- Infographic Growing a Healthier CA with Physical Education for All!
- Physical Education MAP, Checklist, and JUMMP LA County Department of Public Health
- Quality Education, Physical Education, and Schools of Hope
- The Institute of Medicine and The City Project on Physical Education, Health, and Equal Justice
- Physical Education for All California Students
- Physical Education and Student Activity: Evaluating Implementation of a New Policy in Los Angeles Public Schools – Annals of Behavioral Medicine
- Social Science, Equal Justice, and Public Health Policy: Lessons from Los Angeles – Journal of Public Health Policy
- “Tipping Point to a Physical Education Revolution”
- Williams Complaint Seeks to Remedy Physical Education Deficiencies in Public Schools
- UTLA Physical Education Campaign “For the Health of It!”
- LAUSD Student Obesity 26% and Climbing Faster than in Other School Districts
- Open the Miguel Contreras Pool! Joint Use of Schools, Pools, and Parks — June 2008
- Move More, Eat Well, Stay Healthy in Schools and Parks
- New and Modernized Schools
- Oppose Pay to Play at Public Schools
- Schools, Health, and Community Blog
National Academies Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity and Physical Education
The report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity (2017) by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine includes a section on “Physical Education in Public Schools.” The report highlights the need to alleviate physical education disparities in public schools, the physical education tool kit and MAP (Model Action Plan) published by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with The City Project and diverse allies, compliance with case law and legislation on physical education, and shared use of schools, pools, and parks (Chapter 8.)
The National Academies report is available at www.nationalacademies.org/promotehealthequity.
The California Endowment covers the report on its blog here.
UC Berkeley Study and The City Project
According to UC Berkeley Prof. Hannah Thompson, “I think The City Project is a great place to start for advocates and parents across the nation seeking to ensure compliance with physical education requirements. They’ve been working on physical education for ten or fifteen years. They’ve worked with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles Unified School District. Los Angeles is the largest school district in the state, and the second largest in the nation. They’ve done a tremendous amount of work. They’ve developed some tool kits for helping schools track and report physical education minutes to ensure they’re in compliance with the law. They have some great tools. Robert García would be a great person to reach out to translate the work to other states. The City Project is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles. Advocacy can be much more successful if attorneys and advocates work with grass roots leaders and partners, like The City Project does, to provide physical education resources to schools, rather than litigation alone.”
Watch the RWJF Webinar with Prof. Thompson.
Physical education enforcement works! UC Berkeley Study
According to a UC Berkeley study, access to justice through the courts works to ensure physical education compliance. The City Project serves as a consultant on the study. Robert García is a co-author with Profs. Thompson and Kristine Madsen on a draft article that is currently under submission to a peer reviewed journal. The study is about a private lawsuit, not about The City Project’s work.
Over 80% of students, particularly students of color and those from low-income families, do not receive the legally mandated physical education minutes in California. The majority of elementary schools do not comply with state law mandating students receive an average of 20 minutes of physical education daily. Time spent in physical education helps (and does not hurt) students academically.
The physical education lawsuit positively impacted physical education in elementary schools.
“…because kids are getting more involved in movement and physical activity, I think [the lawsuit] ended up being a good thing.” Coordinator for Elementary Instruction
“I think [the lawsuit is] kind of the kick in the rear that they needed to realize, ‘Hey, P.E. is more important than we thought. Okay, we need to get on the ball… and start treating P.E. more like our math classes.’ So, hopefully now they see it more as an eye-opener requirement.” Physical education teacher
Districts and schools want more physical education teachers.
Tracking and reporting physical education minutes increases accountability.
“I think that the lawsuit … really brought to the forefront [that] this is something that we are accountable to in the same way we talk about accountability to English, Language Arts or Math.” – Director of Teaching and Learning
The fear of being sued increased physical education minutes and deters non-compliance.
Schools sued were afraid of still being non-compliant. In a shocking admission of intimidation with impunity, one official explicitly told researchers, “I’m not letting you speak to anybody else” - Assistant Superintendent
Action steps to promote elementary physical education compliance
- Provide financial support for physical education, specifically for physical education teachers, evidence-based curricula, and professional development for classroom teachers.
- Mandate physical education tracking, reporting, and budgeting in districts’ annual Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs).
- Provide support for districts and schools to track and report physical education minutes, including training and technologies like smart phone apps.
