Title IX Increases Muscle Mass: Vice President Biden Announces Strengthening of Title IX

April 22, 2010

RESTON, Va., April 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS), an association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, applauds the Obama administration and Vice President Biden for issuing a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that withdraws a 2005 interpretation of Title IX policy. Colleges and Universities will no longer be able to rely on student surveys to prove they are meeting the requirements of Title IX. Title IX was enacted in 1972 with the purpose of mandating that any educational institution receiving federal funding for programs and activities may not discriminate on the basis of gender. The 2005 policy issued compliance standards that were widely criticized for being inadequate and inconsistent with Title IX goals.

“Making Title IX as strong as possible is a no-brainer,” said Vice President Biden. “What we’re doing here today will better ensure equal opportunity in athletics, and allow women to realize their potential – so this nation can realize its potential.”

Responding to the press conference at the George Washington University featuring Vice President Joseph Biden, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan NAGWS President Shawn Ladda stated, “It is amazing to me that over 35 years after Title IX was enacted, we still have educational institutions that are not in compliance. This is a reflection of entrenched societal values, which are slow in changing to provide fair and equitable opportunities for all. I have renewed faith that our current leaders will take actions to demand that all institutions embrace the spirit of the law.”

Linda Jean Carpenter, PhD, JD, and R. Vivian Acosta, PhD, longtime members of NAGWS and authors of the leading longitudinal study on Women in Intercollegiate Athletics, explain the significance of this announcement.

Three methods for showing participation compliance have existed for decades. An institution needs to satisfy only one of the three methods in order to demonstrate that it is providing equal access to participation opportunities. An institution could elect to show that:

  • the ratio of males/females in its athletics program reflects the male/female ratio of its student body, or
  • the institution has a continuing history of upgrading its women’s program, or
  • the institution has met the interests and abilities of the females students.

In 2005 ‘Additional Clarification’ from the Department of Education/Office for Civil Rights (OCR) offered what many perceived as a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card to any institution that wanted to show Title IX participation compliance by using the ‘interests and abilities’ option. The 2005 Clarification offered an OCR constructed survey that many thought had fatal flaws. OCR seemed to indicate that the way to compliance through the interests and abilities option was simple. The institution conducted the OCR email survey. A presumption of compliance was granted once the survey was conducted. What could be simpler? All that was needed was to conduct the survey; the results were of no consequence to the presumption of compliance.

Fortunately, few institutions have used the 2005 OCR survey method. However, the issuance of OCR’s April 20, 2010 ‘Dear Colleague’ letter totally removes the flawed survey option and its ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card from OCR’s lexicon. The April 20, 2010 ‘Dear Colleague Letter’ (see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-20100420.html) also provides two other very valuable items. In direct terms, the letter provides a full and difficult-to-misconstrue discussion of how to meet the interest and abilities option. Its issuance also indicates that now, in Title IX’s 38th year, OCR believes it is time to replace confusion and political posturing with the simple expectation that adults of goodwill will do what is right and when they don’t, OCR will exercise its enforcement power to insist that they do better.

The National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) is a century-old

membership organization with a mission to develop and deliver equitable and quality sport opportunities to all girls and women through relevant research, advocacy, leadership development, educational strategies and programming in a manner that promotes social justice and change. NAGWS is one of five national associations of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) based in Reston, VA.

AAHPERD, an alliance of five national associations, six district associations, and a

Research Consortium, provides its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support, and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. It is the largest organization of professionals involved in all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. AAHPERD serves 22,000 members and has its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, 25 miles west of Washington, DC. To learn more, visit www.aahperd.org

SOURCE American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

Source: newswire

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