H.R. 325: Adult Day Center Enhancement Act

Executive Summary

Adult day centers are spread far and few with low budgets. With 53% of adults who have diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain trauma, and other neurological diseases being between ages 18 and 74, there is need for adult day programs to help younger adults with neurological diseases and conditions. H.R. 325: Adult Day Center Enhancement Act would expand and enhance existing day programs.


One in six people in the United States lives with a neurological disease or condition. A family caregiver, someone related to a person with a neurological disease who takes care of them, provides around $470,000,000,000 in support and care a year. Adult day centers can help offset that cost and help provide medical care, rehabilitation programs, nutrition therapy, social interaction, activities, and much more. They help to decrease the burdens placed upon caregivers as well as reduce dependency and increase quality of living in those who have neurological diseases and conditions. Currently, the majority of adult day centers cater to an older clientele and do not have appropriate programs needed to serve younger adults. Research involved in this bill looks at adult day centers to see which ones are successful and why, identifying adult day centers which serve young adults, develop a set of standards for programs to be successful, and discover the extent to which the Administration for Community Living supports adult day centers through current federal grants.

Approaches and Results

Within 90 days of gathering information on adult day centers, The Assistant Secretary for Aging will create a competitive grant program for awarding grants annually through the Administration for Community Living. These programs would have to be proven as eligible based on guidelines for the best practices based on findings from the previously mentioned research, as well as having to serve young adults. Within a year of giving out grants, and every year thereafter, the Assistant Secretary for Aging will publish a report. These reports will describe the adult day centers receiving funding, how much funding they receive, performance goals, and plans to improve the programs.

Adult day centers have been shown to have many benefits for those who have neurological diseases and conditions. These include improvements in functional status, social support, as well as reductions in fatigue, depression, and pain. Through improved day center programs, less adults will need to be placed in nursing homes and can be cared for at home, reducing cost to families. Health and social services are available while living at home rather than having to check into a hospital or home.


By providing federal grants to these adult day centers, these centers can develop stronger and more successful programs to better support young adults living with neurological diseases and conditions. It can help take financial burdens off of families as well as improve quality of living for those individuals. Regulation of standards for programs through research and funding can help improve these centers as well as the services they offer.

Implications and Recommendations

This bill was introduced January 5, 2017 and is currently being overviewed by a committee. You can support this bill, and others bills similar to it, by calling your congress representatives. This bill could potentially positively impact many individuals and families in a positive way and should not be overlooked or thrown away.

America Needs Bill 724

As a nation founded by immigrants, in the promise of a better life, The United States should be welcoming immigrants not shutting them out. President Trump’s Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, does just the opposite. House Bill 724 is calling for the President’s Executive Order to be null and void. I am in favor of Bill 724.


On January 27, 2017 President Trump signed the Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. His Executive Order bans, for 90 days, people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The countries are: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. His Executive Order also bans all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refuges indefinitely. His goal, to keep out radical Islamic terrorist. Immediately, the country fired back and started protesting.


On January 29, 2017, just 2 days later, bill 724 was introduced. The goal of bill 724 is that there shall be no force or effect, and prohibits the use of Federal funds to enforce the Executive Order that Trump signed; declaring Trump’s Executive Order null and void. This bill is important because Trump’s Executive Order goes against the very founding of our country, it is unconstitutional, problematic, and it directly affects up to 90,000 people. It needs to be stopped. People should care because odds are they know someone who is either directly or indirectly effected by Trump’s travel ban. More importantly, people should care because the individuals who are affected are being unjustly discriminated against. They are human beings who deserve respect, compassion, and to be evaluated on their merit, not their country of origin or religion.

Issues with Trump’s Executive Order

Trump has the right idea of wanting to ban terrorist and keep the country safe, but he is forgetting a few key factors. First, Trump’s ban does not specially target people who have terrorist ties, it is considered a blanket ban that targets anyone from those 7 countries. He wants America to learn from 9/11, but ironically does not include the countries where the perpetrators of 9/11 came from. His goal is to ban Muslims from entering the country because he thinks that Islam is the problem. His ideology is seriously flawed. Terrorist groups, like ISIS, are a serious threat, but to say that they represent Islam is comparison to saying that the KKK represents Christianity. Finally, the vast majority of terror attacks on the U.S. are domestic not foreign. Foreign terrorism-related deaths represent .39 % of all murders over the past 40 years.

