The purpose of this study was to analyze state school-based physical education (SBPE) policies’ text and the resulting legal implications. A textualist approach to the legal method of Statutory Interpretation framed the data analysis. Findings revealed the difficulty of determining with clarity a majority of PE statutes and it is probable that based on current wording, courts could not play a role in interpreting these statutes, thus leaving interpretation to educational authorities. Significant variability of how authorities interpret statutes increases the challenge of consistent interpretation or adherence to the NASPE Guidelines for Quality Physical Education and whether meaningful policy study can be conducted to determine if SBPE makes an impact.
McCullick, Baker, Tomporowski and Isaac are with The University of Georgia—Kinesiology, Athens, GA. Templin is with Purdue University—Health and Kinesiology, Lafayette, IN. Lux is with the University of Wyoming—Division of Kinesiology and Health, Laramie, WY.