In August 2013, a task force led by State Superintendent Dr. Chris Koch and Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck proposed revisions to the Illinois Learning Standards for Physical Development and Health to improve and increase physical education (PE) classes. The six revised goals and two new standards that were adopted incorporate the latest brain research and best practices for achieving optimal student health to academic achievement. By increasing the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity that a child gets throughout the day, whether in PE class, during recess, or other activities, research shows increased academic performance, improved behavior, and better overall health.
The task force also recommended new strategies to enhance current physical education programs, such as:
- Increased training and professional development in enhanced PE for all stakeholders, including PE teachers, other school personnel, and even parents.
- Using metrics to assess the effects of enhanced PE.
- Engaging communities.
While changes won’t go into effect until next school year, school boards and administrators can adopt new curricula now and begin implementing policies and practices that support enhanced PE. The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) is encouraging superintendents, principals, school board members, PE teachers, parents, and health advocacy organizations to play a role in implementing the new standards.
IASB has provided a broad overview of the new standards. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has detailed information and the complete report from the Enhance Physical Education Task Force as well as a home page for Enhanced PE in Illinois.