Many high school girls lack the information to recognize Title IX violations and to demand change from school officials. But once two Rancho Buena Vista High School students received that information, they acted.
Under a 2006 agreement, Prince George’s County Public Schools promised to adhere to Title IX requirements with a focus on boosting participation and improving conditions for high school girls sports. But problems remain.
Nearly 50 years after the passage of Title IX, the federal government still does not have an accurate way of knowing how many high schools and other secondary schools are in compliance with the statute.
Many of the 109 Title IX complaints related to high school sports filed with the federal government describe substandard facilities for girls — shoddy maintenance, uneven fields, limited or no access to gyms and pools.
We asked the same question of 60 women: “What’s the most important lesson you learned playing high school sports?”
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
There are nearly 24,000 public high schools in the US and 3.4 million girls playing for sports teams. Title IX, the sweeping federal law that guarantees equity in “any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” applies to each one of them. Who is watching over them? What systems ensure that girls in high school sports are getting fair treatment?
“Unlevel Playing Fields" is a four-month investigation into Title IX and high school sports. The reporting reveals a system that is failing countless girls.
The package of work includes 12 text stories, several video pieces and a national poll of high school parents and their student-athletes to measure awareness of Title IX, which turns 50 in June. It was produced by students at the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Nearly two dozen student journalists participated in the project, hunting down documents, combing data and interviewing dozens of principals, coaches, parents and students across the country.