Last week Washington state took the first step towards ensuring all students have access to quality physical education with the enactment of HB 1235.
Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Riccelli, Harris, and Stonier, the importance of getting Washington’s kids moving has been elevated. On April 20, Governor Jay Inslee signed HB 1235 into law; this bill was a 2017 Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (COPC) legislative priority. As a COPC member, Washington Bikes is excited that physical education assessments will now be uniform throughout the state.
Currently, one in five school-aged children is obese. PE classes taught in school are sometimes the only way for a child to get physical activity. Healthy kids have better learning outcomes in the classroom. This fact is also true for kids having access to safe and connected routes to school, allowing them to bike and walk to and from school. Washington Bikes advocates for safe and connected routes through the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program. We are committed to ensuring the youngest in our communities have safe spaces to be active and increasing the likelihood that they develop healthy life habits at a young age.
HB 1235 is focused on getting an accurate picture of Washington state’s current physical education curricula in schools — the first step in understanding the quality and quantity of Washington’s PE programs. The bill establishes a reporting requirement so we can better know details such as: curricula, teacher credentials, length of time, class size, and class space. Currently, there is no uniform reporting requirement, which makes understanding student’s access to and experience with PE unclear. Having this data is significant because it will allow for addressing gaps in access and identifying future improvements to PE curricula.
Thanks to our COPC leads and partners for bringing the PE bill to fruition!
This bill comes just in time for Bike to School Month, when students across the state can track their biking minutes to earn cool prizes! Register your school for the statewide Bike to School Challenge with our affiliate organization, Cascade Bicycle Club.