- The California Department of Education should increase accountability for the physical education law by investing in more meaningful physical education audits.
- Increase awareness about physical education’s importance for health and academic outcomes among administrators, teachers, and parents. Physical education on par with traditional academic subjects would improve student outcomes.
See the synopsis by Hannah R. Thompson & Kristine A. Madsen. The 2013 California physical education lawsuit’s impact on physical education in elementary schools: Summary of research study results. April 2017. UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Litigation can be effective to hold schools accountable for physical education. This may be the most effective way to get schools to actually do what they need to do to comply with physical education requirements, according to Prof. Madsen.
Watch the RWJF Webinar with Profs. Thompson and Madsen on the implications of the study and The City Project’s work for physical education nationwide.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, working with education and civil rights advocates, provides materials to support physical education in all California public schools. The materials listed below provide a four-step process for school districts and community leaders to ensure compliance with physical education and civil rights requirements and best practices. Below step four is a shorter guide for schools, a short guide for parents in English, and el Guía para Padres en Español.
Step One: Physical Education Checklist
The Physical Education Checklist is designed for teachers, administrators, and community leaders to evaluate their school district’s physical education policies and programs. The checklist summarizes education and civil rights requirements, best practices, and other recommendations for physical education. This checklist can help schools develop an action plan to highlight strengths and address gaps in their physical education programs. The writing committee includes experts from the Los Angeles Unified School District, The City Project, L.A. County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the California Center for Excellence in Physical Education.
Step Two: The Physical Education MAP (Model Action Plan)
The Physical Education MAP summarizes specific steps that need to be taken to achieve compliance. This includes the timeframe, action required, roles and responsibilities, implementation status, and current progress towards each action item.
Step Three: Physical Education Policy
The draft Physical Education Policy can be adapted to establish the school district’s long-term course of action.
Step Four: School Board Physical Education Resolution
The School Board can adapt the draft Physical Education Resolution to demonstrate that the district takes the right to physical education seriously, and that a compliance plan is in place.
Download the policy brief Physical Education for All California Public School Students (The City Project 2015).
Click here to download a short Parent’s Guide in English / Siga este enláce por el Guía para Padres en Español
Additional tools and resources are available at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website.
The Los Angeles County Joint/Shared Use Moving People to Play Task Force (JUMPP) is a collaborative of school, park, health, faith, for-profit, and community based organizations working together to foster access to safe physical activity spaces for all families in Los Angeles County. Our vision is for all youth and families to have access to safe recreation space and opportunities that encourage active recreation. The City Project is a proud member of JUMMP.
The City Project works on quality education including physical education, and schools of hope as centers of their communities.
We are working on compliance with physical education and civil rights laws with public officials statewide. Dr. Robert Ross, President of The California Endowment, has called this work “a best practice example for districts across the state to provide a quality education for the children of California.” Half the school districts audited by the state in 2005-2009 were not in compliance with physical education requirements.
We are implementing the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations to provide physical education minutes, monitor compliance, alleviate disparities, improve teacher education, make physical education a core subject, and improve physical activity in the whole school environment.
We work to make schools centers of their communities. LAUSD has raised $27 billion to build and modernize public schools. The City Project’s Robert García served as Chair of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee from 2000 to 2005, overseeing planning and implementation, and signing ballot measures to raise local, state, and federal funds. The district has built 130 new schools and modernized hundreds more since 1998. Hundreds of acres of land were cleaned up. The future became brighter for generations of students.
We seek triple bottom line infrastructure solutions that promote equity, economics, and the environment. Each $50 million of the school bonds has created 935 annual jobs, $43 million in wages, and $130 million in local business revenue. Best practices create meaningful work through apprenticeships and contracts for small, women, minority, and veteran- owned enterprises. Joint use of schools, pools, and parks makes optimal use of scarce land and resources.
Siga este enlace para Español.
The Institute of Medicine has published a major report on requiring physical education and physical activity in school, Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School (2013). The IOM recommendations parallel the results that The City Project has achieved for quality education including physical education in virtually all major respects. The following chart compares the IOM recommendations to The City Project’s results.
|Institute of Medicine
Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School (2013)
|The City Project
Results, Recommendations, and Publications
|1(a). Approach physical activity and physical education based on the whole school environment.||The City Project is working with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the teachers’ union UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles), expert Chad Fenwick, and community allies to enforce physical education requirements in public schools, including the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the nation. Dr. Robert Ross, President of The California Endowment, has called this “a best practice example for districts across the state to provide a quality education for the children of California.”
