P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2007
AUSTIN -- Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, unveiled legislation (SB 530) today that ramps up the state's efforts to promote basic health and exercise among our student population, more than a third of whom are overweight.
"In education, there are fundamentals and there are electives. Our health is as fundamental as reading, writing and arithmetic -- a lesson we must teach our students," said Senator Nelson, a former school teacher and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. 'This legislation will give us a better understanding about how the physical health of our students affects academic achievement, dropout rates, absenteeism, and other issues."
SB 530 has 23 joint authors and support from a coalition of health advocates, including Kenneth Cooper, M.D, founder of the Cooper Institute in Dallas. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires "moderate or vigorous" daily physical activity for students grades K-8.
- Requires physical fitness assessment of K-12 students two times per year - once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester, beginning in the 2007-08 school year.
- Assessments will be reported to TEA in summary form, by grade levels, omitting names of students or teachers.
- Requires strict confidentiality of individual results, with exceptions for parents.
- Directs TEA to analyze the results by school district, correlating results to student academic achievement levels, attendance levels, obesity, disciplinary problems, and school meal programs, by September 1 of the following year.