 14, 2008

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (Queens-NY), Chair of the New York State Assembly Education Committee, will hold a hearing to explore physical education compliance in New York State public schools. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 10:30am at 250 Broadway in New York City.

“We know physical activity improves academic performance by contributing to overall health and by teaching children valuable concepts like teamwork and problem solving. The challenge is that despite a law requiring schools to provide physical education, many students in New York State do not receive instruction, and that is a shame,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

The Assembly Education Committee will explore why some schools comply with state law and why some do not. What factors contribute to the successful fulfillment of physical education requirements? Is it lack of space, lack of teaching resources, or lack of commitment by policy makers and school districts?

“The intention of the hearing is to discover the facts and move toward viable solutions so that all New York State Schools comply with physical education laws. Our goal is to ensure that every student in New York State receives time and instruction in physical education as is their right. I am thrilled that Governor Spitzer made a clear commitment to physical education in the State of the State,” Assemblywoman Nolan said.

In his State of the State address on January 9th Governor Spitzer said, “We will ask Comptroller DiNapoli to help enforce the State’s strong, but widely ignored, physical education requirements by including them in his regular school district audits. And I have directed the Department of Health, which has now begun gathering data, to report to me annually on our progress,” said Governor Spitzer.

New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli has been invited to testify at the hearing. New York City Comptroller William Thompson and New York State Education Department Associate Commissioner Jean Stevens are scheduled to testify, as well as New York City Department of Education Director of Fitness and Health, New York State United Teachers, United Federation of Teachers, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators and advocates from the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

The New York State Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver, has long supported increased funding for physical education.