Race to the Top District Competition Draft

Public Comment Section for Race to the Top District Executive Summary Now Closed

Thank you to everyone who has submitted opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments on this dedicated Web site pertaining to the draft executive summary of the draft requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions for the Race to the Top District (RTT-D) competition.

We are no longer accepting input on our Web site. Later this summer, we will publish the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the RTT-D Program in the Federal Register.

Please check our RTT-D Program page for updates.

Thank you


Thank you for your interest in the Race to the Top – District (RTT-D) Program. Like the Race to the Top State program, the Race to the Top – District Program is designed to encourage unprecedented innovation and bold comprehensive reform in elementary and secondary education.

In order to run a rigorous competition and obligate funds to grantees before the December 31, 2012 statutory deadline, the Department of Education (Department) will waive rulemaking for this new program, pursuant to its authority in the General Education Provisions Act.

However, because the Department is very interested in your input, we are posting this draft executive summary of the draft requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions for the Race to the Top District competition on this Web site. We encourage all interested parties to submit opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments pertaining to the Race to the Top District program. This document will be posted for public input until 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, June 8, 2012, at which time the input section will be closed and we will begin considering input received as we develop final requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions. Though the Department will not respond to comments, the Department will read and consider all comments in finalizing the Race to the Top District competition design. Later this summer we will publish a notice of final requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions in the Federal Register along with a notice inviting applications.

The Race to the Top District competition will build on the lessons learned from the State-level competitions and support bold, locally directed improvements in teaching and learning that will directly improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness. More specifically, Race to the Top District will reward those LEAs that have the leadership and vision to implement the strategies, structures and systems of support to move beyond one-size–fits-all models of schooling, which have struggled to produce excellence and equity for all children, to personalized, student-focused approaches to teaching and learning that will use collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st century tools to deliver instruction and supports tailored to the needs and goals of each student, with the goal of enabling all students to graduate college- and career-ready.

Successful LEAs will provide the information, tools, and supports that enable teachers to truly differentiate instruction and meet the needs of each child. These LEAs will have the policy and systems infrastructure, capacity, and culture to enable teachers, teacher teams and school leaders to continuously focus on improving individual student achievement. They will organize around the goal of each child demonstrating content and skills mastery and credentialing required for college and career and will allow students significantly more freedom to study and advance at their own pace - both in and out of school. As importantly, they will create opportunities for students to identify and pursue areas of personal passion-- all of this occurring in the context of ensuring that each student demonstrates mastery in critical areas identified in college- and career ready standards. LEAs successfully implementing this approach to teaching and learning will lay the modern blueprint for raising student achievement, decreasing the achievement gap across student groups, and increasing the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers

The Department is posting this document on a moderated site, which means that all posts will be reviewed before they are posted. We intend to post all responsive submission on a timely basis. The Department reserves the right to withhold comments that are: unrelated to this request, inconsistent with the Department's Web site policies, advertisements or endorsements and/or otherwise inappropriate. Additionally, to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses in the body of your comments. For more information, please be sure to read the "comments policy."

Please understand that posts must be related to the Race to the Top District competition and program, and should be as specific as possible. We ask that you limit your post to 2,000 words. All opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments are considered informal input and, again, the Department will not respond to any posts. If you include a link to additional information in your post, we urge you to ensure that the linked information is accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. We look forward to receiving your ideas and suggestions. However, the input you provide in your post may or may not be reflected in the final Race to the Top District requirements, priorities, selection criteria, or definitions or other policies that are announced in the Race to the Top District notice inviting applications.

Comments

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

As I read through all of these wonderful comments I keep thinking about one of my favorite quotes:

"You can't educate a child who isn't healthy and you can't keep a child healthy who isn't educated."
Joycelyn Elders-former U.S. Surgeon General

Inclusion of Health Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

Academic performance, as well as functioning in life, are directly correlated with the health and wellness of students. However, while chronic disease and childhood obesity rates escalate, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are not only linked to improved academic performance, but also to cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Make daily Physical Education mandatory! We need to educate the whole child.

