The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association

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The question of whether the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) should separate public and private schools into their own divisions has been a topic of discussion for years. As a product of 14 years of Catholic education, I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in athletics during my high school career. Many of the teams that we played were public school teams from small communities where athletics were almost more important than an education. Unfortunately, I have witnessed firsthand the animosity that has surfaced between public and private schools. The PIAA is the governing body of high school sports in the state of Pennsylvania. The PIAA was founded in 1913 and initially included only public schools as members. Parochial and private schools were admitted to the PIAA in the late 1970’s. In 1997, the PA Charter School Act was passed which allowed for the creation of charter schools. The emergence of charter schools, particularly in the Philadelphia area, created even greater animosity between private and public schools. The Philadelphia schools, many of which are charter schools, were not members of the PIAA until 2003. Their athletic success at the state championship level has raised many concerns from the public sector. The primary problem that the PIAA faces today is the dominance of private schools winning the majority of state titles in all sports. Public schools have geographic boundaries that determine the school a student must

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