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 Institute. 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. M 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 an accomplished 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 physical education. 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 lifelong skills. 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 health. One study found that an after-school program providing an hour or two of physical activity significantly improved participating children's 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 programs. 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 y In education, it is vital to remember frames of reference." tt " Quality Physical Education Is a Life Changer Ge 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, to change. 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. Getty EDUCATION WEEK | May 11, 2016 | | 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
Report Roundup
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