Friday, October 04, 2013

Settlement Binds D.C. Public Schools to Compliance Plan

Well we aren't expecting much news from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights this week, due to the government shutdown.  Not surprisingly, Title IX enforcement is one of the many casualties of the political situation in Washington. 

But there is some news to report, in that just prior to the shutdown, OCR entered into a resolution agreement with the D.C. Public Schools.  As the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, the agreement settles one of two pending complaints against DCPS alleging gender inequity throughout the city's high school athletic programs. The settlement requires DCPS to gather information about the number of participation opportunities available for girls and boys and to monitor girls' interests in sports that the schools do not yet offer. This information, which DCPS must report to OCR on an annual basis, will form the basis for its obligation to respond to the gender gap in opportunities by adding appropriate new opportunities for girls.  As we noted in an earlier post, at most of the D.C. high schools, a double-digit disparity separates the percentage of athletic opportunities for boys from the percentage of opportunities for girls.

The complaint against DCPS was filed by Herb Dempsey, whom the Post described as "a retired educator and activist in Washington state" who is the "head of a loose coalition of retired men that calls itself 'Old Guys for Title IX'" that has filed thousands of similar complaints across the country.  Another Title IX complaint against  DCPS  filed by the National Women's Law Center on similar grounds remains pending. It is not yet clear how the recent settlement will affect the resolution of that case.