UNK professors advocate for health, physical education funding in Washington

Matt Bice
Matt Bice

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney professors are working to ensure health and physical education are appropriately funded by the federal government.

Matt Bice and Megan Adkins, both assistant professors of kinesiology and sport sciences, will join nearly 200 physical and health educators from across the country in Washington, D.C., Tuesday and Wednesday (March 1-2) to meet with congressional representatives.

Educators are meeting as part of SHAPE America’s 8th annual SPEAK Out! Day.

“We are working to get more physical activity opportunities within schools. Not only through physical education classes, but also throughout the entire school day,” Bice said.

Adkins and Bice, along with others, will ask Congress to fully fund the Every Student Succeeds Act, which will allow health and physical education programs to have access to $1.65 billion in funding. They will also seek support for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act in Nebraska.

Megan Adkins
Megan Adkins

“School-time physical activity might be the only time kids are getting physical activity. They may not play sports or play outside,” Bice said. “So many kids aren’t reaching the recommended minutes of physical activity per week. The idea is that we have to give them the opportunity at school.”

The professors will offer insight and perspective on the negative impact that occurs when health and physical education are marginalized.

“There’s so much more to physical education classes than playing kickball or dodge ball like many parents may remember,” Adkins said. “In our health and physical education program at UNK, we’re moving past the basics and developing quality physical education teachers that can go out into the field and teach a quality physical education program.”

Adequate funding will ensure that health and physical education programs can continue to support life-long healthy habits for students.

“Physical education is a big piece of it, but health is also a major focus. Funding could help implement health programs that focus on social and emotional health,” Bice added.

Adkins is the executive director and Bice is the president elect of SHAPE Nebraska, the state affiliate of SHAPE America, the Society of Health and Physical Educators.


Source: Matt Bice, 308.865.8052, bicemr@lopers.unk.edu
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu