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Advocating for Physical Education

UMD instructor on steps at Capital Hill
March 7, 2019

UMD instructor on Capitol Hill this week.

UMD physical education instructor Lisa Rahkola is in Washington D.C. this week, advocating for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which identifies school health and physical education as part of a student’s well-rounded education.

Rahkola is joining more than 150 colleagues at the nation’s capital to take part in the SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators 12th annual member advocacy day, SPEAK Out! Day, on March 5 and 6, 2019.

“I chose to participate in SpeakOut day because I have a strong passion for health and physical education, and as an instructor at UMD teaching future professionals in a teacher preparation program, it is even more crucial for me to advocate for our profession and ensure lawmakers understand the importance of our work,” says Rahkola.

She's asking lawmakers to fully fund the federal education program Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, under ESSA– allowing schools to receive funding to support a well-rounded education, safe and healthy student programs, and effective use of technology. Congress funded Title IV, Part A at $1.1 billion and $1.17 billion in FY18 and FY19, respectively.

“Under this block grant, we are competing with many other subject areas and programs for financial support,” says Rahkola. “We need to make sure that the pot of money is as large as possible to ensure that health and physical education programs will have the chance to access at least a portion of that funding.”

During these Capitol Hill meetings, Rahkola joins other teachers and advocates to offer insight and perspective on the negative impact of marginalizing health and physical education in schools. They will also share success stories and the links that exist between health, physical education, and social emotional learning, and academic achievement.

UMD instructor and her peers advocating for physical education at the Nation's capital

Learn more about UMD"s Department of Applied Human Sciences.