SPEAK Out! Day


Be a Backyard Advocate

You don’t have to go all the way to Capitol Hill for your voice to be heard on the value of health education and physical education in schools.

Throughout the year, members of Congress return home from Washington, DC, to their state and district offices to meet with constituents about key issues in their state.When members of Congress know that their constituents care about health and physical education, they vote accordingly. 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) identifies school health and physical education as part of a student’s “well-rounded education” along with other subjects such as art, music, civics, science and more. This new federal education legislation provides increased access to funds for health and physical education programs, and allows states and school districts to set their own priorities for funding and accountability. Call on Congress to appropriate full funding for all Titles under ESSA.  
 
  Organize a Meeting in Your State

Educate your members of Congress about...

  • the status of health and physical education programs in your state or congressional district;
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  • the ESSA process in your state, including whether health and physical education have been represented in the state ESSA plan;

Ask your members of Congress to support...

  • well-rounded education by funding Title IV, Part A in ESSA at the authorized level of $1.65 billion for FY 2018;
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  • professional development by funding Title II, Part A in ESSA at the authorized level of $2.295 billion for FY 2018;
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  • after-school programs in schools by funding Title IV, Part B of ESSA at the authorized level of $1.1 billion for FY 2018.

 

Planning Your Advocacy Day Visit



  • Get a team together: Be strategic in finding two to six team members who best represent health and physical education within your state and who can commit to building an ongoing relationship with the legislator.
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  • Learn about who represents your community in Congress: Go to the SHAPE America Legislative Action Center Directory webpage to find your members of Congress. Call and schedule a meeting with the legislator and/or their state and district staff.
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  • Know his/her record on education: View their website and do a simple internet search to get a good picture of their voting record. You can also see how they voted on ESSA here: Senate vote, House of Representatives vote.
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  • Schedule a meeting: Call the local offices to request a meeting about ESSA and health and physical education. Make sure to tell them you are a constituent and how people will be in attendance. Be persistent!
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  • Have a meeting plan: Coordinate with your team on meeting talking points and conduct a role-play practice session in advance of your meeting. 
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  • Meeting talking points: Your group should plan to make specific points about ESSA and health and physical education. See the meeting talking points document to find a list of key points to address during the meeting. 
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  • Prepare your “asks”: Making the specific ask is a critical part of the visit and are clearly listed on the back of our PE + Health = Student Success flier, which you should distribute during the meeting. Offer to follow up for a clear answer to your “asks” or if they request more information.

  • Introductions: Start the meeting by thanking the legislator for their time, then introduce the group. Each participant should state the school or university they represent.
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  • Personal Story: One or two attendees should share a personal story showing the importance of health and physical education in schools within your state or congressional district.
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  • Specific Issue Points: Provide the legislator or staffer with the meeting materials. Address each specific meeting talking point.
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  • Make your asks: Call their attention to the back side of the PE + Health = Student Success flier to make the specific asks.
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  • Listen well and take notes: Ask questions and engage in conversation. Share helpful information and correct any misinformation your legislator may have about health and physical education.
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  • Thank you & invitation: Thank the legislator or staffer and invite them to visit your school to see a health and physical education program in action. Offer to be a resource to them!

  • Debrief your meeting: After you leave the office building. find a quiet place where you and your team can review what you heard and decide on next steps.
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  • Follow up with your member of Congress: Send an email thanking your legislator for their time. Provide answers to questions that came up during the meeting, and reinforce your asks.
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  • Tell us about your visit: Share photos and meeting summaries in the SHAPE America Backyard Advocates Facebook group . Please use the hashtag #MoreTitleIV on social media and tag your legislators on Twitter in any pictures or tweets.
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  • Continue to engage in the advocacy process: Stay up to date on the latest information about ESSA using the SHAPE America Legislative Action Center. Stay in touch with your legislators by signing up for their newsletters and email alerts via their websites. Foster a relationship and soon you may become your legislator's go-to resource for health and physical education!

Thank you for taking action! Together we are a powerful voice for the value of health education and physical education in schools.

Download the Toolkit

 

National Physical Education and Sport Week

Empower all children to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.

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