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Richards Simmons Isn't Fighting Alone in Battle for P.E.

Richard Simmons is at it again. The fitness icon has been a frequent diversion from my dispatches on fascinating (but not necessarily popular) topics such as growth models and graduation rates.

Simmons hit the morning airwaves this week to promote bills to insert physical education into NCLB. He's also calling on viewers to contact presidential candidates and ask them to address the issue. Here are links to appearances on Today and Good Day New York.

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But he's not in this alone. The American Heart Association also is on board. Its Web site includes background on the FIT Kids Act, which would require states to address P.E. under NCLB. The site includes a nifty side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate versions of the FIT Kids Act. The heart association is having its lobbying days April 28-29 in Washington and will be urging its members to promote FIT Kids when they walk door-to-door on Capitol Hill. Now that a exercise guru whose outfit of choice is dolphin shorts and a tank top has raised raised awareness of P.E. among millions of morning television viewers, can doctors and researchers who favor lab coats and surgical scrubs put P.E. on the congressional agenda?

It's not looking likely for 2008. But maybe it'll happen in 2009.

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