The City Project helped raise $27 billion to build and modernize public schools as centers of their communities. Robert García as chair of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee for LAUSD signed official ballot arguments to raise local, federal, and state funds. The district has built 130 new schools and modernized hundreds more as centers of their communities. Each $50 million created 935 annual jobs, $43 million in wages and $130 million in local business revenue. Hundreds of acres of land were cleaned up. More importantly, the future became brighter for generations of children in Los Angeles.
The City Project has helped pass $10 billion in state park bond measures, and create or preserve over 1,000 acres of green space to serve park poor, income poor, communities of color, plus joint use of schools, pools, and parks, and access to public beaches.
|1(b). Physical education time
Elementary school students should spend an average of 30 minutes per day and middle and high school students an average of 45 minutes per day in physical education class.
At least half of physical education class-time should be spent engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
|The City Project is working with allies to enforce the law requiring 20 minutes average per day of physical education in elementary schools and 40 minutes in middle and high schools. We support national standards to increase physical education time.
The California Court of Appeal has ruled that parents and students have the right to seek access to justice through the courts when districts fail to provide physical education. Doe v. Albany School District, 190 Cal.App.4th 668 (2010).
MVPA should be increased to at least 50% of physical education class time through teacher training, or revising district policy, Model Content Standards, or state law.
|2. Physical activity should be considered in all school policy decisions to improve academic performance, health, and development for all children.||Public officials including the federal government, governor, state superintendent of education, state attorney general, school boards, and district superintendents need to send a clear message that physical education is good policy and required by law, and that physical education can be provided within existing budgets. The message sent to parents, children and the public if the law is not enforced is that children and their health don’t matter.|
|3. The federal government should make physical education a core subject.||Federal education law should include quality physical education.|
|4. Physical education and activity should be monitored in school.||Effective monitoring is necessary to ensure that districts comply with physical education requirements. Schools should publish online class schedules to facilitate monitoring. Parents, students, and teachers are in the best position to monitor physical education in the long term, and should be educated, engaged, and empowered to do so. In response to public record requests by The City Project, the California Department of Education now publishes physical education audit records online, promoting transparency and accountability.|
|5. Teachers should receive training and ongoing professional development in physical education, including K-12 classroom and physical education teachers.||Each district should provide teachers with training and professional development on activity-based physical education. School districts should employ an expert physical education advisor, like Chad Fenwick in LAUSD.|
|6. Education officials should address disparities in physical activity and ensure that all students have equal access to physical education.
The IOM report cites social science evidence of disparities based on race, color, national origin, gender, and socioeconomic status. The report does not consider any legal bases for alleviating these disparities.
|Federal, state, and local school authorities must alleviate disparities in physical education and health through compliance with equal protection laws and principles.
Schools must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California Government Code Section 11135, based on race, color, or national origin; and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, based on gender. The LAUSD physical education policy explicitly commits the district to comply with these laws.
Elementary school students in districts that did not comply with the minutes requirements were more likely to be Hispanic or black. Schools in compliant districts included fewer low-income students.
|Non-governmental organizations should develop and distribute advocacy materials on physical education for key stakeholders.||The City Project develops and distributes advocacy materials on physical education for stakeholders.
We rely on proven strategies for success: (1) coalition building and community organizing to bring people together based on diverse values; (2) translating research into policy, law, and real change in people’s lives; (3) strategic media campaigns; (4) policy and legal advocacy outside the courts; and (5) access to justice through the courts when necessary within a broader campaign.
The City Project has worked with the Institute of Medicine on Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight (2013), goo.gl/xfWP2, and on Physical Activity as a Civil Rights Issue, published in Institute of Medicine, Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention (2011), goo.gl/4DakL.
Click here for the Institute of Medicine report Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School (2013).
City Project Publications on Physical Education, Health, and Equal Protection
The City Project’s key recommendations are summarized above and in the two-page policy brief Physical Education for All California Students (2013), goo.gl/hwX1q.
