Women’s Groups Outraged by OCR Clarification

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education are so outraged by the Additional Clarification in Title IX’s Policy Interpretation that they created a “Save Title IX” campaign. Holly Hunter, Geena Davis, and Senator Birch Bayh are the active, honorary chairs of this campaign.

On March 17, 2005, the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education issued an “Additional Clarification” to Title IX policy. It allows the use of surveys to determine student interests and abilities. How else do you accommodate students interests if you don’t ask them directly what they want? Surveys are a straightforward, fair and obvious solution.

According to the Title IX Policy Interpretation (Section C), to provide equal opportunities for males and females, one must:

  • Have knowledge of the desire of individuals to participate in athletics
  • Recognize the ability to participate within each of these individuals
  • Evaluate the development of the competitive levels involved

The interests and abilities of students is at the heart of Title IX – NOT the relative proportion of the sexes (quota system). Interests and abilities must be measured in order to appropriately provide athletic opportunities.  A standardized measure of interest for both male and female students has been long overdue.

BUT…the women’s groups vehemently disagree.  The Save Title IX campaign leaders decry the Department’s “Clarification” and accuse the Bush Administration of resorting to “stealth tactics”.  Olympic Gymnast Dominque Dawes told the Senate Committee in 2006 (then president of the Women’s Sports Foundation) that surveys would set women’s athletics back to “the days of Billie Jean King”.  The naysayers of the Clarification say surveys are:

  • A giant loophole
  • A way for advocates for men’s sports to erase Title IX gains that women and girls have made in sports and to funnel resources to more ‘deserving male athletes’
  • A potential threat that will stop the growth of women’s sports in its tracks
  • A clear opportunity for non-compliant schools to escape adding more participation opportunities for girls and women

“Save Title IX” organizations are walking the halls of Congress opposing the Additional Clarification and have staged a national action plan to fight it.  So, MOMSS, let’s roll up our sleeves and build a bigger army. We need to “Restore the Original Intent of Title IX”.  This Federal Law was passed to create gender equitable schools that could not discriminate between men and women in athletics.

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