Title IX: State education officials in Florida are stepping up their scrutiny of districts that fail to meet requirements to provide girls the same athletic opportunities as boys.
Officials from the four districts that the state says are the most out of compliance with Title IX, the 1972 federal law barring sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funding, and a state companion law received invitations this month to come to Tallahassee and explain why to Commissioner of Education Tom Gallagher, said Karen Chandler, a spokeswoman for the state education department.
Eight other districts, which each have at least one school out of compliance, will get visits from state administrators, who will review their athletic programs and plans for bringing girls' sports up to par with boys'. The first-ever visits will begin this spring.
Under the Florida Educational Equity Act of 1984, the number of female athletes in a school must be proportionate to its enrollment, and boys' and girls' sports must have equal equipment, staffing, and budgets. Florida schools must submit details of their athletic programs to the state each year.
As an ultimate punishment, the state can withhold general revenue from schools that aren't following the laws. The state has never imposed that penalty, according to Ms. Chandler.
Coach Training: Good training is the key to safe, effective athletic coaching, but many youth sports are overseen by ill-prepared staff members.
A national consortium of educators, coaches, and medical-staff members who came together for a National Coaching Congress last month has agreed to review and evaluate the dozens of programs that train and certify athletic coaches.
"Many of our athletes are coached by well-meaning but unprepared or inadequately educated individuals," said Jody A. Brylinsky, the president of the National Association for Sport & Physical Education, based in Reston, Va.
"We require licenses for barbers, cab drivers, and realtors, but none for sport coaches whose clients are at much greater risk than any of these other professionals."
The National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education, a new NASPE-sponsored coaching-education group, will review the training programs and the accreditation process for all sports organizations that choose to seek such approval.
More information on the program is available from Christine Bolger of NASPE at (703) 476-3417.
--Kerry A. White firstname.lastname@example.org
Vol. 18, Issue 29, Page 7