Sunday, November 16, 2008

I know that you understand the positive role sports can play in ones life- for I am living proof of this.     

Because I am committed to ensure that the young girl who comes after me has the same opportunities to participate in sports that I had I  recently joined
a coalition of advocates spearheading The California Athletic Equity Law. This is a  piece of state  legislation that would dramatically increase  the
number of opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in sports.     

To learn more or to get involved you can go to:   

www.titleix2.org - Title IX2 (Title 9 Squared)

I have pasted the text of an introductory cover letter below. Please don't hesitate
to contact me should you have any questions or if you'd like to see the proposed text of the bill. We are courting the legislature and would welcome suggestions
on individuals who may be willing to take the lead and author the bill in either the state assembly or the senate.     

Some reading this blog are not from California- it is still important to be aware of what we're doing out here- so you can learn from our mistakes
and our best practices.    

 All students with disabilities deserve the chance to participate in competitive sport.    

Please join me in spreading the word about this important effort.      

In sport,    

Jessie Lorenz   


"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."   
T. S. Elliot      

(Begin coverletter)   

California Athletics Equity Law for Students with Disabilities     

Dear Friends and Colleagues,    

We are asking you to join us in our efforts to create the California Athletics Equity Law for Students with Disabilities.  We are a group of disabled athletes,
parents, coaches, educators and friends.    

Our goal is to create system change by promoting legislation in California to ensure that youth with disabilities receive the benefits that come from equal
access to school physical education and athletic programs. This law then could be used as a national model.    

The benefits of youth participating in school sports programs are well documented. Grade-point averages, attendance rates, and graduation rates are higher
for student-athletes, while discipline referrals and dropout rates are lower.  Participating in sports helps to teach the value of hard work, goal setting,
communication and teamwork.  Additionally, participating in sports helps to establish healthy life style habits.     

Unfortunately, the opportunity for students with disabilities to participate in their schools interscholastic sports programs does not exist in California.
Presently, a limited number of kids with disabilities get access to sports through community-based organizations in a few locations in California.  These
organizations offer exciting and challenging athletic opportunities, but operate outside of the school system and can serve only a fraction of the disabled
population.      

It is now time to guarantee that all California school children with disabilities receive the same benefits of school sports programs as their non-disabled
peers.  This April, the state of Maryland passed the legislation that we are working on, the first of it’s kind in the country.  Similar efforts are taking
place throughout the country.  Our plan is to build a coalition of support and in the fall of 2008 identify a California legislator to author our bill
for the 2009 session.     

This historic change will not take place unless those of us in the disabled sports movement take a leadership role in this effort. We need help with every
aspect of this effort, from hosting informational get-togethers, recruiting supporters, contacting legislators, testifying at legislative hearings and
contributing financially to support this effort.  Enclosed you will find a draft of the legislation, an information page and a sign-up form.      

Together, we can help bring about this historic change.    

Signed,    


Rick Spittler,    

Director, Title IX2    

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