Health Education is a crucial subject for students to learn about. I am not talking about Health Education from 1990 where questions were answered from the back of a text book and outdated movies were shown. I am talking skills based, 21st century skill, authentic & collaborative, student centered learning. As a Cooperating Teacher for several student teachers, it saddens me to hear of the certified Health teachers who have never bettered their practices. This leads to several unengaged students and gives hard working educators like myself a bad reputation. It also gives Health Education a bad name in the sense that it is not useful and just a "filler" course. In addition to problems like the childhood obesity epidemic also lies increased rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Eating and exercise is only a mere component of the importance of Health Education in our state and across the country. Being able to infuse content into skills like Planning and Goal Setting as well as Decision Making (from any course) is going to help students well past high school. Health Education in the school that I teach in incorporates all of the criteria necessary for this funding (personalized, student-focused approaches to teaching and learning that will use collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st century tools to deliver instruction and supports tailored to the needs and goals of each student, with the goal of enabling all students to graduate college- and career-ready). We welcome the opportunity to serve our students even more efficiently and effectively with this funding.

Health and physical eudctaion sould be part of a solid eudcation. It is a proven fact that health problems and concerns get in the way of learning. Maslow's heirarchy of human needs proves that health needs come before any other needs (including educational needs). Both health and physical education are needed for proper growth and functioning of the human body, including the functioning of the brain. In education, it does not make sense to ask students to perform on exams without giving them the tools, resources and information they need in order for their bodies and brains to function properly. Numerous studies have shown correlations between students' health and their academic performance. Numerous studies have proven that physical activity improves the functioning of the brain. We would be missing the foundation if health and physical education are not included in a child's education. Without a foundation, everything falls apart.

I am afraid for this next generation of students. This generation will have life spans that are less than that of their parents. Kids do not play outside for fun anymore. Instead, they are behind a screen for 8 hours a day on average. They also sit all day during school. Lack of physical activity and obesity will overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable death. The key word is preventable, meaning that through education, we can save lives. This nation spends an estimated $190 billion on health related medical costs per year. As a nation, we must be concerned about this public health crisis.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications
While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

The role of the phyiscal educator is to educate, not supervise activities. Let's Move advocates are on the right track when it comes to getting students to become nmore physically active as the benefits to general health and performance in school is borne out by the research. Yet blindly running from fitness station to fitness station does not offer the teacher an opportunity to educate students on the benefits of proper physical fitness. Yes, we do teach body functions, name bones and muscles, and work our way through the actions of the heart, but we fail to measure how much a student actually uses the knowledge and the tools given to them.

The national drive to install Common Core standards in teaching are championed by higher education that needs students to come to them with the ability to do research at their level. Getting to the root of any problem requires time spent going deep within a subject and breaking it down to its "core" if you will. Knowing how to throw a ball is important only to the point of the student being successful at throwing. By understanding the relatioship in throwing mechanics to actions in other physical settings may allow a student to apply that knowledge. That is physical education....taking an activity and learning how to apply it in more than just becoming competent at playing a game.

The RTTT-D funds should benefit those that educate first and regardless of the programs that have kids running helter skelter, there is a need to assess wheter or not those students know how to run, why they are running, when running is good, and what running can accomplish.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Please consider. Thanks

If you want students to excell, you should FIRST make sure they are healthy and active...... or all this is a waste of money and an insult to educators in our state!

In order for our youth to be successful in the classrooms they must first be healthy overall. Educating students on health eating, exericse and overall wellness will make for a more well-rounded, successful, and healthy person. These are the qualities we want our future to possess. If subjects such as this are not included in the Race to the top it is considered not important enough to be included in this legislation... ALL education is important!! We are here to educate the whole student. Childhood obesity is on the rise and if trends continue the risk of diabetes will rise to 1-10 children born in the year 2000 will develop type2 diabetes. Physical Education may not be able to be measured in tconcrete test scores but be measured in lives saved... Please go forward in including Physical Education and Health in the RTT-D.
Thank you!

