Richard Simmons Keeps P.E. Campaign Going

October 25, 2007 1 min read

Since I last talked to Richard Simmons, his effort to insert physical education into the NCLB debate hasn’t made much progress. The House’s NCLB draft excluded the FIT Kids Act, which would require states to guarantee students have access to physical education. And the draft’s list of potential multiple measures wouldn’t include physical education. Both are things Simmons is lobbying for.

But he isn’t giving up. The fitness star’s Web site has a long entry explaining that he’s excited about the progress of his proposal to add physical education requirements to NCLB.

The biggest positive sign, he says, is that Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has introduced a version of the FIT Kids Act in the Senate. The bill would require states to work towards giving elementary school students 150 minutes of P.E. every week and 225 minutes a week in the upper grades.

“IT IS STILL POSSIBLE, LOOK HOW FAR WE HAVE COME!!!!!!!!!!!!,” the post says near the end. (Yes, that’s 12 exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Bonus link: Kevin Carey last week had this stunning post about his own brush with Simmons. I, too, wasted away many days in my 20s, but I never was going to the mall looking for a chance to meet Simmons. I saved that for later ... in the noble pursuit of journalism.

Bonus video: Below is Simmons on the Late Show with David Letterman last week. In it, he says that the NEA is a partner in lobbying for the FIT Kids Act. He stands up on the couch and leads a chant: “P.E. in Schools. That’s the Golden Rule.” Letterman is speechless. I know the feeling.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.