Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am filing with the Secretary of State House Bill 05-1237, "Concerning the statewide physical education recognition program." I vetoed this bill as of 11:11 a.m. today, and this letter sets forth my reasons for doing so.
The bill establishes the Statewide Quality Physical Education Recognition Program to annually recognize and reward public schools and physical education teachers who meet criteria established by the National Association for Sport & Physical Education. It creates a nine-member Statewide Physical Education Recognition Board and authorizes the Department of Education to accept gifts, grants, and donations.
To receive the imprimatur of this national organization, teachers and public school programs must conform to the narrow rubric of the physical educators' guild. This bill, under the guise of trying to elevate the quality of physical education, in reality would unfairly restrict access to the profession, and ban certain games and activities that are fun, harmless and, in many ways, character building.
The national standards published by the National Association for Sport & Physical Education are concerned entirely with professional development of teachers – not academic or athletic success of students. The criterion requires that PE teachers have a degree in PE to be recognized. This, of course, would prevent many otherwise qualified persons from sharing gifts and knowledge with Colorado public school students – unless of course they jumped through the guild's hoops. It would literally be the case that John Elway, who earned an economics degree from Stanford, is – in the eyes of the guild -- "unqualified" to teach physical education in public schools because his degree is not in physical education and is not certificated.
Equally troubling is the fact that the physical education guild has an unrealistic view of what is "quality" physical education. It sets its sights on ending "elimination games," since such games would, apparently, damage the self-esteem of Colorado children. So, if a physical educator wants to earn the plaudits of his or her guild, out go elimination games. This group would eliminate dodgeball, for example. Or, one would suppose, tag, or even "musical chairs."
Unfortunately, in real life – outside the tender confines of the offices of the National Association for Sport & Physical Education – there are ups and downs. As they grow, children will be chosen for some jobs, and they will lose out on others. Business deals are won; others fall though. Elimination from some of our desired choices is reality, and physical education and sports can and must teach children some of these life lessons. The correlation between the criteria in H.B. 1237 and the quality of instruction that is provided is tenuous at best.
I have no intention of presiding over the abolition of dodgeball from Colorado public schools so long as I am Governor.
Accordingly, I have vetoed this bill.
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