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candlegal
White House requires school athletics for disabled
January 25, 2013 at 7:23 AM


Says changes are necessary to level the playing field

In a sweeping move that will affect all American schools, the Obama administration has told districts they must offer students with disabilities the same sports opportunities as other children.

Schools now must include disabled students in existing athletic programs or provide them with equal alternatives. The directive is a huge victory for disability-rights advocates and it immediately drew praise from many in the education sector. But others fear that the new requirements will blow up school district budgets at a time when few have money to spare.

The federal government argues the new rule is necessary to level the playing field for all U.S. children.

“Sports can provide invaluable lessons in discipline, selflessness, passion and courage, and this guidance will help schools ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to benefit from the life lessons they can learn on the playing field or on the court,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

The move comes just after the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark law that required schools and colleges to offer equal athletic opportunities to women. Unlike Title IX, however, the Education Department’s latest “guidance” to school districts isn’t technically a new law. Rather, it’s a new interpretation of the existing Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prevents discrimination against disabled students.

While the new guidance does not require disabled students be allowed entry into any sports program they choose, it does require schools to make adjustments to how they run their athletic teams. For example, school track teams must use a “visual cue” alongside a starter pistol so children with hearing impairments can run and not be at a disadvantage.

The guidance likely will lead to more schools offering wheelchair basketball or similar programs to disabled students.

“It’s going to open up a whole new door of opportunity to our nation’s school children with disabilities,” said Bev Vaughn, executive director of the nonprofit American Association of Adapted Sports Programs.

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, also applauded the move.

“All students have the human and civil right to a quality public education with equal access that develops their potential, independence and character,” the labor group said in a statement.

The guidance has its roots in a 2010 study by the Government Accountability Office that found students with disabilities participate in sports at much lower rates. Supporters of the Education Department’s new policy acknowledge that fixing that gap will be difficult.

“Is it easy? No,” said Brad Hedrick, director of disability services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Hall of Famer in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. “But it is feasible and possible that a meaningful and viable programming can be created.”

The Education Department has given no firm timetable for when districts must comply with the guidance. It’s also unclear whether federal funding will be provided to states and schools, or whether they’ll be required to fund additional programs or modify existing ones on their own dime.

Critics believe that the idea, while noble, may amount to yet another unfunded federal mandate.

“This is a worthy area for discussion and policymaking, but the [government] needs to tread lightly here because of the potentially complicated and expensive ways this guidance could be interpreted,” said Michael J. Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank.

Story Continues →



Replies

  • brookiecookie87
    January 25, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    That's awesome to hear.

  • radioheid
    January 25, 2013 at 8:58 AM

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?

  • candlegal
    January 25, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    I agree with you.   This is not coming at a very good time.   Many schools are already trying to figure out how to stop lay offs, etc. because of budget considerations.

    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?


  • talia-mom
    January 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Doesn't matter.  Tax the rich.

    personally, I think parents should have to pay for all of athletics.


    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?



  • radioheid
    January 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

     Only the rich would be able to participate. The cost of shoes, under armor, practice balls and other gear not supplied by schools is already a barrier for many poor kids in school athletics. I had to buy my niece's soccer gear this past year, or she wouldn't have been able to play because her mother couldn't afford it. Just shoes, shin guards, a practice ball and water bottle set me back nearly a hundred bucks. Soccer is my niece's greatest shot at a college scholarship, so it is very important.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Doesn't matter.  Tax the rich.

    personally, I think parents should have to pay for all of athletics.

     

    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?

     

     

     

  • talia-mom
    January 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Then the school and the parents and the children fundraises for those without the money.    This is pointless to spend tens and tens thousands of dollars a year on activities that may help 1 in 1000 kids get a scholarship when teachers don't have enough supplies.


    Quoting radioheid:

     Only the rich would be able to participate. The cost of shoes, under armor, practice balls and other gear not supplied by schools is already a barrier for many poor kids in school athletics. I had to buy my niece's soccer gear this past year, or she wouldn't have been able to play because her mother couldn't afford it. Just shoes, shin guards, a practice ball and water bottle set me back nearly a hundred bucks. Soccer is my niece's greatest shot at a college scholarship, so it is very important.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Doesn't matter.  Tax the rich.

    personally, I think parents should have to pay for all of athletics.


    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?



     



  • radioheid
    January 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

     Sports offer education in a very important part of human culture the world over, which is why virtually every high school in America, public and private, has an athletics program. I personally feel that at least one year's participation in a team sport should be required for high school graduation as part of each school's phys ed program. The lessons learned playing sports are invaluable, and cannot be learned in a classroom.

    My only concern with the mandate is the lack of funding, and how very unrealistic this would be in a rural school that has just one or two handicapped kids in the entire student body.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Then the school and the parents and the children fundraises for those without the money.    This is pointless to spend tens and tens thousands of dollars a year on activities that may help 1 in 1000 kids get a scholarship when teachers don't have enough supplies.

