The current wave of effort to curb childhood physical inactivity has begun to influence teacher education programs. Data appear to suggest that training programs for physical education teachers are beginning to evolve from a traditionally sport- and skill-centered model to a more comprehensive physical activity– and health-centered model. However, education programs for physical education teachers are facing a dramatic decrease in the number of kinesiology doctoral programs offering training to future teacher educators, in the number of doctoral students receiving this training, and in the number of professors (including part-time) offering the training. Additional data suggest a shortage of educators in higher education institutions equipped to train future physical education teachers. With unfilled positions, these teacher education programs are subject to assuming a marginal status in higher education and even to being eliminated.
Professional development—including credit and noncredit courses, classroom and online venues, workshops, seminars, teleconferences, and webinars—improves classroom instruction and student achievement, and data suggest a strong link among professional development, teacher learning and practice, and student achievement. The most impactful statement of government policy on the preparation and professional development of teachers was the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Although Title I of the act places highly qualified teachers in the classroom, Title II addresses the same goal by funding professional development for teachers. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, professional development should be offered to improve teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter they teach, strengthen their classroom management skills, advance their understanding and implementation of effective teaching strategies, and build their capabilities to address disparities in education. This professional development should be extended to include physical education instructors as well.
Ensuring Equity in Access to Physical Activity and Physical Education
Recommendation 6: Federal, state, district, and local education administrators should ensure that programs and policies at all levels address existing disparities in physical activity and that all students at all schools have equal access to appropriate facilities and opportunities for physical activity and quality physical education.
All children should engage in physical education and meet the recommendation of at least 60 minutes per day of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity regardless of their region, school attended, grade level, or