Keeping health and physical education is a no brainer and a MUST!

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps

Dear Department of Education:

I would like to urge you to consider adding language pertaining to Physical Education to the "Race to the Top" application. This request is based on three significant reasons:
(#1) By adding K-12 physical education, we will be able to more fully hold physical education teachers and coaches responsible for teaching all students, not just the athletically gifted, the required K-12 PE content.
(#2) Recent cutting-edge research from Sweden has shown that a program of daily physical education increases student academic achievement (especially in males) and overall skill development. See website link cited above and text provided below.
(#3) This would be a significant step in aligning all federal funds, to the greatest degree as possible, to address the nation's childhood obesity epidemic.

Thank you!

=======================
SUNDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Boosting students' levels of physical education improves their grades, a new, small study says.

Swedish researchers followed more than 200 schoolchildren, starting from first through third grade, for nine years. Some children were assigned to an intervention group that received physical education five days a week, plus extra training in motor-physical skills such as balance and coordination. The other children were assigned to a control group that received usual levels of physical education.

The study showed that 96 percent of students in the intervention group achieved grades that made them eligible to advance to upper-secondary school, compared with 89 percent of students in the control group.

This difference was especially evident among boys (96 percent in the intervention group and 83 percent in the control group). The boys in the intervention group had significantly higher grades in Swedish, English, math, physical education and health than those in the control group.

The study also found that in ninth grade, 93 percent of students in the intervention group had good physical motor skills, compared with 53 percent of student in the control group.

"Physical education has been pared down from three lessons a week to one or two," study author Ingegerd, Ericsson of Malmo University, said in a news release. "We scientifically confirm here that daily timetabled physical education and adapted motor skills training not only improves motor skills but also school achievement."

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or
physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that
are not considered ?core? have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority ? the Administration?s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development,
innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability,
and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows
that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making
progress towards closing achievement gaps.

There is little consistency across research studies to measure school attendance. As a researcher studying school dropout and truancy, it is difficult to compare studies due to widely varying defintions. It would be greatly beneficial if the definition of student attendance would be uniform.

I would suggest adopting the proposed definition by Attendance Works. Chronically absent is defined as missing 10% or more of school over the course of one school year for any reason. This includes excused and unexused absenses and suspensions.

A uniform definition by RTTT district competitions would assist schools and school districts in their work to curb chronic absenteeism. A uniform definition would provide guidance for researchers as they conceptualize attendance.

Health and Physical Education should be required in Race to the Top. Without our children being physically fit and healthy they cannot learn.
Cathy Hawkins
Lafayette Upper Elementary School
3 Learning Lane
Fredericksburg City Schools
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Health and Physical Education teacher

Teachers, parents, and other community members are virtually unanimous when it comes to their feelings on Physical Education and Health. They want more of it embedded into their childrens' education. For some reason school districts around the country refuse to make it a priority due to an overabundance of resources being applied to literacy and numeracy skills related to standardized testing. Yet they create a false dichotomy here by suggesting that we must choose whether to make our children smarter or healthier. WE DO NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE. Numerous studies have proven that Physical Education does not take away from reading and math instruction; if anything, it adds to it.

I can speak from personal experience because I am a physical education teacher in Chicago Public Schools. My curriculum is suffocating from a lack of time with my students. I see them once a week. I am the only physical education teacher in the entire building of over 500 students. I teach kindergarten through 8th grade. I am also the athletic director in charge of managing the school's sports program. If that isn't being spread too thin, I don't know what is. I want more time with my students. I want to help them get healthier and also boost academic achievement. I have no problem incorporating literacy and numeracy into my lessons. GIVE ME MORE TIME WITH MY STUDENTS. My school building has TWO GYMS yet only one physical education teacher. With another P.E. teacher on staff, our students could have the quality P.E. program they deserve. They could have P.E. every day, learning how to take care of their bodies and at the same time getting the exercise they need to boost cognitive functioning.