Conclusion and Recommendations

 America needs for bill 724 to pass to undo the destruction of what President Trump’s Executive Order created. Trump’s Executive order will not accomplish the goal of keeping America safe from terrorism. I urge you to take a stand and support bill 724. You can do this by writing or calling your local legislators and telling them to vote yes. You can participate in protest against Trump’s ban. The easiest thing you can do is engage in dialogue about this topic with others. Spread your knowledge and refuse to be silenced.


The Dakota Access Pipeline

With the whirlwind of executive orders and actions that have surrounded President Trump’s first weeks in office, the ethics and morality of the Executive branch cannot help but be called into question when viewing actions taken that look over the citizens of this country. One actions that supersedes others in terms of controversy over human interest vs corporate interest is the authorization of continuing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This pipeline is being constructed only a half a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation, and through investigation by environmental groups have determined the high potential that this location will contaminate the water supply of the reservation and surrounding areas near the pipeline. What is important to note about the specific location of the pipeline, in reference to a human rights violation, is that it was relocated from its original placement just north of Bismarck because the US Army Corps of Engineers found that the construction would contaminate their water supply. The importance of this relocation is that the pipeline construction was moved from one town, a mostly all-white town, to further south near an Indian reservation, where the same environmental concerns are present. This distinguishes this executive action as highly unethical as they come by reaffirming the tendency for our federal government to demonstrate a pattern of neglect when it comes to Native American tribes.

Why is DAPL moving forward?

Through researching the benefits and consequences of the DAPL construction I have found no interest other than corporate that points to why it is essential to construct the pipeline in this location. Although alternative routes may raise cost above the current estimate of $3.8 billion, relocating is essential in order to preserve national security for all citizens of this country. Our nation has a long-standing history of ignorance towards the Native American culture and this executive action proves the lasting existence of this. The recent action should concern and alarm our nation because Trump’s neglect of certain communities’ emotions and experiences forecasts a dark shadow for future referendums. When addressing the action to grant construction for the Dakota Access Pipeline Trump remarked saying “I don’t think it was controversial” and “I think everyone is going to be happy again”. Through these statements he has demonstrated an ignorance toward all those who protested and stood in solidarity with the tribes affected by this action. He neglects those who peacefully protested with hope that they’re community will stay safe. President Trump not only neglected the emotions of these people but also the safety of them, demonstrating his goals to be driven by economic concern rather than human concern. That is why this order should alarm our nation, because by looking over those oppressed by his actions he shows his true intentions.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Although construction has now begun for the project, it should be encouraged that the US Army Corps of Engineers continues to search for alternative routes that cause less environmental harm. Our executive branch should push for this continuous search for alternative routes which will show the importance of maintaining long-standing treaties created with Native American tribes. As a group that has been severely oppressed and neglected, the effort put forth by our government would show the importance of mutual respect and mutual obligation to each other. As for the obligations of our citizens, it is more important than ever to stand in solidarity with those of the Standing Rock Reservation and other Native American tribes affected by this legislation. Through advocating via protest, it can be shown that our nation will not stand idly by while our government takes advantage of its people. Efforts can also be made by calling legislators and expressing concern for the current notion and encourage them to speak out against these efforts.


Just Say No to House Bill HR 7

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, just one day after President Trump’s inauguration approximately 470,000 gathered for the Women’s March in Washington D.C. Men, women, and children alike came together to peacefully protest for women’s rights. Amongst the issues being promoted was the right to healthcare for women, including the issue of abortion rights.

Fast-forward three days and a major step backwards for reproductive rights has occurred as the House of Representatives passed through House Bill HR 7, entitled, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.

The passage of this bill would prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortions or health coverage that includes abortions. This bill also states that the District of Columbia would be prohibited from using local tax revenue to offer abortion services. Additionally, the bill outlaws the performance of abortions at federal health facilities or by federal employees. Furthermore, it would make the Hyde Amendment a permanent law. The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funds from being used for abortions. One important implication of the Hyde Amendment is that Medicare dollars cannot go towards abortion services.