Mariah Lafleur, Seth Strongin, Brian L. Cole, Sally Lawrence Bullock, Rajni Banthia, Lisa Craypo, Ramya Sivasubramanian, Sarah Samuels, and Robert Garcia, Physical Education and Student Activity: Evaluating Implementation of a New Policy in Los Angeles Public Schools, 45(1) Annals of Behavioral Medicine 122-30 (2012), goo.gl/rbeID.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research: Do Policies to Improve Physical Education Work? (2013), goo.gl/YAOs6.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Physical Education Is a Right, Not a Privilege, Winning Strategies in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity: Profiles of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grantees (2011), goo.gl/Q3CJA.
Robert Garcia and Chad Fenwick, Social Science, Equal Justice, and Public Health Policy: Lesson from Los Angeles, Journal of Public Health Policy (2009) 30, S26 S32, goo.gl/MlsWz.
Sarah Samuels, Robert Garcia, Seth Strongin, Mariah Lafleur, Brian L. Cole, Kristina Harootun, Sally Lawrence Bullock, Physical Education is a Right: The Los Angeles Unified Schools District Case Study, Policy Report (2011), goo.gl/lzYRe.
The City Project, La Educación Física Es un Derecho: Estudio de Caso del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles, (2012), goo.gl/mwPw0.
Robert Garcia, Physical Activity as a Civil Right, in Institute of Medicine, Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention at 46-49 (Lynn Parker et al., eds. 2011), goo.gl/4DakL.
Robert García, Failure to comply with physical education laws harms fitness, hurts low income, of color students most, The City Project blog, goo.gl/pUHfL.
Robert García, From the Mouths of Babes: School Districts Misuse Food Funds, Fail to Provide Physical Education, KCET Departures (2013), goo.gl/IDXVl.
Physical Education and Green Justice, KCET Departures (2012), goo.gl/55OCg.
Robert García, Yes on 30, Yes on 38, For the Sake of the Children and Their Education, KCET Departures (2012), goo.gl/uq7pO.
Robert García, Prop 30 people vote to tax themselves for children’s education. The struggle never ends., The City Project blog, goo.gl/x4LP1.
The physical education policy adopted by LAUSD under education and civil rights laws is at goo.gl/ZOgHo.
The resolution Physical Education Is a Priority adopted by the LAUSD school board is at goo.gl/SLAkZ.
The physical education administrative complaint filed by The City Project with diverse allies is at goo.gl/NQ20g.
City Project Publications on Healthy Parks, School, and Communities
There is overwhelming public support for physical education in public schools. California voters are in “nearly unanimous agreement” (97%) that it is important for schools to encourage more physical activity during the school day, according to a 2012 Field poll. Indeed, state law requires that elementary students receive an average of 200 minutes and secondary students 400 minutes of physical education every ten school days. The California Courts of Appeal held in 2010 that physical education is a right in elementary schools, and that parents and students have the right to sue the school district for failure to comply with the minutes requirement.
Nevertheless, half the school districts audited by the California Department of Education between 2005 and 2009 did not comply with physical education requirements. In addition, a recent study revealed that elementary school students in districts that did not comply with minutes requirements were more likely to be Hispanic or black and less likely to be white or Asian, while schools in compliant districts included fewer low-income students.
Providing quality physical education can be done within existing budgets. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voluntarily adopted a physical education policy in response to a community and legal organizing campaign. “The physical education plan adopted by the Los Angeles Unified School District is a best practice example for districts across the state to provide a quality education for the children of California,” according to Dr. Robert Ross, President of the California Endowment. “Research tells us physically active and fit kids get better grades and have better overall health.” LAUSD and other school districts demonstrate that physical education can be provided within existing budgets. Indeed, other school districts (including Pomona, Pasadena, El Monte, and Mountain View) are implementing physical education using LAUSD as a best practice.
All California students deserve a quality physical education. The health of our students is at stake, and we must make sure that physical education is a priority for all school districts. Click here for The City Project’s recommendations.