Investing in more Physical Education is not complicated and it will not consume an abundance of resources. In my school, it's simply a matter of hiring ONE extra teacher. One. PLEASE take the time to consider giving our children what they need to succeed. The research is out there and the verdict is in: We have known for a long time now that more Physical Education is needed in our schools. WE ARE OUT OF EXCUSES and the time to act is now.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or
physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that
are not considered ?core? have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority ? the Administration?s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development,
innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability,
and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows
that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making
progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or
physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that
are not considered ?core? have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority ? the Administration?s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development,
innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability,
and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows
that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making
progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Physical Education and Health Education are vital to the overall success of our students both physically and academically. Children who get enough physical activity and eat healthy are more likely to be successful in school and in their future. Creating these good habits at a young age is so important. With the rise in obesity and health care costs, it makes sense that quality physical education and health education are desparately needed in schools. Our futures depend on it!

This proposal allows districts to apply in consortia, including with Education Service Agencies, is a solid step toward making competitive grants more accessible to all schools. We submit the following comments in response to the Department’s proposed inclusion of education service agency participation.

Specific Comments: Eligibility Criteria
• Ensure that education service agencies are eligible entities. While the executive summary and verbal discussions have indicated that education service agencies (ESAs) are eligible to apply as part of a consortium, the eligibility is not listed in the formal document. The current wording as listed in the Fast Facts summary of the criteria lists ESAs as an eligible entity, “…and education services agencies (ESA) that the State recognizes as LEAs and meets the ESEA definition of LEA.”
• Given that not all states include ESAs in their state definition of local education agency (LEA), AESA is concerned that certain ESAs will not be eligible to support consortia efforts. We recommend striking the phrase “the State recognizes as LEAs and” in order to ensure that all ESAs are eligible entities in order to best help all students and districts.
• Exclusion of ESAs in states where they are not included in the state definition of LEA severely limits the ability of rural districts to apply in consortia.

AESA supports federal investment in public education. RttT can help promote innovation however rural and small districts are at a disadvantage in competitive grant situations. Educational Service Agencies provide opportunities for these districts to compete, but only if they are eligible entities.

Lee Warne
Association of Educational Service Agencies

Definition of Student Attendance: I urge you to clarify your definition of student attendance and require participating districts to monitor the percent and number of students who are chronically absent – missing 10% or more of school over the course of a year for any reason including excused and unexcused absences and suspensions.

We have followed the work of Attendance Works and here is information in support of better defining what attendance means.

ATTENDANCE WORKS INFO
Our research, Present, Engaged, and Accounted For, demonstrates that chronic absence is a proven early warning indicator of academic trouble starting in kindergarten. By middle school, it signals that a student will eventually drop out of high school. The impact can go beyond just those students missing school. If a significant number of children in a classroom or school are chronically absent, it can adversely affect all students by slowing the pace of instruction.

A new report, The Importance of Being In School now shows that an estimated 5-7.5 million students are chronically absent nationwide. In some communities, as many as one out of three students are chronically absent. Too often chronic absence goes unrecognized because districts and schools only track average attendance rates which can easily mask high levels of chronic absence.

Attendance Works has identified examples throughout the country of how schools and communities can turn around chronic absence and improve academic achievement. The key is schools partnering with community agencies and families to build a culture of attendance and using chronic absence data to identify and reach out students as soon as they begin to show signs of becoming chronically absent. Chronic absence data can also be used to identify the need for a programmatic or policy solution, such as improving access to health care, addressing inadequate transportation or changing ineffective, overly punitive school discipline policy.

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered “core” have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.

Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Not only should Health and PE be included in this grant opportunity, it should be at the top. Scientific research has proven over and over again what exercise/movement does for the brain. Improvements in cognitive function, memory, concentration, and overall academic performance as well as help curve the obesity problem we have in this country. Including movement in classrooms as well in PE would benefit all students especially those students that may have a learning disability and ADHD. Mr. Zientarski, a PE teacher from Naperville, Ill., said, "In our department, we create brain cells, it's up to the other teachers to fill them." That is what Physical Education does best. We know the importance of movement and exercise for the human body and brain and being included in this grant will help us to continue to get this information out. One of my favorite quotes I heard at a professional development is "What is Teaching? It is the only profession whose job is to change the human brain every single day, teachers are brain changers."

Not for all the money in the world. Stay out of the state business. Too much paperwork, redtape and wasted federal dollars.

Health is a person's most important asset! No amount of money or fame can take the place of health and healthy students learn better! It is CRITICAL that Physical Education and Health be included in the Race to the Top District.

Melissa Evans
Assistant Professor
Tarrant County College
Arlington, Texas

Physical Education is being cut from schools everywhere you look. Here at my school, the students do not come as often as they used to and Physical Education is on the chopping block for next year if the budget does not pass tomorrow afternoon. Study after study shows that students need movement to help enhance their learning environment and increase brain function. If Physical Education continues to be cut, then I believe our students' performance in the classroom will decrease as a result. This is unacceptable. I have two sons in the school system and I want them to receive the best education possible. Physical Education must be a part of that. Each area in our school is affected by the other areas, and we definitely compliment each other and work together to make sure our students are learning no matter which classroom they are in or which teacher they are with. Please give us a chance to be able to receive the monies necessary to continue empowering our students and providing them with the very best education possible. Thank you!

Health and Physical Education are so important to a child life. Studies have proven that students that are physically active score better than students who are less active. Since I have been teaching PE has been cut to once a week. However, that does not stop me from teaching the students before and/or after school (where I have students lined up and ready to participate in the day's activities!) Please give us the chance to continue to teach PE to our students. Thank you!

In my perfect world, there would be more visual classroom setting for teaching. My son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and his is a bright child but the auditory processing part of this disorder makes it so difficult for him to learn. When I present to him the curriculum in pictures he is able to retain better and less stress taking any test. Such is the case of spelling or reading.

We already have enough after school programs that all they (people who are professionals at writing "Grants") get is money, but if you (people giving the grants) came to see the program, would be dismay. Our kids are not graduating, they are not getting ahead. It is the people who win the grants are the winners.

They should be a panel of parents who over see this programs. We hispanics are horrible. We expect our kids to be taught in school and we don't want to do our part. I am a hispanic that is trying to change one child at the time and having so much difficulty.

Lets talk Pre Algebra. Lets go back to the BLACKBOARD (remember those boards nailed to the walls one in each classroom in the 70 and 80"s). Whenever I have help teens w/ their math I send them to the boars and boy do they learn. I don't have a classroom or space in my house to be able to tutor those high risk kids in Spanish or English.

Reading, remember when you used to read a whole book and discuss it w/ wonder. Well Internet has stolen that wonder that our teens used to have. Lets take it back.

I can go on and on. I'll get no where, I just continue my journey one kid at the time

Thank you for reading this. Don't trow away your money, go and inspect where the fund are going and if the programs are effective.

Yancy

"Of all the subjects taught in school, Physical Education is the only subject which, by the very nature of it's context, has the potential to affect how a person will feel every moment of every day for the rest of his or her life"-Allen Russell. If we as educators are to believe in this premise, then why would the U.S. department of Education, in The Race To The Top - District (RTT-D)- eliminate health education and physical education as criteria for Winning RTT-D applications. Physical education and health education need to be included as part of a " well-rounded" education. We need to focus on the FIT KIDS ACT that was sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (S. 576) and Congressmen Ron Kind and Jim Gerlach (HR. 1057). An investment in Physical Education and Health Education is an investment in the health and success of our students and our Nation and that is why they should be considered Core Subjects and not add-on's or titled "special subjects" as they are now labeled in some school ditricts where they can easily be eliminated or cut. I also agree, with all of my colleagues who have wriiten before me, on the inclusion of physical education and health education in the RTT - D. Thank you and I look forward to seeing both these subjects included in the final document.

subbmitted by: JoAnn June 3, 2012

I strongly agree! We owe it to our children, they are our future! We owe it to ourselves as parents and adults, foolish not to invest in our lives!