House Bill HR 7 is incredibly destructive to our nation and, if it passes, will affect many. This bill restricts the rights of women that we have fought so hard to get. This bill also promotes health disparities, as it will have a disproportionate affect on women of color and women living in poverty. If House Bill HR 7 is signed into action it will be a major step backward for women, for reproductive rights, and for those in minority communities. We as a country need to be taking step forward; we need to be progressive, especially in the realm of social equality. In lieu of our conservative leadership we must stand firm in our agenda to promote change and equality. We must fight for basic human rights, such as the right to funding of abortion services.

I stand on the side of pro-choice, with women who exercise their reproductive right to not bear a child. I stand on the side of the 14th amendment, with the Supreme Court who ruled on Roe vs. Wade. I stand on the side of women’s rights, with those who marched on January 21st. I stand on the side of minorities, with those who live in poverty and with women of color that will be affected by this bill to the greatest extent. I stand with the law, because we as women have the right to our bodies, our reproductive system, and our health. Where do you stand?

As this bill moves to the Senate I implore you to read more on House Bill HR 7 and stand with me. I ask that you participate in the legislative process to the extent of your ability. I urge you to write to your representatives, attend peaceful protest, and stand up for women’s rights.  I promote that you have open discussion with friends, family, coworkers, classmates, etc. about this issue. But most of all I thank you for reading this post, for taking the first step in understanding this issue further.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)


The Child and Adult Care Food Program aims to help adults and children by providing nutritious food to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes. CACFP provides “the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons” (United State Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service). CACFP also plays an important role to improving the access of healthy food in many institutions such as At-risk Afterschool Care Centers, Adult Day Care Centers, Child Care Centers, Day Care Homes, and Emergency Shelters. However, CACFP does not give out reimbursement for able-bodied adults in the emergency shelters. In my opinion, able-bodied adults in the emergency shelters should also have the right to receive nutritious food.

Importance of Food Quality

Before I further discuss this policy, I would like to briefly talk about the importance of food quality. Some people might wonder why can’t we just buy more cheap unhealthy food and feed more people. However, what they failed to realize is that healthy food is critical for our bodies to function properly. Moreover, when a person is not getting enough food or getting unhealthy food will cause malnutrition, which results in more serious problem such as slowing down mental development and growing diseases due to not getting enough micronutrients to meet daily nutritional requirements. As a result, it is important for the government to provide healthy food to the community institutions in order to ensures the quality of food.

How Does CACFP Work?

            The way CACFP work is that the government will provide reimbursement for healthful meals and snacks served to children and adults. However, in order for community institutions to receive reimbursement, the meals they provide should meet the following requirement: breakfast should contain a serving of milk, fruit or vegetable and bread or grain product; lunch and dinner have to provide milk, bread or grain product, meat or meat alternate, and two different servings of fruits and/or vegetables. On the other hand, snacks need to “include servings from two or the four components: milk, fruits or vegetables, bread or grain product, or meat or meat alternate” (United State Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service).

Issue about the CACFP

As I mentioned earlier, CACFP does not give out reimbursement for able-bodied adults in the emergency shelters. CACFP only includes children, including teenagers 18 and younger, and persons with disabilities. However, people who become homeless are mainly due to external factors. As a result, we, as a society, should help them to get on their feet. In order to get back to work field, the first basic need is to give them healthy and nutritious food because without healthy bodies, people can’t work efficiently and productively. According to Brooks, Business News Daily Senior Writer, “Workers who ate healthful meals and exercised on a regular basis had better job performance and lower absenteeism, research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways shows: employees who eat healthy all day long were 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance, the study found, while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week were 20 percent more likely to be more productive” As a result, if the homeless people can work productively, the chance of stay employed would raise and thus they can help themselves out of poverty. This can also benefit the society as a whole.


The CACFP should include able-bodied adults in the emergency shelters because malnutrition happens to anyone at any ages, and able-bodied adults should not be excluded from eating healthily. Moreover, if the government can provide nutritious food for them, able-bodied adults can also work efficiently and productively. Thus, they can leave the poverty cycle and contribute to our economic growth.

What’s Next?

Everyone has a voice to make our society better. Whether you stand on the economic perspective or on the humane perspective, providing nutritious food to able-bodied adults in the emergency shelters is very important. As a result, please contact the agencies of CACFP in your state based on the following link to advocate for including able-bodied adults in the emergency shelters into CACFP.

