Last week the Department of Education released some guidance (guidance, not regulations) about access to sports programs for special needs students. It’s one of those things that’s at once not a very big deal overall, but for certain groups a really big deal. It’s also one of those things that sends the usual suspects into a tizzy often based on half-truths or selective readings. I take a look at what the new rules mean, where they came from, and why in a new TIME column:
When I heard last week that the U.S. Department of Education was releasing new guidelines about what schools must do to provide access to school sports for disabled students, I was in Charlottesville, Va., watching the University of Virginia’s women’s basketball team throttle Boston College. And in a nice bit of coincidence, the halftime show for that game was an exhibition match of adult wheelchair basketball. Conservative pundits fearing federal overreach claim that President Obama is inventing a right to wheelchair basketball, that he’s forcing schools to start up such teams. He’s not. But the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is doing something important, and hopefully it will prod more schools to give more students a way to participate in sports.
And while you’re there TIME’s Sean Gregory takes a look at the same issue on the news side.