Bob

I spent 14 years of my 17 years in education in an urban school district. We had so much money from the Federal Government and the State that we were able to provide so many services for our students and high quality professional development for our staff. At times we had so much money that it was hard to determine how to spend it all. I have spent the last three years in a suburban district where we are rated "Excellent". We receive little to no funding from the Federal Government and the State. We did apply for and receive RttT funds for only 100,000.00. In order to complete our scope of work for RttT we have had to dip into general funds secured through local dollars. We are back on for a levy in the fall and we are worried that it may not pass. To hear that the Federal Government has more money to give away BUT only to schools with forty percent poverty is just one more opportunity for the urban and underperforming schools to get more money that they don't know how to spend. Remove the forty percent poverty requirement and instead open these funds up to RttT schools that got the least amount of money and require them to apply for these funds with a rigorous application process so we can continue to provide services to our students and to engage our staff in high quality professional development. Wouldn't this make more sense than eliminating schools who are meeting Federal and State expectations....but who could do so much more with additional funding?

Much research shows that exercise improves and maintains brain cells. Kids have a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets. They and their parents have been bombarded with information but unless kids actually DO exercise, no amount of "education" will get results. It is absolutely necessary that in order to get RTTT funds school systems have mandated DAILY physical education and dance. Only DOING every day will change habits and effect change in obesity. Kids across all spectrums need DAILY exercise in school and RTTT can help.

HERE, here!!! Recognize the research, implement the research, for the short and long term benefit of each student AND the overall health of our nation.

Much research shows that exercise improves the brain by helping to grow and maintain brain cells. Given the sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet so many children have, it is paramount that DAILY exercise (think physical education and dance) be mandated as part of qualification for RTTT funds. Kids and parents know what they SHOULD be doing; they have been bombarded with information in class and in the media. Unless they are mandated to actually DO it in physical education and dance classes, no amount of information will elicit behavior change. We've seen the problem get worse because kids are not DOING. Only those school systems with DAILY physical education and dance K-12 should be qualified to receive RTTT funds. It's that important!

I have found that it is critically important to use the number of chronic absentees by grade level and subgroup as an indicator of student risk. This information informs effective strategies to improve student attendance. In California, we define a chronic absentee as a student who misses 10% or more of the school days enrolled for any reason. This definition works effectively, but it is not yet widely used in California schools.

Health and wellness need to be part of career readiness in our schools today. We need to prepare our students for college, military, or the work force. Healthy adults are more productive and reduce health care costs. Healthy habits begin in our schools. Healthy habits: Live them. Teach them.

Please vote!

Competitive Preference Priority—Results, Resource Alignment, and Integrated Services

Add to #3 see bold type

(3) How the partnership will enable, within participating schools (as defined in this document), the
integration of education and other services (e.g., services that address social-emotional, behavioral,
and other special needs) for participating students (as defined in this document) and begin to develop a unified and comprehensive system for addressing barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students.

Definition of Student Attendance: We urge you to adopt the recommendation posted above by Hedy of Attendance Works, and to clarify your definition of student attendance. It is imperative that the Department of Education adopt a specific and universal definition of attendance, and that participating districts be required to monitor the percentage and number of students who are chronically absent -- i.e., missing 10% or more of school over the course of a year -- for any reason, including not only unexcused absences and suspensions, but also excused absences attributable to illness and other causes. The traditional "Average Daily Attendance" count can mask dramatic absenteeism rates among sub-groups of students and make it less likely that problems will be addressed.

