from the city project blog
July 9th, 2008 - The Los Angeles Unified School Board (LAUSD) unanimously adopted a resolution to enforce physical education laws for all students on July 8, 2008. The resolution is a victory. Implementing the resolution at LAUSD, and persuading every school district to enforce physical education laws, are the next challenges.
Parents, students, teachers, and health and social justice advocates gathered to support the physical education motion.
Thirty seven school districts throughout California including LAUSD did not enforce physical education requirements in 2006. The strategic campaign resulting in the LAUSD resolution is a best practice example to engage, educate, and empower parents, teachers, students, and civic leaders to demand quality physical education in public schools. Physical education will help students move more, eat well, stay healthy, and do their best in school and in life. Physically fit students tend to do better academically, stay in school longer, and avoid gangs and criminal activity.
The resolution addresses enforcing required minutes of physical education; providing qualified physical education teachers; reducing physical education class sizes; achieving equal justice through quality physical education for all; and obtaining state resources to pay for quality physical education.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, obesity among LAUSD students has increased from 20.2% in 1999 to 26.1% in 2006, going from 1 in 5 children being obese to over 1 in 4. The percentage of obese school children continues to be persistently higher at LAUSD compared to other schools in the County.
90% of LAUSD children are children of color, and 74% are low income (qualify for free or reduced meals).
The motion is the result of many people working together to serve the students. The motion was authored by Board Member Marlene Canter and introduced by Board Members Canter, Tamar Galatzan, and Julie Korenstein. Ms. Canter is a national champion for physical fitness and healthy eating in public schools.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles Physical Education Campaign “For the Health of It” calls for enforcing physical education minutes requirements, providing qualified physical education teachers, limiting physical education class sizes, and joint use of schools, pools, and parks.
LAUSD Physical Education Advisor Chad Fenwick has provided leadership and expertise for all.
Diverse complainants have filed a Williams complaint to remedy physical education vacancies and misassignments, and the pattern and practice of depriving students of quality physical education.
The City Project is proud and honored to work with these allies.
The map below shows the school districts that did not enforce physical education requirements in Californian in 2006, and the counties with the greatest green access needs — measured in combined terms of fewest acres of green space and greatest levels of child obesity, youth, poverty, and people of color. Click here to see Chart 9G, which lists the school districts.
Click on the map to see all sizes.