New Education Legislation includes Health Education and Physical Education
On December 9, the Senate approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, S. 1177), which is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This landmark legislation, which replaces No Child Left Behind, includes both health education and physical education as well-rounded education subjects. This is the first time either has been explicitly included as a “core subject” in an ESEA reauthorization.
Because the House already passed the legislation on December 3, 2015, the bill will now head to the White House where President Obama is expected to sign it.
In addition to including the academic areas of health education and physical education, the legislation also acknowledges that for students to succeed academically, schools must address the whole child and also ensure that schools are safe and free from bullying and harassment. Such recognition makes funding for school health as part of education budgets allowable and encouraged.
Many in the field have been working on this for over ten years, so this is a major legislative accomplishment.