A new report, The Importance of Being In School (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001y2N_Cmm63xWowggrgzR1lrIhzyrXboiS33KMRd-lV...), shows that an estimated 5-7.5 million students are chronically absent nationwide. In some communities, as many as one out of three students are chronically absent. Recent research (http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_837.html) shows that chronic absence is a proven early warning indicator of academic trouble starting in kindergarten. By middle school, it signals that a student will eventually drop out of high school. The impact can go beyond just those students missing school. If a significant number of children in a classroom or school are chronically absent, it can adversely affect all students by slowing the pace of instruction. Regardless of why a student misses school -- whether because of unmet health care needs, lack of transportation, or any other reason -- the end result is lost learning time.

Schools and districts that track and monitor chronic absence are well-positioned to address the root causes of absenteeism. Schools can partner with community agencies and families to build a culture of attendance and use chronic absence data to identify and reach out students as soon as they begin to show signs of becoming chronically absent. Chronic absence data can also be used to identify the appropriate programmatic or policy solutions, which may include improving access to health care, addressing inadequate transportation, or changing ineffective, overly punitive school discipline policy.

Alice Ricks, California School Health Centers Association

One of my main concerns with the grant money is how it trickles down to the teachers. Of course my only experience with this has been that my state did receive some money from the original Race to the Top. However, as a classroom teacher, I am not sure how those funds were used. I do know that my district received the funds and my department chair sent out a frantic request for “supplies” because our district had money that was going to disappear soon. I know that accountability is a major part of any grant, but I want to make sure that the money is used for its intended purposes.
Thank you!

I have been encouraged by Secretary Duncan’s repeated claims that indicators related to conditions for learning – such as levels of student safety, health, engagement and support -- are ‘leading indicators of school success’ and that test scores were ‘lagging indicators.’ Unfortunately, the proposed RTTT-D executive summary does not reflect the Secretary’s convictions and misses an opportunity to highlight and reinforce the importance of ensuring that students are safe, healthy, engaged, and supported.

It is essential for schools to strengthen and expand proven programs that increase the number of students:
Who are safe and not victims of bullying or other violence
Who are mentally and physically healthy
Who are engaged in school and avoid truancy and dropping out
Who have strong social and emotional skills
Who refrain from alcohol, tobacco and other drug use
Who report caring and supportive relationships with adults in their families, schools and the community

Efforts to measure and improve conditions for learning should be an absolute priority, for they are at the core of school success and student achievement. Every successful RTTT-D applicant should be required to effectively assess and measure conditions for learning and implement proven strategies to continuously improve the teaching and learning environment.

While the Secretary publicly states that improving conditions for learning are important, programs in your Department focused on these issues have been gutted over the past several years. As an example, the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities grant program, once funded at $530 million, has been totally eliminated. This was a critical program that supported necessary state infrastructure focused on school health and safety and allowed local educational agencies to implement programs that address critical conditions for learning. The RTTT-D competition is an opportunity to begin to correct these wrong-headed trends.

Again, I encourage you to modify the RTTT-D summary and require all successful applicants to effectively assess and measure conditions for learning and implement proven strategies to continuously improve the teaching and learning environment.

--Jon Terry, Conditions for Learning Coalition, jon.terry@capitolyouth.com

Inclusion of Health Education and Physical Education in Successful RTT-D Applications

While the childhood obesity epidemic grows, schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education, as recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many school districts throughout the country, subjects that are not considered "core" have been marginalized or eliminated due to a lack of Congressionally directed funding or administrative priority - the Administration's blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.

