As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I believe education is the most important thing government can provide our children. Without an education, it is difficult for a person to survive in society. With an education, the sky is the limit.

Education, however, does not mean just learning from books. A well-rounded education must include training your mind AND your body. I believe a good education for children starts with being healthy. Studies show that children who are active and in good physical condition make better students and achieve more in life. I want all of Tennessee’s children to make the most of the God-given talents and advantages they are provided.

I plan to introduce a bill that would require Tennessee public schools to provide physical education classes for all students in kindergarten through eighth grade. School funding across Tennessee is tight, and many schools are seeking to cut physical education from the school curriculum as a way to help provide needed funding for other areas. Some school administrators seem to think physical education is less important than classroom education. I think they are wrong.

Statistics show that Tennessee ranks third nationally in the number of children suffering from obesity and fifth in the number of children with Type 2 diabetes – the type that most affects children and is caused in part by obesity. I find these statistics appalling. Children need to exercise and be active, and much of that activity must be provided during the school day.

I believe that Tennesseans must make a stand for the future of our children. What good is an education if you don’t have your health? This legislation will help give Tennessee’s children more opportunity to be healthy and active children now and more productive adults in the future.

The bill is SB2494, and it will be heard in the Senate Government Operations Committee.