Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Cone, Stephen L.

Committee Member 1

Johnson, Ane T.

Committee Member 2

Cone, Theresa P.


Congress, Physical education, Policymaking process


Physical education for children; Education--Law and legislation; Obesity in children


Health and Physical Education


The purpose of this exploratory case study design was to investigate and analyze the policymaking process of physical education at the national level. The participants used to explore this phenomenon were senators and representatives from the 114th-115th Congress who sat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (n = 21), and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (n = 14). Additional participants were national policymakers (n = 3), staffers (n = 6), and legislative liaisons (n = 2). Data was collected from semi-structured interviews (n = 8), policy artifacts (n = 87), and the researcher's journal (n = 32). The data was analyzed using a conventional approach to qualitative content analysis. The results indicate that physical education is primarily a state and local issue; however, the federal government is responsible for providing equal access, funding, and educational opportunities. Underlying these policy decisions are several key factors: problems of NCLB, education as a civil right, ending federal control, and several others. Policy recommendations are made to state departments of education that require local school districts to report on state laws and regulations pertaining to physical education. Future research must focus on the legislative process used at the state and local levels to determine physical education initiatives in respective states and schools.