     

    Quoting radioheid:

     Only the rich would be able to participate. The cost of shoes, under armor, practice balls and other gear not supplied by schools is already a barrier for many poor kids in school athletics. I had to buy my niece's soccer gear this past year, or she wouldn't have been able to play because her mother couldn't afford it. Just shoes, shin guards, a practice ball and water bottle set me back nearly a hundred bucks. Soccer is my niece's greatest shot at a college scholarship, so it is very important.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Doesn't matter.  Tax the rich.

    personally, I think parents should have to pay for all of athletics.

     

    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • jlo1313
    by jlo1313
    January 25, 2013 at 9:53 AM

     This is where my mind immediately went.  In the area I live in, more money is in the budget for football and basketball than there is for science and arts or music.  While a few circumstances led to the move anyway, I had the option to keep my kids where they were or move them to where I live, I chose to move them to where I live because the schools there offer science programs and music and are still very privately sponsored for sports.  Their previous district slashed science from the budget and arts and music were the last to get cut.  While they offered some science education in the class room, it was kind of a big joke, if 30 minutes a week was dedicated to science, I would be surprised.  In my mind, science is a foundation to many jobs and common sense things kids need to know later in life. 

    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?

     

  • timeforprogress
    January 25, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    I think personally our obsession with school sports is a huge distraction from what school is actually for.  In our schools, the children who are eager to learn are overshadowed by the children who are athletic. 

    I think sports should be something handled by communities and should be completely removed from public schools.  I just think the money could be better spent on math and science education.  Let parks and rec host athletics, and let schools be a place for education. 

    Quoting radioheid:

     Sports offer education in a very important part of human culture the world over, which is why virtually every high school in America, public and private, has an athletics program. I personally feel that at least one year's participation in a team sport should be required for high school graduation as part of each school's phys ed program. The lessons learned playing sports are invaluable, and cannot be learned in a classroom.

    My only concern with the mandate is the lack of funding, and how very unrealistic this would be in a rural school that has just one or two handicapped kids in the entire student body.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Then the school and the parents and the children fundraises for those without the money.    This is pointless to spend tens and tens thousands of dollars a year on activities that may help 1 in 1000 kids get a scholarship when teachers don't have enough supplies.


    Quoting radioheid:

     Only the rich would be able to participate. The cost of shoes, under armor, practice balls and other gear not supplied by schools is already a barrier for many poor kids in school athletics. I had to buy my niece's soccer gear this past year, or she wouldn't have been able to play because her mother couldn't afford it. Just shoes, shin guards, a practice ball and water bottle set me back nearly a hundred bucks. Soccer is my niece's greatest shot at a college scholarship, so it is very important.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Doesn't matter.  Tax the rich.

    personally, I think parents should have to pay for all of athletics.


    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?



     



     


  • radioheid
    January 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

     I learned more about physiology from my high school cross country coach than I did in 4 years of high school science. Sports play a crucial role in physical education, IMO.

    Quoting timeforprogress:

    I think personally our obsession with school sports is a huge distraction from what school is actually for.  In our schools, the children who are eager to learn are overshadowed by the children who are athletic. 

    I think sports should be something handled by communities and should be completely removed from public schools.  I just think the money could be better spent on math and science education.  Let parks and rec host athletics, and let schools be a place for education. 

    Quoting radioheid:

     Sports offer education in a very important part of human culture the world over, which is why virtually every high school in America, public and private, has an athletics program. I personally feel that at least one year's participation in a team sport should be required for high school graduation as part of each school's phys ed program. The lessons learned playing sports are invaluable, and cannot be learned in a classroom.

    My only concern with the mandate is the lack of funding, and how very unrealistic this would be in a rural school that has just one or two handicapped kids in the entire student body.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Then the school and the parents and the children fundraises for those without the money.    This is pointless to spend tens and tens thousands of dollars a year on activities that may help 1 in 1000 kids get a scholarship when teachers don't have enough supplies.

     

    Quoting radioheid:

     Only the rich would be able to participate. The cost of shoes, under armor, practice balls and other gear not supplied by schools is already a barrier for many poor kids in school athletics. I had to buy my niece's soccer gear this past year, or she wouldn't have been able to play because her mother couldn't afford it. Just shoes, shin guards, a practice ball and water bottle set me back nearly a hundred bucks. Soccer is my niece's greatest shot at a college scholarship, so it is very important.

    Quoting talia-mom:

    Doesn't matter.  Tax the rich.

    personally, I think parents should have to pay for all of athletics.

     

    Quoting radioheid:

     I'm trying to be a realist here---where is the money going to come from? Many schools are already cutting their art and music programs to save money in budget crunches. What will they take away next to accomodate this mandate?

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

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