Education Week - May 11, 2016 - (Page 23)
PAGE 24 >
ARTHUR H. CAMINS is the director of the Center for Innovation
in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of
Technology in Hoboken, N.J. He has taught and been an administrator
in New York City; Hudson, Mass.; and Louisville, Ky. The ideas
expressed in this essay are his alone and do not represent Stevens
uitable funding across districts. California's new local-control funding
formula, which returns more control over funding to local districts, is
designed to deliver more resources to schools serving poor and vulnerable students. California has also pioneered a holistic accountability
system to accurately assess conditions that are essential for teaching
and learning. We urge other states to follow these examples.
We need to ensure that all schools, including
charter schools, are transparent in their use
of public and private funds. We must ensure
that no school uses low test scores to target
students for expulsion. Finally, we must confront the segregation and concentrated poverty
that make sustained school improvement virtually impossible, and ground school improvement
efforts in community input so that key voices are
heard, valuable assets are leveraged, and critical
needs are met. The new flexibility that ESSA provides offers states and districts the opportunity
to demonstrate that they are up to the task.
With some of the most divisive arguments about poverty and accountability
behind us, educators, parents, and policymakers should seize this moment to address education-what former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calls "the
civil rights issue of our time." Only a bold
agenda that tackles the pernicious effects of
poverty will answer that call. n
HELEN LADD is a professor of public policy at Duke
University. PEDRO NOGUERA is the director of the
Center for the Study of School Transformation at the
University of California, Los Angeles. PAUL REVILLE
is a professor of practice of educational policy and
administration at the Harvard Graduate School of
Education. JOSHUA STARR is CEO of Phi Delta Kappa.
All are co-chairs of the Broader, Bolder Approach to
Education, which is a national campaign to advance
policies that combine poverty-mitigation strategies
with community engagement.
By Herschel Walker
y father gave me a
quarter every day before school when I was
little so that I could
buy myself a snack.
But I wouldn't buy a
snack. Instead, I gave
the quarter to a classmate, just to get someone to talk to me without
calling me "dumb" or "weird" or "fat."
I was a chubby kid with no confidence. I was
bullied, called names, and beaten up. I barely
spoke because of my stutter. Teachers would
put me in a corner and tell me I was "special." I
was scared to death of everybody.
My saving grace was physical education.
Physical activity became my refuge. Being active was a healthy way to channel my frustration and insecurities.
Physical education gave me so much: focus,
purpose, hope. Those elements helped turn that
scared little boy into
athlete, a valedictorian, and
the successful businessman I am today.
Without physical education, I wouldn't have
learned many of the skills that
improved my life both on and off
the football field. These skills remain with me, fueling my advocacy
for all children to reap the same benefits
from physical education that I did.
P.E. can help children who face many different challenges in and out of school. It can benefit kids of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.
That's why I've been a proud champion for
physical education for more than 15 years. I believe that physical education can be a catalyst
for positive change in a child's life, just as it was
in mine. Research shows that quality physical
education can help build health, confidence, and
better academic outcomes. Quality P.E. teaches
physical-literacy skills and healthy habits that
last a lifetime.
Yet, despite being in the midst of a full-blown
inactivity epidemic, our country isn't embracing
How bad is this epidemic? Nearly threefourths of American youths aren't getting the
60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by health experts.
The results are deadly. Research reported by
the sports-leader group Champions for America's Future, of which I am a member, shows
that one in every 10 premature deaths in the
United States is the result of inactivity, owing
to ailments that include heart disease, diabetes,
and certain types of cancer.
Problems related to inactivity also contribute
to the fact that seven out of 10 young adults
can't qualify for military service in this country.
In addition, a lack of physical activity costs our
economy an estimated $117 billion annually.
Physical education can help fight those results. Getting children to embrace healthy
habits makes a difference. Research indicates that the longer kids stay active during childhood, the more likely they are to be
active when they're adults. In fact, young
people who are active throughout adolescence are roughly seven to 13 times more
likely to remain active as adults.
Disappointingly, physical education has become harder to find in school settings over the
past decade. According to a 2014 study from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
percentage of schools that require students to
take physical education for graduation or promotion to the next grade level declined from 96
percent in 2000 to 77 percent in 2014.
