online advocacy the power of us

The Power of Us: Tell Congress to Support #MoreTitleIV

For more than a decade, we have worked to build relationships on Capitol Hill and to educate legislators about the value of health and physical education.

Over the years, we have established a strong voice for our profession and in turn, health and physical education were finally included in the current federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Why were we able to achieve this success? Because our voices are stronger together.

Through SPEAK Out! Day, Online Advocacy Day, social media, and our SHAPE America Legislative Action Center, Congress has heard loud and clear from thousands of members of our community.

How will we continue to build on this achievement and elevate health and physical education for years to come? By harnessing the “power of us” and ensuring that we never let up on our advocacy efforts.

As we approach the end of the federal fiscal year, Congress has returned from their summer recess with an important task at hand — to pass appropriations legislation for FY 2020 by the end of September.

As they take on this task, it’s critical that Congress hears from us about fully funding Title IV, Part A of ESSA.

As a reminder, the funds allocated under Title IV, Part A are be distributed to states and school districts to support:

  • Well-rounded education — which includes health and physical education;
  • Safe and healthy students programs; and
  • Effective use of technology in schools.

These funds offer schools an exciting avenue to improve and support their health and physical education programs.

Now, as we look ahead to funding for FY 2020, which will impact the 2020-21 school year, it’s so important that we keep up our advocacy efforts.

Help Secure $1.6 Billion to Support Health and PE

Title IV, Part A was authorized at $1.6 billion for FY 2020 under ESSA. For FY 2019, Congress funded Title IV, Part A at $1.17 billion — which was a $70 million increase over the previous year.

We want to do all we can to keep that number going up, year over year!

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently proposing that Title IV, Part A be funded at $1.32 billion for FY 2020, while the U.S. Senate has yet to address appropriations.

Though this proposal is incredibly encouraging and exciting, it still falls short of the $1.6 billion that the education leaders in Congress recommended when they passed ESSA in 2015. We also must ensure that the Senate and full Congress follows suit and ultimately passes legislation that includes an increase in funds for this vital program.

So, I ask you to join us in our advocacy efforts to retain — and hopefully increase — this funding for schools in FY20.

What can you do?

Participate in our annual Online Advocacy Day efforts on Thursday, September 19. We’re asking Congress to support full funding of Title IV, Part A as they address appropriations legislation, and we could use your help!

Here are 4 ways you can participate:

  1. Get Educated on #MoreTitleIVFind out how much ESSA Title IV, Part A funding your school district will be receiving this year and use our resources to make your ask for funding!
  2. Advocate on Social Media — Tag your members of Congress and share your successes on Twitter using the hashtags #SHAPEAdvocacy and #MoreTitleIV to show your support for HPE advocacy and spread the word to your network.
  3. Contact CongressSend a message to your members of Congress asking them to fully fund Title IV, Part A of ESSA for FY20 using SHAPE America’s Legislative Action Center.
  4. Ensure Our Voice Stays StrongMake a donation to support the campaign to send HPE teachers to Washington, DC for SPEAK Out! Day.

Advocate for Your Program on the Local Level

I’ve heard many great stories from teachers across the country who have already had great success in accessing Title IV, Part A funding to support their health or physical education programs. It is so exciting to see these dollars in action, making a true impact on students and their health and wellness!

You can check out a couple of these success stories from Alexandria, VA and McAllen, TX on our website. Please also look out for an upcoming series on our blog where we’ll update you on these successes and share additional examples of how members are using Title IV, Part A funding.

Take That First Step Today

Do you have a success story to share? Spread the word on social media and be sure to tag your members of Congress and @SHAPE_America!

Don’t know where to start to make the ask for funds in your own school district or school? Use our online form to find out how much money your school district is receiving and use our ESSA Funding Brainstorming Worksheet to craft your funding ask so that you’ll have the best chance of success when approaching your administrators.

As school districts conduct their needs assessments and allocate ESSA funding, ensure that health and PE are part of the process!

Make sure you continue to educate yourself about opportunities in ESSA and stay informed along the way. Check SHAPE America’s Top 10 Tools for ESSA web page often, as we share the latest news, tools, and resources that are available to support your advocacy efforts.

Now let’s show the world how strong the health and physical education community is and the “power of us”!

Additional Resources

Carly Wright

Carly Wright is Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at SHAPE America.