Norwood Elementary School PE class. Photo by Tim Wagner for Partnership for the Public’s Health
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND STUDENT ACTIVITY: EVALUATING IMPLEMENTATION OF A NEW POLICY IN LOS ANGELES PUBLIC SCHOOLS – ANNALS OF BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE
The City Project and Samuels & Associates wrote Physical Education and Student Activity: Evaluating Implementation of a New Policy in Los Angeles Public Schools published in 45(1) Annals of Behavioral Medicine 122-30 (2012), goo.gl/rbeID.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voluntarily adopted a physical education policy in response to a community legal organizing campaign. This article reports on key results from a study of whether the implementation of this policy is leading to improvements in the quantity and quality of physical education in LAUSD, as measured by changes in class size, class duration, and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
Results indicate that among low-income middle schools, there were 60 percent fewer classes that exceeded the class size cap of 45 students. Across all grade and socioeconomic levels, the average length of physical education classes increased. High-income elementary schools experienced statistically significant increases of almost 10 minutes per class. Low-income school had a statistically significant 33 percent decrease in MVPA. Opportunities exist to continue monitoring and improving physical education quantity and quality for all California students. Click here for The City Project’s recommendations for a quality physical education.
Click here to access full article.
Social Science, Equal Justice, and Public Health Policy: Lessons from Los Angeles – Journal of Public Health Policy
Robert Garcia, The City Project, Los Angeles, CA, USA, and Chad Fenwick, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, CA, USA, have published an article on Social Science, Equal Justice, and Public Health Policy: Lessons from Los Angeles, in the Journal of Public Health Policy (2009) 30, S26–S32.
The article is a case study on using research and law to change public health policy. The City Project working with teachers, parents, and school officials is engaged in a strategic campaign with four major elements. First, the teachers’ union – United Teachers of Los Angeles – organized a public campaign to support physical education. Second, The City Project attorneys filed an administrative complaint on behalf of parents, youth groups, and health advocates under civil rights and education laws to require the school district to enforce physical education requirements. Third, in response to the campaign and complaint, the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District unanimously adopted a resolution to enforce physical education laws. Fourth, the teachers, attorneys, and school officials are now working on an implementation plan to enforce the physical education laws and resolution, and resolve the complaint.
The article concludes:
“Failure to enforce physical education laws is a common practice by school districts in California and across the nation. Evidence-based research documents racial, ethnic and income disparities in physical education and health. Civil rights laws can be combined with that evidence to require school districts to enforce physical education requirements to improve the health and quality of life for students. The experience in Los Angeles illustrates how research and law are used to improve physical education through the process of campaign, complaint, resolution, and implementation plan now being carried out.
“This case study provides lessons for others. Social scientists and attorneys need to collaborate to connect the dots between physical education, human health, racial and ethnic disparities, and civil rights and education laws. Foundations should fund analyses of evidence by legal practitioners, including social science research and disparities in physical education and health based on race, ethnicity, and income. Abstract policy reports and tool kits are not enough. Foundations should fund not only policy and legal advocacy outside the courts, but also litigation in the courts. Access to justice through the courts can be a profoundly democratic means of engaging, educating, and empowering people of color and low-income people to achieve concrete improvements in their lives.
“Different alternatives may be available elsewhere, but a strategic campaign including coalition building, multidisciplinary research, media, policy and legal advocacy outside the courts, and litigation is likely to be a replicable model in other states or countries.”
The full article is available online from the Journal of Public Health Policy.
Norwood Elementary School PE class. Photo by Tim Wagner for Partnership for the Public’s Health
Peaceful Playgrounds reports:
For years physical educators across the country have advocated for daily physical education for their students. Legislators have joined the bandwagon and passed legislation mandating physical education for most K-12 grade students throughout CA and across the nation. However, much to the dismay of physical educators, concerned parents, public health advocates and pediatricians, the education codes mandating physical education has been largely ignored.
That however, appears to be changing in the nation’s second largest school district, LAUSD. The City Project (a legal and policy advocacy organization), working with teachers and school officials in the Los Angeles Unified School District, are using social science and legal research to promote changes in public policy that hopefully will result in better and more equitably delivered physical education in public schools in Los Angeles, California.
Persuading other school districts to enforce physical education requirements has previously proven to be unfruitful and uneventful. But this new strategy which has played out in Los Angeles over the past year represents a thoughtful and strategic effort by key stake holders in the community and in the district has packed a powerful punch. It has leveraged the undivided attention on the part of district officials in an attempt to avoid legal action.
In the world of education, a common battle cry is “What California does the nation follows.” It appears that in the arena of equal access to daily physical education, Los Angeles Unified School District showing the way.
