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PEP Rally

The Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress grant, which during the past five years has provided schools across the country with $185 million to help sustain or retain P.E. programs, has become an endangered entity.

When Peyton Manning, Mia Hamm and Dominique Dawes join hundreds of other physical-education advocates in Washington, D.C., this month to celebrate National P.E. Day® and encourage bipartisan support from legislators, the stakes will be higher than ever. After awarding more than $185 million to enhance (and, in some cases, sustain) physical-education programs at hundreds of schools, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, camps, social-services agencies and medical facilities around the country since 2001, the popular Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress (PEP) grant program is now an endangered entity. Its financial allocation will be slashed from $73.4 million in 2005 to $55 million in 2006, 'the first year of a two-year phase-out of the program in order to redirect resources to higher-priority activities,' if President Bush's fiscal year 2006 Department of Education budget proposal is approved by Congress.

'We're going to pull out the stops on May 4 to make the congressional advocacy portion of National P.E. Day the biggest, most powerful, most energetic and hopefully most effective we've ever had,' says Tom Cove, president and chief executive officer of SGMA International, an organization instrumental in the evolution of both the PEP grant and P.E.4Life, a nonprofit organization striving to create quality, daily physical-education programs in America's schools.

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