It's almost too good to be true! After years of advocacy, more emails than you probably want to remember and countless hours of work with our community partners in the Phys Ed 4 All coalition, New York City is poised to make significant progress in our goal to improve physical education for every student!
In his executive budget proposal, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to dedicate $9 million to help improve PE in city schools. He specifically referenced the goal to help get every school in compliance with state law. (It's good to note that the state laws currently require just 120 minutes per week of PE for elementary students and 90 minutes per week in secondary school. These requirements don't yet meet national benchmarks which would make sure elementary kids get 150 minutes per week of PE and 225 minutes for the older kids. But before we can even think about that, we have to make sure NYC schools are able to meet the basic requirements. Unfortunately, AHA research in 2012 showed that a majority of schools do not comply with state laws and there were several other red flags related to the quality of PE that was being offered to students.)
Mayor de Blasio hopes this is just the beginning. Building on the success of last year's PE Works initiative, he's asked for $9 million to be provided for PE this year, and potentially $44 million in the next year. And if he has his way, that won't be the end of it. He'd like to see $100 million in city funds dedicated for physical education by the year 2020.
This funding will go a long way to hire more certified PE teachers, provide support and resources to improve PE curriculum and perhaps most needed, restore gym spaces to a safe, adequate size for PE classes. We're not done yet. The obstacles in the way for quality PE are complicated and vast and we expect many more to come to light with the first issuance of the PE Reporting Law this August. Even the $9 million isn't locked in yet. City Council will determine the final version of the state budget before July 1. But with the Mayor's announcement to support quality PE, we are finally gaining momentum!
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