- Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
- Executive Office of Education
Media Contact for Governor Healey’s New Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Framework Receives Unanimous Approval
Karissa Hand, Press Secretary
Malden — Governor Maura Healey announced today that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has unanimously approved an updated comprehensive health and physical education framework today, the first time the guidelines have been updated since 1999.
The updated framework (download) is inclusive, medically accurate and developmentally- and age-appropriate. It outlines standards for what a comprehensive and LGBTQ+-inclusive health and physical education program should include: mental and emotional health; personal safety; physical health and hygiene; healthy relationships; nutrition and balanced eating; physical activity and fitness; substance use and misuse; sexual health; and public, community, and environmental health.
The Board’s vote came after more than 60 days of public comment in which the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) received nearly 5,400 responses through a survey, email and regular mail.
“Massachusetts is leading the way by providing a health and physical education framework that is inclusive, medically accurate and age-appropriate to help them make decisions that are right for their health and wellbeing,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We are grateful to the Board for approving the first update to the health education frameworks in more than two decades, and we appreciate the input we received from residents across the state.”
“This framework was approved after years of work by advocates and education leaders, and thousands of pieces of feedback,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said. “I’m glad to see that so many people were involved in the process, and I hope districts find this a valuable resource.”
“The framework the Board approved today is the combined result of contributions and feedback from educators, parents, community members and health and physical education content experts,” said Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler. “It provides a solid foundation for school districts and health and physical education teachers.”
“I’d like to thank my fellow Board members for seeing this process through and recognizing the importance of this update,” said Board Chair Katherine Craven. “Students deserve a health and physical education framework that is up-to-date and relevant.”
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, educators, and health experts began the process of revising the framework in 2018, ultimately leading to the draft shared in June. As part of the process leading up to the draft, DESE worked with educators, administrators, families, students, subject matter experts, and representatives of different types of schools and districts, professional roles and professional and community-based organizations. After the draft was released in June, the public comment period ran through the end of August.
“I’m grateful to everyone who contributed to this process,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “With the hard work of drafting and refining the update behind us, our staff will now focus on providing implementation resources and support for districts.”
State law (G.L. c. 71, § 1 and G.L. c. 71, § 3) requires all public schools to teach health education and physical education, but school districts have discretion to determine how standards are implemented at the local level, including what curriculum and materials they will use.
State law (G.L. c. 71, § 32A) also gives parents the right to opt out their children from lessons related to sex education, which is a small portion of the knowledge covered in this framework.