Justice for Sanctuary Jurisdictions

Within his first full week of office, President Trump can say he accomplished much. In fact (not alternative), The White House website exclaims about how on Wednesday, “President Trump followed through on his pledge to protect America’s borders and end the lack of compliance with immigration laws.” This included an executive order that ceased federal funding for sanctuary jurisdictions or sanctuary cities.

Executive Summary

Sanctuary jurisdictions include territories from cities to states that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, by curbing cooperation of local law enforcement with federal authorities. This can be practiced by not sharing individuals’ immigration status or local jails not honoring “detainer” requests, which is when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) asks a jail to hold someone they suspect is unauthorized a couple days more, so that they may pick them up. Cutting funding is not only an unconstitutional attack on immigrants who are still trying to build a life, but an unconstitutional attack on local/state rights.


The issue of sanctuary cities bears importance as the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, mentioned in a speech of comfort to his city two days after Trump’s election, “We are not going to sacrifice a half-million people who live amongst us, who are part of our communities, whose family members and loved ones happen to be people in many cases who are either permanent residents or citizens—we’re not going to tear families apart.” This funding cut, along with the threats of deportation in general, could affect many major metropolitan areas in the U.S, including their departments other than law enforcement, like social services. It brings up questions of trust in our communities, along with questions of what is the actual law and can it be interpreted differently.

Approaches and Results

Trump says that sanctuary cities violate a 1996 law of 8 U.S. Code § 1373 that says local/state/Federal officials may not prohibit government officials from sending to or receiving from the the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of any individual. However, Barry Friedman, a constitutional law scholar at NYU reminds us of the Tenth Amendment, which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” So states do not have to share that information. States or cities can also ask their police not to ask immigration status questions in the first place, so there is no information to share. Reasons for not asking include lessening fear of deportation for immigrants so that they still seek healthcare and enroll in school. The issue shot back into an ugly light though in July of 2016, when a young woman in San Francisco was shot by a undocumented man who had seven felony convictions and had been deported from the U.S five times.


The aforementioned case is one of some being used to paint a large demographic garishly and stands in contrast to the many in the jail system for lower level crimes, ignoring the context of over-representation of people of color in the criminal justice system compared to representation in the U.S. population, along with the greater need for cities to provide social services that could be preventative. It would make more sense for the administration to address specifically the issue of law enforcement, than risk disaster cutting all funding and sweeping threats.

Implications and Recommendations

There is a responsibility in us as Americans to listen the inscription on the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island and give rest to our “tired” and our “poor”,  our “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Find out what different sanctuary cities are at cis.org/Sanctuary-Cities-Map. Donate to agencies supporting those governments’ funds in these uncertain times and call local legislators and congressmen to let them know you support the local support of our communities, along with asking how you can support the cause further.


The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (IN)

Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, SB 101, into law in 2015. This bill’s main goal was to allow individuals and companies the right to their religious beliefs as a defense in the event of a lawsuit, according to Terkel (2015). At first glance, this bill did not sound too out of the ordinary. Once ruminated, it reveals that this can allow business owners to refuse service to anyone citing their religious beliefs, including LGBTQ individuals.

Executive Summary

The bill stirred up a lot of controversy once the notion that Indiana residents could legally be discriminated against for their sexuality. Nationally, this bill caused a firestorm.


This topic has multiple components of importance. On one hand, it offers protection for exercising religious freedom. On the other hand, it allows for discrimination, which is detrimental to individuals, neighborhoods, and communities. As this country was founded upon religious freedom among other pursuits, human rights are also a core American value in today’s society.

Approaches and Results

As a result of the controversy, it seemed the country split into sides. Regarding the discrimination of LGBTQ community members, several events were canceled due to the participants unwillingness to participate an era that is discriminatory, as well as a show of support to LGBTQ individuals and communities. According to Amanda Terkel (2015), concert, conferences, and an entire plan for a business’s headquarters expansion into the state were all canceled for the same reasons. Those that believe the passing of this bill was for the greater good have argued that 20 states have already adopted similar laws, according to Ed Payne (2015). However, the point that this law was signed at the arguable height of gay rights arguments sweeping the country, as gay marriage was legalized nationally two months later.


There are other laws in place regarding freedom of religion, the most popular being The Constitution. If everyone in this country is equal, there is no viable reason why there should be any type of legislation allowing discrimination. Freedom of religion is already in place and what we need to be focusing on tackling is discrimination.

