Letter from the President
Over a half a decade ago, HealthCorps joined a small coalition of like-minded organizations to elevate health education and physical education in federal education law. When No Child Left Behind was passed in 2002, health and PE were left out as “core subjects.” As a result health and physical education were often eliminated from a student’s school day and school’s budgets. Not coincidentally, during that time childhood obesity rates reached epidemic proportions. It was also around that time that HealthCorps launched its in-school program.
We saw first-hand the negative impact a lack of health knowledge and physical education has not only on students – but their families. We also knew that we could not solve the crisis on our own – it would support from many organizations and policy makers at the local, state and federal levels.
Over the years we heard a lot of no’s from lawmakers and Congressional staff – but our coalition grew to over 100, as did our perseverance.
This month all those no’s became a BIG yes. Both the U.S. House and Senate passed the reauthorization of the federal education law, now called the Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA. In this new authorization both health and PE are identified as part of a student’s well-rounded education which means both subjects which have been previously marginalized and over-looked are recognized and eligible for expanded federal funding.
With the President’s signature, the bill is now law. This momentous achievement could not have happened without the support of the HealthCorps family – your calls, emails and conversations with lawmakers and staff made the difference and will continue to make the difference for generations to come.
Our work is far from over. The law does not mandate health and physical education in schools, rather is makes both allowable uses for federal funds. It will be up to us to work with schools and school districts to ensure that health education and physical education are part of a student’s school day, and that faculty and staff receive professional development – preferably through HealthCorps.
To help us continue our cause, please contact us at email@example.com.