Opinion

District responds to junior varsity soccer question | Q&A with Mr. Federal Way

Mr. Federal Way - File photo
Mr. Federal Way
— image credit: File photo

Q: Mr. Federal Way, I heard there’s an update on the question you answered last week about the school district offering boys junior varsity soccer. Can you please give us that update? (Being honest, Mr. Federal Way emailed Mr. Federal Way this question, because Mr. Federal Way received an “update” about JV soccer).

A: Wow, what a great question. Whoever emailed this question to Mr. Federal Way must be one of the smartest people in the area.

According to an email obtained by Mr. Federal Way from Vince Blauser, the director of secondary schools, the biggest reason why JV soccer isn’t offered in Federal Way has to deal with Title IX. It’s something that is too bad, especially for dozens of boys who would like to play soccer for their respective high schools, but can’t because there is only a varsity team.

Title IX is the national mandate that holds school districts accountable for equity in gender opportunities in athletics.

That response begs the question — is Title IX serving its intended purpose? Mr. Federal Way isn’t so sure.

It seems to Mr. Federal Way that there just aren’t as many girls that turn out for sports than boys at the four high schools.

For the 2010-11 school year, Federal Way’s school population was made up of 51.4 percent boys and 48.6 percent girls. In contrast, the percentage of students participating in athletics was 40.6 female and 59.4 percent male at the four Federal Way high schools.

Title IX essentially states that the gender percentages of the overall student population should match the percentage of students participating in athletics, which means the Federal Way school district is out of compliance with Title IX.

Back in 2011, the district and the U.S. Department of Education entered into an agreement after an allegation was filed that Federal Way wasn’t offering equal sports opportunities for girls.

That complaint essentially led to the district adding girls-only wrestling and bowling to its roster of sporting opportunities. Now, Beamer, Jefferson, Decatur and Federal Way offer 12 sports throughout the year for girls. In contrast, 10 sports are offered for boys only.

But, that doesn’t matter, in terms of Title IX, according to the email from Blauser.

“We have worked diligently to provide a more balanced opportunity for girls to participate in sports, adding girls wrestling and girls bowling to our sports selections over the past two years,” Blauser wrote. “This has helped close the gap. But we continue to see a decline in girls participation in the sports already provided district-wide. By solely providing a JV boys soccer program, we would drop further out of compliance. In doing so, we risk losing federal support dollars.”

But Blauser didn’t close the door on JV boys soccer in the future. He has asked the district’s athletic directors to continue to look for ways to include it.

“I too, want to find a way, within the policies and funding available, to get more students on the soccer field. I believe strongly that athletics plays a vital role in the development of our youth.”

Q: Mr. Federal Way, why is there a new, huge speed limit sign in front of Twin Lakes Elementary?

A: The new, bigger speed limit sign on 320th in front of Twin Lakes was recently installed as part of the Drive 20 campaign.

Over the next year, the city of Federal Way will invest more than $400,000 to install these larger speed limit signs, variable speed limit signs at some locations, and upgrades to student crosswalks, among other features.

Completing upgrades at all locations will take until 2017 and cost an estimated total of $1 million. According to the city, locations were prioritized based on speed studies, traffic volume, accident history and other factors. Funds for the project come from traffic safety camera revenues, which are restricted for traffic safety efforts such as this.

Seems like a giant waste of money to Mr. Federal Way. How many reminders does a driver need in a school zone?

Speaking of the Twin Lakes school zone on 320th, there is already flashing yellow signs, a speed limit sign and a traffic-safety camera. That wasn’t enough? Mr. Federal Way guesses not, which is why the larger speed limit sign was installed.

According to Mr. Federal Way’s thinking, if you need all of these reminders to slow down to 20 mph in a school zone, than you are too old or too dumb to be driving. Might be time to turn in the old driver’s license.

Please, just take some responsibility for your actions and slow down to 20 mph when you see the flashing yellow signs in a school zone. It’s really not that hard.

Q: Did you watch the season finale of “True Detective” on HBO? That Matthew McConaughey is quite an actor. It’s easily the best show on TV and he doesn’t wear deodorant.

A: None of your business.

Got a question for Mr. Federal Way? Email mrfederalway@federalwaymirror.com


 

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