Enhanced P.E. correlates directly to the health and well-being of students for the rest of their lives and has cognitive benefits, too, making students more receptive to learning. There is a significant body of research showing that children who are more physically active perform better in class and on standardized tests. Improving opportunities for physical activity is an imperative for improving our children’s academic achievement and their health.
Illinois has long been a leader in valuing children’s health. Although many states require P.E., Illinois was the first state in the nation to require daily P.E. for all students. Many schools have designed or adopted model programs to meet this requirement and create opportunities for physical activity. Unfortunately, physical activity times in P.E. classes are consistently low. In a typical 30-minute (K-6 grade) class, students engage in only 11 minutes of physical activity. Thus, a traditional P.E. class contributes very little to ensuring students are meeting the 60 minutes per day of exercise recommended in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Enhanced Physical Education Strategic Plan (August, 2012)
In order to make rapid and significant progress toward implementing enhanced P.E. programs and improved physical activity and wellness in Illinois schools, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Public Health Institute produced this Strategic Plan, with input from the Enhanced P.E. Task Force. This plan identifies three partners as most able to effect change and make enhanced P.E. in all Illinois schools a reality: school boards, superintendents, and principals. The Strategic Plan identifies ways that each of these three partners can be leaders in this effort, as well as corresponding community-level implementation strategies. This Enhanced Physical Education (P.E.) Strategic Plan provides a high-level roadmap for implementing the vision that all Illinois K-12 students will participate in daily, high-quality physical education.
Enhance Physical Education Task Force (EPETF) (December 2012-August 2013)
On August 27, 2012, the Senate passed Public Act 97-1102 that creates the Enhance Physical Education Task Force (EPETF). The purpose of this Task Force is to promote and recommend enhanced physical education programs that can be integrated with a broader wellness strategy and health curriculum in elementary and secondary schools in this state, including educating and promoting leadership on enhanced physical education among school district and school district officials; developing and utilizing metrics to assess the impact of enhanced physical education; promoting training and professional development in enhanced physical education for teachers and other school and community stakeholders; identifying and seeking local, State, and national resources to support enhanced physical education; and such other strategies as may be identified by the Task Force.
In August, 2013, the Task Force submitted its recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on Goals 19-24 of the Illinois Learning Standards for Physical Development and Health. The Task Force focused on updating the standards based on research in neuroscience that impacts the relationship between physical activity and learning.
For further information on members and meetings, see Quick Links.