The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

February 1, 2014

Move to Improve Act gets reinforcement

State education leaders support bill and its concept

CHARLESTON — The Move to Improve Act got more positive reinforcement Friday at the Committee on Children and Poverty meeting as state education leaders testified that they support the bill and its concept.

The bill would require students to have 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Activity could be incorporated into regular classes and would not subtract time either from fundamental classes or art and music. Move to Improve is the companion to last year’s Feed to Achieve which allows all students to have free breakfasts and lunches.

State Board of Education president Gayle Manchin said that while many children in the state live in poverty, they are obese because they do not have access to the right food. Coupled with lack of activity, a diet deficient in proper nutrients is a recipe for childhood obesity, she said.

Manchin said the state board of education believes that 30 minutes of physical activity is “very productive” for students.

“When you can spark and energize children, they will be engaged,” Manchin said.

Manchin went a step further in response to a question about sugared beverages, particularly carbonated beverages.

“We should not have pop in schools,” she said. Manchin said she is also supportive of the idea of removing the purchase of sugared beverages from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program purchases.

West Virginia Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Charles Heinlein was equally supportive.

“The key word is ‘integrated,’” he said. “Teachers can integrate (physical activity) without detracting from other subjects.”

Heinlein said today’s students are much different than past generations of students. Today’s students are much more tech savvy, and are also confined to a seat for six hours a day.

According to a study, Heinlein said the predictors for life-long obesity are obvious at an early age.

“If a child is obese in kindergarten, there’s a good chance they will be obese for life,” he said.

Laura Dice, the assistant coordinator for KEYS 4 Healthy Kids, told the committee a doctor with her organization had been treating an 11-year-old child for obesity. He needed to lose 100 pounds, Dice said. The child could not lose the extra weight until his family moved from Charleston to South Charleston where he had access to a park and could play outside after school. The family also had access to grocery stores instead of fast-food restaurants, she said.

“By changing his environment, he was able to lose 100 pounds,” Dice said.

The bill got support from teachers’ unions, as well.

State American Federation of Teachers president Christine Campbell said teachers have understood the relationship of physical activity and brain development “for years.”

“We have an opportunity to lead the nation in developing innovative strategies that actively engage students in the classroom and beyond,” Campbell said. “The push over the last 10 years to decrease activity in exchange for additional seat-time has not improved student achievement.”

Campbell said the AFT’s Share My Lesson website, created by teachers, includes individual and unit lessons crossing all subject areas and all grade levels. The site has lessons that incorporate physical activity into content-specific lessons, she said.

She said spreading out the 30 minutes over a school day’s time allows teachers to have some creativity.

“Teachers will figure it out,” she said.

Her counterpart with the West Virginia Education Association, Dale Lee, said he supports the concept, but has not read the entire bill.

However, Lee said he has been a proponent of movement in the classroom since a geometry student used his arms to demonstrate a right angle. After that, Lee choreographed the “Angle Dance” as a lesson for his students.

“We’ve become an education system focused on a test,” he said. “I believe in teachers. I believe teachers do the things they need to do to help (students) achieve.

“I ask that you have faith in teachers, too.”

Both Campbell and Lee called on legislators to provide the necessary resources for classroom teachers to incorporate Move to Improve in their classrooms.

Richard Goff, executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition, West Virginia Department of Education, updated the committee on Feed to Achieve.

Goff said initial participation in breakfast consumption was low; however, he said, timing is everything.

While breakfast consumption was initially at a rather dismal 28 percent, moving the early meal to be incorporated with first-period classes, served after first period or as a “grab and go” meal, improved that number to 80 percent, he said.

In addition to the good news that more children are eating a nutritious breakfast, Goff said that more participation in the free meal program means more federal dollars in school systems’ coffers. Most of the cost of the free program is in personnel, not in food, he said.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • West Virginia chemical safe level following spill based on two weeks

    When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by a January spill, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads