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New Pa. Law Requires Gender-Based Reporting for School Sports

Pennsylvania became the fourth state last month to require school districts to annually report interscholastic athletic data for male and female students in 7th through 12th grades to the state department of education, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the law back on June 30, which amended the state's Public School Code of 1949. The initial bill, conceived by state senator Mary Jo White, was lumped into the amended school code law, according to a statement from White's website.

Any school district that offers athletic opportunities to 7th through 12th graders will be required, starting next school year, to submit reports detailing the gender-based breakdown in terms of participation figures and spending amounts. Districts will also be required to make the information available to the public, including on any school-affiliated websites.

The state department of education would then use this data to report back to the General Assembly on schools' compliance with Title IX, the federal law which prohibits gender discrimination in any federally financed education program or activity.

"There was a feeling that 'if you put the information out there, someone is going to sue us,' " White told the Inquirer. "But parents don't want to sue. They want to know if a school district can't [offer equal athletic opportunities] because of resources, then at least they have a plan to improve."

Since 1994, postsecondary institutions have been required to report gender-specific athletic data due to the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act. No such federal law exists for K-12 schools, however, to the chagrin of some Title IX experts.

As you might recall, Title IX recently celebrated its 40th birthday last month. In doing my reporting on the anniversary, I spoke with Lisa Maatz, the director of public policy and government relations for the Washington-based American Association of University Women, who specifically mentioned wanting to push for a high school-level act similar to the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act.

We're not quite there yet, but starting next year, Pennsylvania will join Georgia, Kentucky, and New Mexico as the states that do require such reporting at the secondary level, according to the Inquirer.

Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.

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