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SENATE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 3/20/2012

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2221



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Twelve



An Act to improve quality physical education..


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 official edition, is hereby amended by striking out section 3, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:--

              “Age-appropriate”, topics, messages, and teaching methods suitable to particular ages or age groups of children and adolescents, based on developing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacity typical for the age or age group.

              “Department'', the department of elementary and secondary education.

              “Board”, the board of elementary and secondary education.

              Physical education shall be taught as a required subject in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve, inclusive, for all students in public schools or Commonwealth charter schools, by licensed teachers, certified in physical education. Said education shall be age-appropriate and evidence-based and shall include, but not be limited to: physical activity and fitness and nutrition and wellness. Said education shall include a focus on physical competence, health-related fitness and enjoyment of physical activity so as to benefit children physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. No pupil shall be required to take part in physical education exercises if a licensed physician certifies in writing that in his opinion such physical education exercises would be injurious to the pupil. High school students participating in varsity sports may substitute waivers for the physical activity portion of the physical education course for no more than two terms only upon acceptance of this provision by majority vote of the school committee, or in the case of a charter school, by the board of trustees. The board may promulgate regulations necessary to facilitate the provisions of this section.

              SECTION 2. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education, in conjunction with the commissioner of public health, shall conduct an evaluation of current physical education standards, practices and the instruction provided to students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve, inclusive. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:-

              (1) current school district practices concerning physical education in public schools, including physical education course offerings, class duration and frequency and the physical space and time allotted, if any, for public school students to participate in recess each week; and

              (2) the appropriate levels of physical education and activity for all children of the commonwealth.

              The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall report the  findings of the evaluation to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on education and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on public health not later than December 31, 2012.  The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall make appropriate recommendations based on the findings in alignment with the Commission on School Nutrition and Childhood Obesity established under Chapter 197 of the Acts of 2010.

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