Check out the complete article at Peaceful Playgrounds entitled: Case Study Could Shape Physical Education Landscape.
Diverse allies have filed a Williams complaint with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to remedy physical education deficiencies. Physical education teacher vacancies, misassignments, and lack of subject matter competency is a recurring problem in various schools from semester to semester and year to year. Teacher deficiencies are part of a pattern and practice by LAUSD of failing to provide quality physical education.
Physical education matters. LAUSD is failing fitness. Physically fit students tend to do better academically and stay in school longer. The lack of quality physical education teachers and programs contributes to the epidemic of childhood obesity, particularly for low income students and students of color. Obesity rocketed from 20% to 26% in LAUSD from 1999 to 2006. 90% of LAUSD children are children of color, and 74% are low income (qualify for free or reduced meals).
The diverse alliance seeks to work with LAUSD to help students move more, eat well, stay healthy, and do their best in school in life.
The Williams complaint is not a lawsuit. The process provides LAUSD the opportunity to work with the community and health experts to enforce the law and provide quality physical education rather than risk litigation and loss of state and federal funds.
Complainants include Anonymous, LAUSD parents Ike and Irene Kaludi, LAUSD physical education teacher Cathy Figel, Anahuak Youth Association, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, Prevention Institute, and The City Project.
LAUSD is required to remedy the deficiencies within 30 days and to report to the Complainants within 45 days.
37 school districts audited in California did not enforce state physical education minutes requirements in 2004-2006.
Click here to download the Complaint.
Helping Children Move More, Eat Well, Stay Healthy, and Do their Best in School and in Life
Robert García, Executive Director and Counsel at The City Project; UTLA PE Campaign Steering Committee; Chair of the LAUSD School Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee from 2000-2005. Adapted from United Teacher, the newspaper of United Teachers of Los Angeles.
UTLA has launched a physical education campaign to provide places and polices for children to move more, eat better, stay healthy, and do their best in school. Why? For the health of it. Physical education matters. We are failing our children in fitness. Physically fit students do better academically and do better in life.
The UTLA campaign has three main goals in the first year. First, a 55:1 cap: cap physical education class size with up to 55 students per teacher. The 55:1 cap will put physical education on an even footing with academic classes. Second, twenty a day: enforce state physical education laws requiring an average of 20 minutes of physical education every day for elementary school students. It’s the law. Third, a certificated PE instructor at every elementary school. It’s only fair to the students and teachers.
Move More. LAUSD has not enforced state physical education requirements for years. Evidence-based research proves how important moving more and eating well are for student health, youth development, and academic performance. Increased physical activity improves academic performance. Students who take part in sports and other after school activities tend to stay in school. Yet over 87% of LAUSD children were not physically fit under state Fitnessgram standards in 2004. The five largest LAUSD PE class sizes averaged 93 students in middle schools and 87.5 in high schools. Physical education classes should provide active minutes, not “sitting around waiting for the bell to ring cause there’s no balls or courts or coach watching” minutes.
At LAUSD’s South Gate High School, 1,600 children took the state Fitnessgram test and not one child passed. Forty schools did not have a single physically fit student. Less than 10% of students were physically fit in nearly one-third of the 605 schools in LAUSD. Only eight schools had student populations that are more than 50% physically fit.
LAUSD Children Failing Fitness
Percentage Physically Fit …………..Number of Schools in LAUSD
The levels of child obesity are intolerably high even for children in the best neighborhoods—ranging from 23% to 39% throughout the Los Angeles region. But there are also unfair disparities in the most disadvantaged communities. 91% of LAUSD children are children of color, and 74% are low income (qualify for free or reduced meals). Latino and black children disproportionately suffer from obesity and diabetes and other diseases related to inactivity. LAUSD provides 71% more play acres for non-Hispanic white students than for Latino students in elementary schools. Only 103 out of 605 LAUSD schools have five acres or more of playing fields, and those tend to be located in areas that are disproportionately wealthy and non-Hispanic white. There are only 30 joint use agreements between LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department as of April 2006.
Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick has published an audit calling for the shared use of schools and parks as part of a strategic plan to improve recreation in every neighborhood and alleviate unfair disparities.
The UTLA campaign can help achieve those goals by supporting a master agreement to keep schools and pools open after school and on weekends, and by opposing pay to play fees for children who cannot afford them.
