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Phy. Ed. bill moves ahead

Published (3/4/2010)
By Kris Berggren
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Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) has moved closer to her longtime goal of getting school children to be more physically active.

The House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee approved HF3115 March 2. The bill Norton sponsors would require the state to adopt academic standards for physical education by July 1, 2010. Minnesota is one of three states without statewide physical education standards.

The committee sent the bill to the House Finance Committee, with a recommended re-referral to the House K-12 Education Finance Division.

Norton said the bill is based on evidence that physical education supports academic achievement. It has no fiscal impact on school districts and does not make physical education a graduation requirement. It also encourages the Education Department to develop guidelines for school districts that promote quality recess activities.

Although 87 percent of Minnesota’s school districts have a physical education requirement, Norton said, the lack of statewide standards means lost opportunities for schools to receive federal funding for physical education equipment and programs

Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) said that since state physical education standards were eliminated in 2003, the state received no federal funds in 2006 or 2009, but that in 2008, North Dakota received $1 million; South Dakota, $500,000; and Wisconsin, $3.6 million.

Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) sponsors a companion, SF2753, which was scheduled to be heard March 3 by the Senate Education Committee.

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