California Educator

February 2015

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Despite progress, we're not there yet Staci Mosher, girls' softball coach for West Hills College in Coalinga, recalls feeling "cheated" as a student athlete at Sanger High School in the 1980s when Title IX imple- mentation was just beginning. "Girls had lower-quality facilities and uniforms — and a smaller budget and coaching staff," recalls Mosher, West Hills College Faculty Association. "That's just the way it was. The boys had a big new gym; the girls' gym was small and old." In Mosher's view, things have improved since then. "We recruit players, and when we visit high schools, we see a lot of softball fields being renovated, just like little baseball stadiums. It's nice to see." Jane Grace, PE teacher at Scandinavian Middle School in Fresno, recalls that years ago, girls had to play sports on "club" teams because they didn't have teams at school, so they were often overlooked for athletic scholarships. "Now everyone is getting scholarships," says Grace, Fresno Teachers Asso- ciation. "And girls can play on any team they want." There's progress, but schools have a long way to go toward compli- ance, says Elizabeth Kristen, senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society Staci Mosher felt "cheated" as a student athlete in the 1980s when Title IX implementation was just beginning. She coaches girls' softball. T I T L E I X S T A T E S : "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." This means any educa- tional program for girls — including sports, career education and higher education — must receive funding equal to that spent on boys. It also prohibits discrimination when it comes to class assignments, career training, employment practices, and policies toward pregnant or parenting students. Title IX pro- tects students and staff from harassment. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender stu- dents are also protected under Title IX from harassment and discrimination. The U.S. Department of Education issued new guidelines in 2011 for schools to apply the law toward preventing sexual violence — and addressing sexual assaults, which have reportedly increased on campus. Universities must conduct their own investigation, in addi- tion to one conducted by police. Single-sex classrooms were recently ruled illegal under Title IX, on the grounds that generalizations about boys' and girls' interests and learning styles cannot be used to justify different teaching methods. Under Title IX, girls may play on boys' teams if a girls' team doesn't exist. Ivanna Podgorscak, the only girl on Cooper Middle School's wrestling team in Fresno, feels fortunate to have a spot on a boys' team. "Don't judge a book by its cover," she says with a smile. "On the mat, I'm just like anyone else on the team." A LOOK AT THE LAW 37 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 6

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