Implications and Recommendations

Soon after the signing of this bill, a revised version was signed that barred the newly passed law to become a crutch for homophobia. The LGBTQ communities and their allies want the law completely repealed, as the discrimination is still rampant, often times not enforced, and the bill itself is demeaning to others. To assist our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in pursuit to have this law repealed, please encourage Indiana constituents to contact their Senators. Indiana’s Senator’s include Joe Donnelley (202-224-4814) and Dan Coats (202-224-5623), as well as making your voice heard by contacting our local senators and representatives and asking what else we can do to protest this law in another state.

The Need for a Basic Income in the United States

By Lisa Clemons


…you were provided funds enough to cover your most basic needs, like shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities – say, $1,000 or $1,500 per month. You’d only need to be a citizen to qualify, so any income earned from working would only be an addition and not a cause for reducing or ending that monthly income. What I’ve just described is called a Basic Income and we need to make it a reality as we move toward the future.

Why we need a Basic Income

Under our current system, most people are working just to earn wages to meet their basic needs. Some of us may be in a position where we have the luxury of exploring our passions and tapping into our potential, where we can feel engaged and challenged at work – but not very many of us. We already recognize the financial inequalities, and we address them through various government programs and many of us (including myself) have been fighting for an increase in the minimum wage. But these solutions neither address the fact that most of us are stuck working only to survive nor the very real disappearance of available jobs with which to earn that mere survival.


The internet, smart phones – technologies that were a matter of fiction 20-30 years ago are now a reality and have become an integral part of our lives. These advancements often save us time and make our lives easier. But they come at a cost: Jobs. This is not a new story. History is littered with examples of machines cutting down the numbers of workers needed.  Automation has already claimed a chunk of the job market, which makes it that much harder for people to find work at all, let alone enough to support themselves. I see it when I walk into the grocery store and see one employee manning a central computer that controls multiple self-checkout stations, all of which used to need a cashier not even a decade ago. We already know from history that trying to fight the technology is a losing battle. We cannot stop these advancements. We can only adapt to them.

But how are we supposed to fund it?

HR 1027, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act introduced just last year, is a “cap and dividend” bill that both addresses climate concerns (another pressing issue impacting our future) and generates revenue that could partially fund a Basic Income by “[capping] fossil fuels, [requiring] energy companies to purchase pollution permits at auction and [returning] all the auction revenue in equal amounts to every U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number.” Basic Income Action, a non-profit organization working to make the Basic Income a reality, has a few ideas on where funding could come from following revenue from HR 1027:

  • Because food, shelter, and other needs would be taken care of by Basic Income, we could cut welfare, food stamps, housing assistance, and such.
  • Eliminate corporate welfare and crony capitalism, the hundreds of billions of dollars government gives big corporations.
  • Reform the tax code, making it fairer and simpler by abolishing tax breaks, loopholes, and deductions, most of which go to the rich and super rich.
  • Other options include a financial transactions tax on Wall Street speculation, reducing the defense budget, land rent fees, increasing the money supply, streamlining government operations, and the list goes on.

What you can do:


Marijuana Legalization

Executive Summary

For almost twenty years, the United States has seen major changes in state laws regarding use of marijuana. However, federal regulations continue to classify marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance arguing marijuana has a “high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” I believe it is time the federal government not only recognize the medical benefits of marijuana but decriminalize all marijuana use.


Legalization of marijuana for medicinal use began in California in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. Since that time 24 other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation or ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. In 2012, 4 states and the District of Columbia have passed ballot measures or legislation legalizing marijuana for personal recreational use and 20 states and the District of Columbia have now decriminalized marijuana. Despite these changes marijuana continues to be illegal on the federal level; preventing many from benefiting from treatment with cannaboids and causing significant challenges to businesses in states where sale is legal. However, despite the ongoing federal illegality of marijuana, enforcement of these laws is not consistent and some Federal Courts have gone as far as ruling that the Department of Justice cannot prosecute marijuana offenses when no state law has been broken. It is time the federal government legalize marijuana use and research to remove these conflicts between state and federal law.

