Thursday, January 31, 2019

NYC Department of Education Reports Increase in Physical Education

In December Bronx Health REACH and our PE4All Coalition partners submitted testimony to the New York City Council Education Committee to extend programming for PEWorks, scheduled to end in June, and to also request expanding the Local Law 102, NYC Department of Education Reporting of Physical Education in NYC schools. PEWorks, a successful program developed to revitalize physical education has made great strides in improving physical education (PE) in NYC schools. The Program has increased the number of elementary schools with trained PE teachers to 85 percent, has trained 6,200 classroom teachers in physical activity programming, and has funded wellness programming in 207 schools and provided facility upgrades to 40 schools.

The NYC Department of Education reported a significant increase in the percentage of students receiving the required amount of physical education in the 2017-2018 report of the state of physical education in NYC. We reviewed the annual reports from the past two years and found a five percent increase in students receiving PE in high school and a four percent increase for middle schools. We believe the improvements are a result of the PEWorks program, a DOE initiative to revitalize physical education in public schools. (Click here for PEWorks Year 3 Report.) Overall, the 2017-2018 Annual PE Report of the NYC Department of Education determined that 60 percent of all Bronx public school students are receiving the required amount of PE per week.

This is great news! But we all know that more progress is needed for true systemic change in the Bronx. Thirty-one percent of Bronx public schools lack a certified full-time physical education teacher, 18 percent of Bronx public schools receive less than the required amount of physical education, 46 percent of Bronx public schools lack space to conduct physical education classes indoors and only ten out of 1299 schools have a designated space for adaptive physical education.

If this reporting bill gets passed, there will be additional funding for PEWorks  as well as expanded reporting on topics such as: public school compliance with PE curricula, professional development for certified physical education teachers, adaptive physical education provided to students with disabilities, and after school athletic funding. Although the committee is no longer accepting testimonies, we encourage you to reach out to your local councilmembers and ask them to support this bill.

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