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Getting physical

In recent years, many education gurus have stressed high academic standards and back-to-basics curricula. And schools have often responded by cutting so-called extras such as physical education to focus on academics.

Now, a powerful GOP senator says schools need to restore those PE classes.

Sen. Ted Stevens

Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who chairs the Appropriations Committee, has introduced legislation to allot $400 million over five years to help schools to revive and improve their physical education classes. S 1159, called the Physical Education for Progress Act, would give grants to districts that teach physical education not only as a way to shape up and improve mental health, but also as a path to healthy eating habits and lifestyles. The recipients would have to offer classes for a total of at least 150 minutes a week, preferably daily.

Mr. Stevens, who has had a longtime interest in sports education, is particularly concerned by recent reports showing a rise in obesity and a decline in the percentage of students participating in daily physical education, said his spokeswoman, Connie Godwin.

So far, the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Back to school

Two other Republican budget authorities, meanwhile, journeyed back to their alma maters recently.

In the spirit of the graduation season, Rep. John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, who chairs the House Budget Committee, spoke at his former high school on June 4 and bestowed his best wishes on the class of 1999.

Mr. Kasich urged the graduates of Sto-Rox High School near Pittsburgh, Pa., to "have a friendship with our creator."

And former Rep. Bob Livingston, the House speaker-designate from Louisiana who resigned from Congress earlier this year, has returned in a way to his college alma mater, Louisiana State University. Mr. Livingston, who once held the key to federal education spending as the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is now employed by the firm that represents LSU to lobby for more higher education spending.

--Joetta L. Sack [email protected]

Vol. 18, Issue 40, Page 16

Published in Print: June 16, 1999, as Federal File

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