ND Expert: New federal rules are good news for all students

by Michael O. Garvey

Clark Power Clark Power

A new federal directive from the U.S. Department of Education that requires schools to include students with disabilities in sports programs or provide equal alternative options is good news, according to Clark Power, professor of education in the University of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies.

“Those of us who are committed to uphold the right of all children to play sports in school welcome this directive from the Department of Education with enthusiasm,” Power said of the new federal guidelines, which have reminded many commentators of the 1972 Title IX expansion of athletic opportunities for women.

“Secretary of Education Arne Duncan rightly points out that sports can help to build virtue and teach life lessons," Power said. “Implementation of this directive will lead to accommodations not only in facilities and equipment but also in the way in which coaches approach athletes with special needs. Implementation, we hope, will lead to expanded opportunity for all students, regardless of ability or disability, to experience the physical and psychological benefits of sports participation.”

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1982, Power developed and is co-director of Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion Today (PLACT) program, whose research and conferences assist youth and high school coaches, administrators and parents in nurturing character development through the sports experience. He also is the author of six books and numerous articles on moral education and development, school discipline and moral character.

Contact: Clark Power, 574-315-5913, F.C.Power.1@nd.edu