Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

April 12, 2001
Contact: Dave Nelson
(512) 463-0112


AUSTIN - Daily exercise returns to the school day in Texas under Senate Bill 19, authored by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, approved yesterday by the Texas Senate. The bill, filed bu Senator Nelson in response to record obesity levels and an alarming rise in diabetes among adolescents, moves to the House for consideration.

"The law of inertia tells us that bodies in motion stay in motion, while bodies at rest stay at rest. Today inertia is working against our children, far too many of whom sit at their desks all day and in front of TVs or computers all night, failing to get the exercise they need to be healthy," Senator Nelson said. "We must take action to reverse this frightening health trend, and we need to teach our children to take care of their bodies. This lesson is as fundamental as reading and writing."

Specifically, the bill grants rule-making authority to the State Board of Education for the purpose of requiring daily exercise for Texas public school students in grades K - 6. Limiting the bill to elementary school students removed the fiscal impact as elementary teachers are already PE certified during the certification process. The bill also directs TEA to provide school districts with a coordinated health program, including health education, exercise, nutrition and parental involvement.

PE currently is not required for students below grade 9. Students must receive 1.5 credits of PE as part of graduation requirements. It was a daily requirement for grades K-4 and a weekly requirement for Grades 5-6 before the 1995 reform of the Texas Education Code, but no daily or weekly requirements exist today. Consider also that:

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes Dallas, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant counties.