We need to reverse this trend and teach these
We need to commit adequate resources and
class time to P.E. We need to maintain appropriate teacher-student ratios. We need to foster
high-quality instruction that teaches children
how to enjoy living active lives, not merely how
to play certain sports.
The benefits of making that investment will
travel beyond the gymnasium and
into the classroom: Studies have
shown that physical activity
can improve academic performance and mental
found that an
hour or two of
working memory, a key
component of learning, reasoning, and comprehension. Another
study showed that incorporating 20
minutes of physical activity into the
school day significantly improved test
scores in reading, math, and spelling.
The case for investing in P.E. is compelling,
and Congress has the perfect opportunity to
take action very soon when lawmakers craft a
bill for federal spending for the upcoming fiscal year. The recently passed Every Student
Succeeds Act, an education law that promotes
academic opportunity for all children, authorized a $1.6 billion grant program to support a
variety of services, including physical education
This is the year for Congress to seize the
moment to recognize the important, positive
impacts physical education has on health and
academic performance. Congress should fully
fund and embrace the Student Support and
Academic Enrichment grant program to support vital programs like P.E.
This funding is crucial for making P.E. possible in more communities across the nation,
especially because, according to one survey, the
average physical education program receives
only $764 per year from the school budget.
If we want to give children a path to better
health and improved academic outcomes, while
also pushing back against the inactivity epidemic, we need to invest in quality physical education. It can change the life of a young person.
How do I know it can change lives?
Because it saved mine. n
it is vital to
Quality Physical Education
Is a Life Changer
speed and ignore how the systems are built and supported.
As is the case with prejudice-driven stereotypes, even
some people inside school systems become so accustomed
to looking at who is moving faster that they forget to recognize their own significant progress.
Children, classrooms, and schools all have an education
destination. Some students get a head start because their
parents have more time and financial resources. Some students get to ride on faster trains because they live in communities that can commit more resources to local schools.
And notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark
1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, students'
race remains a substantial determinant of which train children can get aboard. Different tracks are not just a metaphor for school resource variations. Teaching students on
different tracks, also known as ability grouping, is still common within many schools.
Education in the United States is unequal by design. It
is structured to perpetuate inequality and segregation.
Some students continue to leave school better educated
than others. This is not the de facto result of parental selection of schools or neighborhoods. Differential funding
of schools through inequitable property taxes is a choice.
Housing segregation is the result of deliberate policy decisions and zoning regulations. In-school tracking and differential instructional decisions are intentional choices, too.
These longtime fixtures of our society appear to be givens,
but that does not imply that they are not purposeful political choices. This makes them harder, but not impossible,
However, let's not forget to consider frames of reference.
If we occasionally turn away from the faster-moving train
of inequality, there are sure signs of progress toward equity.
The first two promising developments are growing
HERSCHEL WALKER is the 1982 Heisman Trophy
winner and played for the National Football League
from 1986 to 1997. He is a member of Champions for
America's Future, a national network of athletes and
coaches that supports policy investments to improve
educational and other opportunities for students.
EDUCATION WEEK | May 11, 2016 | www.edweek.org/go/commentary | 23
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 11, 2016
Education Week - May 11, 2016
Bungling Student Names: A Slight That Stings
Popularity of Ed Tech Often Not Linked to Products’ Impact
As ESSA Rolls Out, State Officials Vow To Hear Local Voices
Rich Districts Post Widest Racial Gaps
News in Brief
Study Says Teachers Feel Stressed, Discounted
Amid Rocky Start, College-Access Coalition Hires First Director
Migrant Students Kept Out of Schools, AP Investigation Finds
Scores Decline for Low-Performers On 12th Grade NAEP
National Survey Shows Rise in Student Safety
Blogs of the Week
Education Funding a Key Factor In Illinois Budget Showdown
ESSA Paves Way for Deeper Access to Wealth of K-12 Data
Blogs of the Week
Relative Motion In Education
Education Policy Should Address Student Poverty
Quality Physical Education Is a Life Changer
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
‘People Support What They Create’: Stakeholder Engagement Is Key to ESSA’s Future
Education Week - May 11, 2016