Students’ Access to Quality Physical Education Is Lacking, State Leaders Can Help

By Nirja Shah

Active students tend to have better grades, school attendance, memory, and focus. Ensuring access to physical education during school hours can enhance student wellness. A new NASBE analysis shows that despite most states requiring physical education and striving to meet nationally recommended standards, students’ access to quality physical education is uneven.

The report draws from a recent national survey of physical education teachers conducted by researchers David S. Woo, Ben D. Kern, Chad M. Killian, Wesley J. Wilson, and Hans van der Mars, who, along with NASBE’s Celina Pierrottet, identify five key questions state leaders should ask to improve physical education access and promote student well-being.

“As states reel from learning loss and an ongoing youth mental health crisis, state policymakers can help balance students’ physical, emotional, and cognitive development by ensuring they have access to physical education and other school-based opportunities for physical activity,” the authors write.

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