On April 20, 2010 the Obama Administration withdrew the 2005 Bush administration weakening changes to the Department of Education’s (ED) longstanding athletics policy interpretations of Title IX. The White House Council on Women and Girls organized this announcement at The George Washington University in a ceremony featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Council Chair Valerie Jarrett, and others. Vice President Biden said, “Making Title IX as strong as possible is a no-brainer. What we’re doing here today will better ensure equal opportunity in athletics, and allowing women to realize their potential – so this nation can realize its potential.” Title IX was created in 1972 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
The new guidance from the ED Office for Civil Rights describes how multiple measures should be used to determine compliance with the interest and abilities part of the three-part test to determine equal athletic opportunities for students of both sexes. The change will end the recommendation to use the 2005 model email survey to meet this criteria said USA Today.
“Good riddance to another Bush policy to turn back Title IX – this one designed to limit women’s college athletic options. Can you imagine a college canceling a men’s sport because male students didn’t reply to an email survey? That’s what they tried to do with women’s teams,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, in a press release.
Kim Gandy, vice president and general counsel of the Feminist Majority Foundation also said, “Rescission of this Bush assault on Title IX is a good start, and the next focus should be on other Bush efforts to limit Title IX – especially  changes in the Title IX regulations on single-sex schools and classes, which some schools are interpreting to permit sex discrimination and unequal opportunities for girls in K-12.”
The new changes in athletics guidance do not alter Bush-era regulations that allow sex segregation. The Feminist Majority Foundation currently is working to remove these regulations through their Campaign to Rescind the Bush Administration 2006 Regulation Weakening Title IX Prohibitions Against Sex Discrimination in Education (see PDF).
Media Resources: Feminist Daily News 4/2/10; USA Today 4/20/10; Feminist Majority Foundation Press Release 4/20/10; Feminist Majority Foundation Education Equality, Feminist Majority Foundation Education Equality Program Campaign PDF, The White House Council on Women and Girls, The Press Office of Vice President Biden, The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
Sue Klein, Ed.D,
Education Equity Director
Feminist Majority Foundation