Last week, Melissa spearheaded a press conference, covered by NY 1, calling on the New York City Department of Education to be in full compliance with New York State guidelines for physical education (PE) in New York City public schools. Recent reports from the American Heart Association and the Women’s City Club of New York have demonstrated a clear need to improve the quality and quantity of PE in New York City. The benefits of PE are far reaching evidence shows that school-based PE leads to improved academic achievement, increased state standardized test scores and a student’s health and overall well-being. PE also improves a child’s cognitive ability and behavior.
Melissa expressed her concern regarding this critical issue saying:
“Providing quality physical education instruction for our children is absolutely critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic! It is unacceptable that teens in East Harlem (which I represent) are nearly three times less likely to attend a daily gym class than teens in more affluent neighborhoods! And we wonder why our community has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the city. This is why I spearheaded a letter to the DOE signed by 35 of my colleagues, asking the department about its strategy to improve the quantity and quality of PE instruction in our schools and demanding a plan to address the disparities between schools that have sufficient PE programs and those that do not.”