Approaches and results

Despite significant increase in public support for marijuana legalization, Pew Research Center reports 57% of US Adult support legalization as of September 2016 and Gallop polling indicates 60% of US adults support legalization as of October 2016, the federal government continues to classify marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance and has refused appeals to reclassify marijuana. The federal government’s refusal to change its stance on marijuana not only is contrary to public opinion but prohibits scientists from adequately testing the effects of marijuana on health conditions that could establish more significant medical use. The medical community has come to accept and advocate for responsible use of compounds found in marijuana for treatment of some conditions. Under current federal regulations marijuana is treated the same as heroin, despite many studies showing it is less addictive and has less impact on public health than tobacco or alcohol, which are both legal and minimally regulated in the US.

Advocates also argue that arrests and prosecution of marijuana laws on both the state and federal level are racially biased; one comprehensive study by the ACLU between 2000-2010 found African-American’s were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites despite usage rates being similar between the two races. This study also found enforcing marijuana laws cost approximately $3.6 billion dollars annually without having any impact on the availability of marijuana. Another study by the ACLU found more people are arrested in the US for marijuana than for violent crimes.

Finally, one need only examine the tax revenues from states that have legalized marijuana to understand the potential fiscal benefits of widespread legalization. Colorado saw a revenue of $99.5 million for taxes and licensing fees of recreational marijuana from January 2014 through May 2015. Washington saw a revenue of $76.9 million from July 2015-June 2016. The Tax Foundation, a not-for profit tax research group, estimates total state and federal tax revenues between 5 and 18 billion dollars if recreational marijuana was legalized. Their research also indicates if tax rates were set in a measured fashion the black and grey markets would dry up significantly.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In the 1920’s, prohibitionists realized banning alcohol consumption was not impacting society as they had believed it would. It is time the federal government realize the same is true now for marijuana. It is time the will of the majority be heard and marijuana be legalized in the US. Not only will it provide a new source of revenue but it will be a major step toward making the justice less racially biased. You can reach out to your local legislators on the state and federal level by phone or email and indicate your support for complete legalization of marijuana. You can also follow the Marijuana Policy Project at https://www.mpp.org/states/key-marijuana-policy-reform/ to see what legislation exists in your area.

Physical Education Requirements in Schools

Executive Summary

Physical education in schools provides students with significant physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Federal laws do not prescribe minimum standards for physical education in schools, leaving states to create their own policies.


Children and adolescents who participate in regular physical activity reap an enormous amount of benefits including lifelong wellness skills, positive impacts on their mental, physical and emotional health, increased ability to focus and learn, and demonstrate better classroom behavior. Additionally, exercise helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, and may also help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and promote psychological well-being. Physical education (PE) programs teach children and adolescents lifelong skills to keep them healthy and positively impact their physical, mental and emotional health.

Nearly all 50 states have set standards for PE programs and most require students to participate in classes. Of these states, 35 have participatory requirements for elementary schools, 43 have requirements for middle schools/junior highs, and 48 have participatory requirements for high schools. As students spend half their waking hours in school, it is an essential opportunity for daily programming for activity and movement to all students, regardless where they live.

Statistics and Challenges

Diverse legislative action within states result in a wide variety of policies and implementation approaches. For example, of the 50 states only Oregon and the District of Columbia meet the national recommendation for weekly time in physical education (150-225 minutes) in PE at both elementary and middle school levels). Federal laws do not prescribe minimum standards for PE in schools and rely on grant programs to create incentives to promote physical activity in the school setting as well as walking and biking between school and home.

Additionally, few states set any minimum amount of time that elementary (19 states), middle school/junior high (15 states), and high school (6 states) students participate in physical education. Most states allow substitutions (31 states) for physical education credits, and more than half of state policies (30 states) allow exemptions from PE class time or credits which undermines state requirements.

About 32% of children and adolescents between the ages of 2-19 are overweight or obese and do not meet physical activity recommendations and are not offered sufficient PE programming. The median PE budget for schools is only $764 per school, per school year – a budget which is much too low of an investment for a program that is so beneficial for students’ wellness and factor in academic success.


Schools must commit to making evidence-based physical education a cornerstone of their overall physical activity program. As a community member, you can attend school board meetings or contact local policymakers to voice support for PE programming, an increase in its funding, and call attention to this overall issue. There is an enormous disparity in the state requirements and implementation which affects students’ ability to engage and benefit from these programs and it is important to advocate for local, state, and federal legislation that will meet the national recommendations for weekly physical activity in schools.