Eat Well. Healthy eating is critically important to improve health and reduce obesity and diabetes. LAUSD leads the country on eating well with healthy food policies. The UTLA campaign can help effectively implement the policies.
Quality Physical Education. The UTLA campaign includes more over time. PE classes should have students from only one grade level, not mixed grades. Teachers should receive continuing professional development training. Girls’ and boys’ PE classes should provide an even playing field for students and teachers. Facilities and equipment should serve the physical education needs of the children and teachers.
Places and polices for students to move more, eat well, stay healthy, and do their best in school. Our children’s lives depend on it.
Contact the LAUSD Board members to urge them to enforce physical education laws to help students stay fit, stay in school, and do better academically and in life.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has documented that obesity among school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LASUD) has increased from 20.2% 1999 to to 26.1% in 2006, going from 1 in 5 children being obese to over 1 in 4. The percentage of overweight school children has generally been increasing at a faster rate at LAUSD than at other school districts in Los Angeles County in the long term, and will soon hit 30% — almost 1 in 3 children obese — if LAUSD stands by and does nothing.
LAUSD does not enforce state physical education laws in public schools.
Neighborhood children and downtown residents would like to go for a swim in the new Olympic size pool at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in Pico Union, one of the most park poor parts of Los Angeles, but the parks department and the L.A. Unified School District could not agree on who would hire lifeguards to open the pool for the summer. The struggle for publlic access to Miguel Contreras reflects the bigger need for the joint use of parks and schools to make optimal use of scarce land and public resources.
The following is a list of media coverage about opening the Miguel Contreras Olympic size swimming pool in one of the most park-starved communities of Los Angeles. More broadly, Miguel Contreras shows the need for the joint use of parks, schools, and pools to give children places to have fun and engage in physical activity, and to make optimal use of scarce land and public resources.
KTLA TV Jaime Chambers Open the Miguel Contreras Pool June 11, 2008
Contreras Pool to Remain Off Limits To Public This Summer
Ryan Vaillancourt Downtown News June 7, 2008
Miguel Contreras would not like this
Kevin Roderick LA Observed April 24, 2008
A Year of Firsts
Evan George, Downtown News, December 31, 2007
Pool ‘Solution’ Is Hardly Worth Cheering
Downtown News Editorial August 13, 2007
La Opinion: Inician transporte a piscinas/Swim Shuttles Begin
Jazman Ortega La Opinion 10 de agosto 2007
Persiste la lucha por piscina/The struggle for the pool goes on
Por Andrea Carrion Diario HOY 213.237.4572 firstname.lastname@example.org 8 de agosto, 2007
Mayor takes steps to cool off pool dispute
L.A. Times August 4, 2007 From Times Staff and Wire Reports
School pool or people’s plunge? Residents living near the downtown-area Miguel Contreras Learning Complex would like to take a dip in the campus’ gleaming waters.
By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2007
Se esfuma la posibilidad de abrir piscina al publico
Por Andrea Carrion Diario HOY 213.237.4572 email@example.com, 1 de agosto, 2007
Budget Problems Keep New Downtown Public Pool Unused
Community Group ACORN Protests Lack of Access to Pool
By Subha Ravindhran, ABC7, July 31, 2007
Failure To Open New Pool Makes Waves Among Residents
By KNBC.com and KNBC (NBC4 Los Angeles). July 31, 2007
The Mayor, the Kids, and the Absurd Politics of City Pools
Celeste Fremon, WitnessLA, July 31st, 2007
Funds for Pool, But no General Public Use
News Brief, Los Angeles Downtown News, July 23, 2007
Concejal busca fondos para abrir piscina al publico/Councilman Seeks Funds To Open Miguel Contreras Pool
Andrea Carrion Diario HOY 213.237.4572 firstname.lastname@example.org 19 de julio, 2007
Vecinos presionan para que se abra piscina
Andrea Carrion Diario HOY 213.237.4572 email@example.com 17 de julio, 2007
Gran alberca al servicio de nadie/Great Pool Serves No One/ La comunidad pide que abran al publico piscina en Miguel Contreras
Agustin Duran firstname.lastname@example.org
La Opinion and MSNBC 13 de julio de 2007
Mr. Mayor, tear down that fence
Kevin Roderick LA Observed July 13, 2007
Open the Pool
KABC TV 7 Eyewitness News July 5, 6:00 pm
The Pool’s Full of Water but the Kids Can’t Swim/ Summertime Blues: LA Kids Locked Out of LA School Pools/ Which Way, L.A.? with City Controller Laura Chick, The City Project’s Executive Director Robert Garcia, and LAUSD Facilities Chief Guy Mehula
Warren Olney Which Way, L.A.? July 2, 2007
Open the Miguel Contreras Pool
Editorial Downtown News July 2, 2007
Cost of Lifeguards at Miguel Contreras School Keeps Olympic-Sized Pool Off Limits to the Community
Evan George, Staff Writer Los Angeles Downtown News June 25, 2007
There are unfair school, park, and health disparities in Los Angeles. The shared use of parks and schools can alleviate the lack of places to play and recreate, while making optimal use of scarce land and public resources. Unfortunately, only 103 out of 605 LAUSD schools have five acres of more of playing fields, and those tend to be located in areas that are disproportionately white and wealthy and have greater access to parks. LAUSD provides 71% more play acres for non-Hispanic white students than for Latino students in elementary schools. There were only 30 joint use agreements between LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department as of April 2006.
