Friday, February 5, 2016

Daily Physical Activity Bill Given Short Shrift at the Legislature, Again

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:50 AM

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Once again, Tucson's Steve Gall pushed for a bill to promote daily physical activity in elementary schools. (Full disclosure: Steve is a friend who keeps me up-to-date on his volunteer work with kids in Tucson and his efforts to get some kind of state legislation passed promoting daily physical activity.) This year it's HB 2066, a very modest bill indeed. It doesn't mandate daily physical activity. It simply requires that governing boards of school districts and charter schools hold a public meeting to consider adding daily physical activity to K-5 students' schedules. It can be "structured or unstructured physical activity inside or outside of the classroom," meaning the activity might be as simple as a teacher having the kids stand at their desks and do some movement between other classroom activities, or going outside and playing on their own for a few minutes. (The only thing that doesn't count is recess connected with lunch time.) And if the boards decide not to implement the program, that's fine, so long as they consider it.

According to Steve, House Speaker David Gowan assigned the bill to the Education Committee, but committee chair Paul Boyer wouldn't give it a hearing.

To put this in perspective:

The physical activity bill HB 2066 says schools should consider allowing kids aged 5 to 10 be given some time to move their bodies a little during the school day. Every study says it's not only good for their physical development, but it increases their abilities to concentrate in class. The boards just have to consider the idea and decide whether or not they want to implement it. The bill died before it got a hearing.

Last year, the legislature passed the American Civics Act which requires every Arizona high school student to memorize 100 facts about U.S. history and civics, then show they have crammed the facts in their heads long enough to pass a test. If they don't pass, they don't graduate. The bill got lots of positive local and national press.

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