To rectify this, health education and physical education should be included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools.
Physical education is an intrigue part of the total education of a child. Daily quality physical education programs are needed to increase the physical competency, health-related fitness, self-esteem and enjoyment of physical activity for ALL students so that they can be physically active for a lifetime. Physical education can only provide these benefits if they are well-planned and well-implemented.
The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) believe that every student in our nation’s schools, from kindergarten through grade 12, should be required to participate in daily quality physical education.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued physical activity guidelines for Americans, ages 6 and older. These guidelines recommend that children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily. Students need access to physical activity throughout the school day to meet these recommendations.
Additionally, recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, and behavior as well as reduced truancy. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2009) shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

Respectfully,

Rocco Aiello
Coordinator of Adapted Physical Education & Corollary Sports
Department of Special Education
St. Mary’s County Public Schools
office - 301-475-5511 ex: 212
mobile- 301-481-7377
email- raaiello@smcps.org
2008 National Teacher of the Year in Adapted PE

I completely agree with Rocco Aiello's comments (and many others on these comments who support the same cause) in regards to health education and physical education's inclusion in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools. It's vital to include these components to promote healthy living for a lifetime.

It's good to see evidence-based practices mentioned throughout this comment section. However, the evidence based practices should be implemented in a high-quality manner. What if ED could channel applicants toward including elements of quality implementation? A fine resource would be the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) at http://nirn.fpg.unc.edu. Will your reviewers be considering what is essential to making sure the any practice or program is implemented with quality? The bottom line for any applicant is quality implementation of effective programs/practices.

Although I appreciate the intent behind the Race to the Top initiatives, the Department of Education should continue to support the proven educational opportunity programs that serve disadvantaged students in all states - specifically the TRIO programs. The public education system cannot overcome the poverty affecting educational outcomes, more efforts should be focused on social justice.

It is absolutely crucial to the children of this nation that physical education play a key role in the fight against overweight/obesity and it's attendant diseases. It is our greatest single opportunity to provide modern, 21st century standards based education for virtually all children in the U.S.

It would be tragic if we were to overlook or dismiss this singular opportunity. It falls to us, as adults, to provide children with those programs most beneficial to improving their health and fitness, their social/emotional development, and to advance benefits in the cognitive world.

Let us embrace that opportunity and let us live up to our responsibility.

Joe Herzog, Neurokinesiologist/Lecturer
Fresno, Ca.

The childhood obesity epidemic continues to go unchecked in this country, in part due to the fact that schools today do not provide adequate health education or physical education. Evidence-based national guidelines for physical activity and nutrition developed by a variety of professional organizations such as the ADA and AHA are unmet and/or ignored by school officials. These guidelines have been recommended by leading healthcare professionals, health-related national organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all point to health education and physical activity as significant and crucial components to address the obesity epidemic in children as well as adults. The lack of direction from Congress has resulted in many school districts throughout the country marginalizing or eliminating subjects that are not considered “core” due to a lack of funding or administrative priority – the Administration’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization does not include health education or physical education.
It is imperative that health education and physical education be brought back into our educational systems and included in this competition through professional development, innovative curriculum, engagement of parents and community, and the ability/desire of a district to create a culture of health and wellness in its schools. The cultural expectation of living a healthy lifestyle needs to be integrated into the education of our youth from K-12 and beyond.

Recent studies show that health and fitness are linked to improved academic performance, cognitive ability, behavior as well as reduced truancy, delinquency, absenteeism. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008-2009, shows that students who engage in health-risk behaviors (such as inactivity, increased screen time, unhealthy eating and drinking habits) receive lower grades. Including health education and physical education in this competition will undoubtedly assist in making progress towards closing achievement gaps.

As an exercise physiologist and lead scientist on a large intervention obesity prevention program (over 30,000 high school students), I see every day the lack of resources to health education and physical education as key components hindering our ability to shift the obesity trends in a downward direction. Efforts are being supplemented from non-profits and well-meaning individuals but in an inconsistent and random fashion. We need to return to educating the whole child-the parts we have recently “left behind” inadvertently.

Sincerely,
Shawn Hayes
Shawn G. Hayes, PhD
Chief Academic Officer
Director of Research and Education
HealthCorps, Inc.