The health implications of the lack of places to play in parks and schools are profound. In California, 73% of fifth, seventh, and ninth graders did not achieve minimum physical fitness standards in 2004. In LAUSD, 87% of students were not physically fit. Yet in 2006, 51% of school districts in California, including LAUSD, did not enforce statutory physical education requirements. At LAUSD’s South Gate High School, 1,600 children took the state Fitnessgram test and not one passed. Forty schools did not have a single physically fit student. Less than 10% of students were physically fit in nearly one-third of the 605 schools in LAUSD. Only eight schools had student populations that are more than 50% physically fit.
The City Project is helping students move more, eat well, stay healthy, and do their best in school and in life. Our Policy Report Healthy Parks, Schools, and Communities: Mapping Green Access and Equity for the Los Angeles Region provides ten equal justice principles for healthy, livable schools, parks, and communities for all.
We are taking action through
- the urban park movement
- Transit to Trails
- the UTLA Physical Education health campaign
- the greening of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and
- the campaign to Free the Beach! and Free Malibu!
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is investing over $20 billion to build new schools and modernize existing schools, one of the largest public work projects in history. School construction and modernization will enhance academic excellence, physical fitness, and appreciation of the arts for the children of the Los Angeles region now and for generations to come. Schools should serve as centers of their communities, with playgrounds and playing fields open after school and on weekends. New construction and modernization will also create local jobs for local workers and stimulate the Los Angeles economy. The school construction program will create over 174,000 jobs, $9 billion in wages, and $900 million in local and state taxes. The school district has targeted small businesses and local workers to ensure they receive a fair share of these benefits.
The City Project’s Executive Director Robert García signed the official voter pamphlet ballot arguments in favor of Measure K and Measure R, which together provide $7.22 billion for school construction and modernization in local bonds plus billions more in matching state and federal funds. He served as Chairman of the LAUSD School Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee for five years, from 2000 until 2005.
LAUSD Pulls “Pay to Play” Proposal, Saving Non-Profit Youth Groups from Fees to Use Public School Facilities
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has withdrawn a proposal to charge non-profit youth groups to use public school facilities, including playing fields and classrooms. LAUSD may reconsider the proposal in December 2005 or January 2006, but before then LAUSD will seek funding from alternative sources.
The City Project is committed to working with LAUSD to find funding alternatives to keep school facilities free for non-profit organizations that serve at-risk youth. Children of color and low-income children disproportionately live in neighborhoods without places to play in school yards, parks, or their own homes. Fully 87% of LAUSD children are not physically fit. Physical education classes are bloated with up to 75 students, and physical education is not required after the tenth grade. LAUSD staff proposed a $78 fee plus $28 to $42 per hour to use playing fields. Grassroots groups are providing an invaluable service to keep our children and communities healthy and safe. These groups simply do not have the resources to pay to play on their own public school yards.
The City Project, Anahuak Youth Soccer Association, the California PTSA, Girl Scouts, and many others strongly opposed the proposal. The American Lung Association is opposed to the proposal based in part on their concerns for the health of our children. The LAUSD School Bond Oversight Committee has requested the information necessary for the public to understand the impact of the proposal on all the children of Los Angeles.