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New CPS Physical Education Policy
The new Chicago Public Schools (CPS) five year strategic plan, entitled The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children, recognizes the need to prioritize physical education as a core subject. Recent studies illustrate that high-quality physical education can have a profound impact on both student health and academic achievement. Benefits include:
- Improved Brain Function: Physically active students score higher in reading comprehension with just 20 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Improved Test Scores: Active students score higher on standardized tests.
- Improved Behavior: Suspensions and disciplinary action decrease by 50-60% when PE is offered five days a week.
- Improved Health: Regular physical activity leads to lower incidence of disease and improved mental health.
In addition to these benefits, the Illinois School Code requires that students receive daily physical education in both elementary and high school. At the high school level, CPS has maintained a state waiver for 11th and 12th grade students since 1997. As a result, the majority of our high school students only receive physical education in grades 9 and 10. This waiver will expire in June 2014 and will not be renewed.
Specifically, the policy requires that elementary and middle schools provide students in grades K-8 with 30 minutes of daily physical education or the equivalent of 150 minutes per week. Additionally, high schools must schedule all students in grades 9-12 in a daily physical education or health course in the same time increments as other core courses. Health education can satisfy the physical education requirement in grades 11-12. Health education can be counted for up to 60 minutes of the weekly requirement in grades 5-8.