Thursday, November 09, 2006

Speaker Pelosi Supports Title IX

On Tuesday, Democrats regained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, ensuring that Nancy Pelosi will be the first woman Speaker of the House when power changes hands in January. Pelosi is a strong advocate for Title IX, as evidenced most recently by her public opposition to OCR's 2005 Clarification that weakend Title IX protection by allowing univerities to rely exclusively on the results of interest surveys to demonstrate compliance.

In a letter to President Bush, co-signed by 140 fellow members of Congress, Pelosi wrote in part:

We strongly believe that use of a survey alone, let alone an e-mail survey, cannot accurately determine student athletic interest or ability. By allowing schools to rely exclusively on a survey, the Clarification creates a major loophole and lowers the standard for Title IX compliance, jeopardizing the number of athletic opportunities available to women and girls in schools across the country. While the Department’s previous policies allowed the use of surveys in determining compliance, schools also had to look at other factors, such as input from coaches and administrators and interest in the surrounding schools and community sports leagues, which together provide a more comprehensive and accurate reflection of student interest. Under the new Clarification, the Department will allow schools to simply interpret a lack of response to the survey as evidence of lack of interest.

This harmful change, issued without public notice or opportunity for public comment, appears to be the latest in a series of deliberate attempts by your Administration to weaken Title IX.

Now that Pelosi has more than just the power to write a letter, I wonder what will happen to the survey policy and other "deliberate attempts" (like the single-sex education policy) by the Bush Administration "to weaken Title IX."

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