The title of this post is the message we conveyed to the Department of Education in response to their request for public input regarding the collection of Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) data. If you’re not familiar with the EADA, check out our one-pager here that explains what the law requires of colleges and universities (for example, the numbers of men and women playing sports and expenses allocated to each team). The Department helpfully puts all of this info on a website where anyone can look up any institution and print out a few pages with all the information that schools are required to disclose. Read more »
The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) just released much-anticipated guidance (available here) on the inclusion of students with disabilities in extracurricular activities – which includes club, intramural, and interscholastic athletic programs.
The guidance provides information to schools on their obligations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in federally funded programs. Section 504 requires schools (traditional and charter) to provide a qualified student with a disability an opportunity to benefit from the school district’s program equal to that of students without disabilities. Under Section 504, a disability is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activities (students who receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) qualify as students with disabilities under Section 504). Read more »
After refusing to voluntarily do the right thing for well over a decade, Franklin County High School has finally filed an agreement in court (PDF) to schedule its girls’ basketball team equally in primetime slots (Friday and Saturday games). Unfortunately, it took a Title IX lawsuit to convince the school that scheduling almost all of the boys’ games on weekends and only about half of the girls’ games on weekends was unfair. Nevermind that the United States Department of Education sent a letter to Indiana high schools expressing concern over their scheduling practice of reserving primetime slots for boys’ games – in 1997! Read more »
Under the Clery Act, Paterno had a legal obligation to inform the proper authorities after learning of the sexual assault an assistant coach had witnessed. Instead, Paterno sat on the report. He even delayed speaking with his supervisors so as not to “interfere with their weekends.”
Child care and early education issues are gaining increased attention at the federal and state level. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services announced that of the $550 million appropriated for the Race to the Top education grant competition in 2012, $133 million will be used for a second round of Early Learning Challenge grants to help states strengthen their early care and education systems. (Five states that just missed out on the first round of funding will be eligible to compete for this latest round.) At the state level, nearly half of the governors mentioned early care and education in their state of the state addresses this year, indicating they recognize that giving children get a strong start helps children, and their states, succeed in the future. Read more »
Earlier this week, the federal district court for the District of Columbia dismissed a case brought by the American Sports Council against the U.S. Department of Education, in which ASC tried to stop the Department from applying to high schools Title IX’s three-part test for determining whether schools are providing males and females with equal opportunities to play sports. Of course, the law has always applied to high schools; this was merely the latest attempt to weaken Title IX’s application to sports.
You would think that everyone would be in favor of treating our sons and daughters equally, but ASC and similar groups have long argued that the law hurts males by requiring schools to cut their opportunities in order to provide girls and women with opportunities that they don’t really want, because they are inherently less interested in playing sports. Fortunately, the federal courts of appeals have unanimously rejected such arguments, which are premised on the very stereotypes that Title IX was enacted to combat. Read more »
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released the 2009-2010 civil rights data collection which tracks a number of equity indicators from schools around the country, everything from discipline rates to rates of sexual harassment, from schools around the country. We at NWLC were thrilled to see that the CRDC data has been cross tabulated by sex and race.
Let me digress. When data is collected, it can be disaggregated. That means that rather than just take a count of how many kids are suspended in a year, disaggregated data would count how many White kids and how many Native American kids are suspended in a year. Or you can disaggregate by sex and count how many girls and how many boys were subject to physical restraint in school. Cross tabulation takes that one step further and lets you look at one or more of these categories together.
Unfortunately, the emphasis on the serious educational crisis for boys of color has resulted in little focus on the challenges facing girls of color. In fact, girls at risk — particularly girls of color — have alarmingly low graduation rates. Over 45% of Native American female students fail to graduate on time, if at all; the same is true for 38% of female African American and 39% of Latina students. Cross-tabulated data help us to ensure that problems faced by different subgroups of students are not masked, so educational interventions (or lack thereof) will be data driven, not based on stereotypes. Read more »
The recent revelation that Yale quarterback and would-be Rhodes Scholar Patrick Witt was accused of sexual assault illustrates the importance of transparent and robust grievance procedures for addressing incidents of sexual violence at schools. The victim filed an informal complaint instead of participating in the school’s formal adjudicatory process for sexual harassment and assault allegations. It is perhaps unsurprising that she would choose the more informal route—even though that route, curiously, offers no possibility of disciplinary consequences for the accused—as those who come forward with allegations of sexual assault on their college campuses often find that the experience of dealing with their schools’ formal, cold, bureaucratic, and often unhelpful processes can be traumatizing. These are the types of barriers that those who experience sexual assault all too often face when they attempt to seek justice through their schools’ grievance processes.
But last spring, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance reminding schools that sexual harassment, including violence, is a form of sex discrimination that schools must take seriously and treat as a civil rights issue. The Guidance was needed to help schools, colleges, and universities more effectively prevent and respond to sexual harassment and violence on their campuses, as required by Title IX. Read more »
The benefits of racial integration have been demonstrated time and again. At the National Women’s Law Center, we believe that racial integration is not only essential for equality of opportunity and elimination of stereotypes on the basis of race, but that integration benefits women by undermining powerful gender stereotypes.
Unfortunately, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted last week, “Racial isolation remains far too common in America’s classrooms today and it is increasing. This denies our children the experiences they need to succeed in a global economy, where employers, coworkers, and customers will be increasingly diverse. It also breeds inequity, which is inconsistent with America’s core values.”
Which is why we were excited that on Friday, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education released joint guidance for how K-12 schools, colleges, and universities can voluntarily consider race to achieve diversity and avoid racial isolation. The guidance is meant to clarify three earlier Supreme Court decisions related to diversity in school (Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger). The new guidance nullifies two earlier guidance letters from 2008 that incorrectly described those court decisions and discouraged school districts from making efforts to diversify their student populations. Read more »