Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fall Sports: Title IX, Pay to Play

This fall, Skyline High School has a female kicker on their football team! Like so many other kickers, Tori Norris grew up playing soccer, and has played soccer for Skyline. (Boys' soccer is a fall sport, so they can't recruit boy soccer players if they also want to play soccer. Boys' soccer is a fall sport thanks to a Title IX lawsuit that dragged on and on and that I wrote about here. Girls' soccer is a spring sport.) Anyway, read about Tori and the Skyline football team here.

Chelsea has rescinded its pay-to-play requirement for sports. It's going to cost them money, but on the other hand, they are very sensitive to the fact that athletics are very important to a large sector of the community (and as the article points out, that's true for athletes but also true for spectators), and that enrollment in sports dropped by double digits when pay to play started. That is true, even though there were exemptions for people getting free and reduced price lunches. It's rather easy to understand why--people just above the free/reduced price lunch cutoff probably comprise a fair number of the students. When you think about it, the median family income in the country is something like $52,000. (I can't remember the exact amount, but I heard the number the other day.) In other words, half the families in the country make less than $52,000. And yet, a family of four whose income is $50,000 is going to be at 250% of the poverty level. They probably have enough income for rent/mortgage, food, gas, and other necessities--but not a lot left over. [Added slightly later: in fact, it turns out that for a family of five, they will qualify for a reduced price lunch with an income of $49,969.]
“Most students will not ask for help, they just won’t show up,” Vogel said.
Read Pete Cunningham's article.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Preschool: Ecology, Pacifism, Solidarity

I recently got back from Montreal, where I found this lovely mural on a "Service de Garde," or preschool/child care center. And seriously--where in the United States would you find a mural on a school (even a child care center!) that promotes ecology, pacifism, and solidarity? (If you find one, send me a picture!)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympics Redux

Some people are calling these the Title IX Olympics because there are more women than men competing. Here is what the Title IX blog has to say about that. [Partial summary: Title IX is a US law and the Olympics are an international competition.]

On the other hand. . . the New York Times reports that by the second Saturday in the Olympics, forty years after passage of Title IX, U.S. women won 27 of U.S.'s 41 gold medals, 54 of its 95 total medals. And that is due to Title IX.

You can read about my experiences with Title IX here.

And, I usually hate ads. But I have to admit that I really like the Proctor and Gamble ads--behind every Olympic athlete there is a mom. OK, I know that is not always true--sometimes it's a dad, aunt, uncle, coach, mentor. . . but most of the time it is true. . . and it definitely touches a chord for me even though non of my children will be Olympians. I have put in my time driving kids to athletic practices and events, though. 
Did you catch any of the Olympic race walking? It was amazing. It reminded me that at my high school track meets, in New York, we had race walking. But track meets in Ann Arbor don't appear to have race walking. I wonder why that is?

You might have noticed that my blogging has slowed down a bit. You can blame that on the Olympics too. I'm staying up far too late watching them. Which reminds me, the Paralympics are coming up next. I am looking forward to watching them as well, although the coverage is not nearly as extensive (read about it here). As those of you with children with special education needs know, disability rights is still a frontier that needs a lot of activism.

And that reminds me--the Michigan High School Athletics Association has taken an important step in allowing students with disabilities to access athletics. Because of the advocacy initiated by an Ishpeming parent, and support from lots of parents, teachers, and coaches around the state, MHSAA has changed its rules. MHSAA rules state that if you turn 19 before September 1, you can't do high school sports. And now, we finally have a limited waiver for kids with certain disabilities. This is something that a lot of other states have already done. Many thanks to dad Dean Dompierre, and his son Eric for paving the way for others.