Term Paper: Title IX and Gender Equity

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Title IX Gender Bias

Abstract This research paper examines the compliance, 30 years later, with the provisions of Title IX as it concerns eliminating gender bias in all school programs, public and private institutions that receive federal funding, including the school lunch program. The research goes to the heart of the provision, looking to understand why non-compliance with the Act is still a problem today.

Title IX and Gender Equity

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, amended by the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, it is prohibited to discriminate against any student or an employee on the basis of sex in any school program in a school, public or private, that receives federal financial assistance, including school lunch programs, which most private schools have (Alexander, 2004, pp. 368-372; 726-729). The only exclusion to the law are Church sponsored schools where the law stands in conflict with the tenets of the church (pp. 368-372). The law demonstrates an interest in achieving equity between girls and boys early on at the academic level; a benefit which might manifest itself in equal wages and opportunities later in life. The equity benefit achieved through the non-discrimination criteria of Title IX might help alleviate social inequities that continue to exist today in the workplace, and especially in communications and in relationships between young men and women. Equity learned early in the lives of children will help children to grow up seeing men and women as partners in work, society, and in personal relationships and marriages. For these reasons, it is important to continually monitor and assess the success of the non-discrimination element of Title IX in schools. In monitoring and assessing the success of efforts to eliminate sexual biases in schools, input, feedback, and analysis from educators and social scientists are important in gaining an understanding of the problems that continue to prevent full non-discriminatory sexual equity in schools. A survey and analysis on how the question of: How have schools adjusted to the no sexual bias provision of Title IX? Is the topic of the study presented in this research study.

Information on how schools have adjusted to non-bias provision of Title IX will assist school officials whose own schools are looking for ways to achieve that success to gain ideas based on the input and feedback of schools that have been identified as outstanding in their achievement. It will reveal the attitudes and opinions of school officials, teachers and administrators, as to whether or not the success in implementing the provisions of Title IX will yield benefits to society in the student's post K-12 life, college life, and as they emerge to take their place in the geo-socio-political emerging world community - or just the American society and community.

Study Organization

The study will be organized into four chapters. The first chapter will, of course, be the introduction, which will provide an in-depth exploration of the history and background leading up to the Title IX provision on sexual bias; the challenges, if any, or the impetus prompting the 1988 Civil Rights Restoration Act; which caused legislators and lawmakers to amend the existing Act. The question of what was the existing inequity perceived by lawmakers in schools that prompted them to act in amending Title IX.

Chapter two will examine the inequities perceived by lawmakers at the levels of education, work and income, and social relationships. What was the discrimination that existed in schools, and how did those conditions manifest themselves socially in ways that brought the lawmakers back to the earliest years of education to attempt to bring about changes? Chapter two will focus on making clear the goals of the lawmakers who amended Title IX to attempt to create a sexually unbiased environment of equity between girls and boys.

Chapter three will examine the actual implementation of the amended Title IX in public and private schools. It will be a close examination of the schools to see to what extent they have gone to satisfy the spirit the no discrimination clause of Title IX. Equally importantly, it will be an examination of the ways in which schools have found to avoid or get around the requirements of the Act. An effort will be made to understand the perspective of those educators opposed to the amended Act: why is the notion of gender equity bad for public schools?

Chapter four will examine the impetus for the schools to organize themselves in accordance with the elements of the Act: lawsuits. The lawsuits that have challenged those schools who have not complied with the non-discrimination clause of Title IX have served as the impetus for schools to implement the changes mandated under Title IX.

Chapter five will attempt to measure the benefits of the amended Act. What changes can be identified at the social and economic levels that can be linked to the amended Act?

Chapter six will be review of the information and data, and a conclusion will be drawn as to the effectiveness of the amended Act. Have the goals of the Act's gender equity been accomplished, and has it made a measurable difference to society and individuals?

Literature Review

The insight, interpretation and input of law Professor Kern Alexander, original author of Public School Law, and co-author of the 6th edition (2004), is tangential to understanding Title IX, and Kern discusses the gender issues in the latest 6th edition of the book. Alexander's work is comprehensive study and interpretation of public school law, but for purposes of the study here, it will be limited to those interpretations and insights and case law related to gender equity.

An axiom that women often quote says, "Unfortunately, a woman must work twice as hard and be twice as good as a man in order to get half as far (Harriman, 1996, p. 137)," is perhaps the exemplar of why the amended Act included the gender equity clause. Ann Harriman's book, Women, Men, Management will explore the inequities of women in the workplace, or those women who actually are paid less for the same job and the same work as men. Harriman's work explores the economic, social, and political environments as they pertain to the impact of the environment on the relationship between men and women. This is not a feminist survey, but a survey to understand the benefits and inequities of the sexes at these various levels in society. Harriman quotes Joyce Nielsen (1978), saying:

What is the very first thing that you notice when you meet someone for the first time?" That question, a favorite of roving reporters or cocktail party guests, usually evokes answers such as "his smile," "her eyes," or "his hair." But the only true answer, of course, is "sex." Some people argue that race is more fundamental to identity than sex and therefore is the primary identifying characteristic, and that may be so. Nevertheless, most people find it essential to determine immediately the sex of another person with whom they interact. On the rare occasion when sexual identity is ambiguous or, even worse, in a case of mistaken identity, we are uncomfortable and embarrassed (Nielsen 1978) Harriman, 1996, p. 1)."

There must be discussion of the liabilities associated with the amended Act. Jo Sanders, Janice Koch, and Josephine Urso (1997), look at the issues surrounding gender in public and private schools, and compliance with the Act. They point out:

Decades of research support the fact that classroom environments are experienced differently by males and females. As early as nursery school, boys and girls sitting in the same classroom, with the same teacher, using the same materials, have different learning experiences. These differences persist through their pre-college education and beyond. Frequently, these experiences marginalize the girls in the areas of mathematics, science, and technology (p. 3)."

How, then, if the learning experiences of girls and boys are different, is the amended Act in the best interest of students? Is this what the Act is addressing; or is the Act identifying an altogether different problem and, as such, serving to remedy that problem. Should there be segregation of the sexes at any level in school environments? Harriman's work will help you understand the answers to those questions.

What we know, to generalize broadly, is that in the early elementary years girls and boys do equally'well in tests and grades in mathematics, science, and technology (MST). As females progress through school and into college and graduate school, despite their frequently higher course grades, they score lower on standardized tests than males and take fewer advanced courses, which means they drop out of mathematics, science, and/or technology earlier than males (Hariman, p. 3)."

Michael Imber and Tyll van Geel (2000) provide a legal perspective to serve as a comparison and contrast to the centrally utilized work of Kern Alexander. Imber and van Geel will either provide concurring opinions with Alexander, or will disagree, and the source of those disagreements, if any, will be examined in detail. Gender equity is but… [END OF PREVIEW]

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