Friday, June 25, 2010

Breaking News: New GAO Report: More Needs to be Done to Provide Physical Education Opportunities for Children with Disabilities

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The General Accountability Office of the federal government has released a new report on the limited opportunity for physical education for students with disabilities. By way of background, it should be noted that IDEA, the federal special education law, specifically includes physical education within the definition of special education. IDEA § 601(29)(B). Moreover, the federal regulations clarify that the school district must provide PE, if provides it to students without disabilities. 34 C.F.R. §300.108.

The GAO report found that students with disabilities participate in physical education but at a lower rate than their non-disabled peers. the report recommends that the Secretary of Education promote ways of sharing information among states and school districts concerning ways to provide additional physical education opportunities for children with disabilities. In addition, GAO recommended that the department of education clarify the legal responsibilities of the schools under federal law. The Department of Education agreed with both recommendations. You can read the report here.

Here is a one page synopsis of the report.

This could be a possible hot button issue in special education law. Stay tuned.

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  1. Very interesting article! Exempting special Ed. students from state required PE time happens in many of the "Alternative Educational" settings. I actually designed and implemented a Physical Education Program in a for profit Alternative Therapeutic Day School.
    Before I came there was ping pong, cards, sometimes basketball, I was told the students where only required to have PE 3 hours a week. The school's yearly profit on this students was approximately $500,000 dollars a year!
    There appears to be less legal perimeters placed on the alternative private schools than the public schools. The one I worked at for two years was owned and run by and MBA. Hum- did any of the students return back to their home schools? No, they never do once they are sent into the alternative system.

  2. Thanks ASET,

    I appreciate your comment.

    It is always nice to hear from those in the trenches. Our readers represent a wide spectrum of the range of special ed stakeholders.


  3. This is very interesting, this reminds me of how things were in my high school. Our students with disabilties were required to attend gym class but none really partcipated, however I feel as if they had more actvities and it was actually planned out just for them then they could have been alot more involved. So it is nice to see the government is actually trying to get these students active.

  4. K L,

    Thanks for your comment. Your school experience was like mine, except that fewer kiddos with disabilities attended public school in those days.