Friday, December 02, 2016

Sex-Segregated Elementary School Violate Title IX, OCR Says

An Idaho elementary school may no longer segregate students by sex after the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights determined that doing so without evidence-based rationale violated Title IX. OCR's investigation was triggered by the ACLU of Idaho, which filed a complaint against Middleton Heights school district in 2013. The ACLU argued that the elementary school's practice of separating boys and girls from first through sixth grade, including even for some nonacademic subjects, was not tailored to the program's stated objective of closing the gender gaps in reading and math proficiency.  For one reason, the program segregated students for more than just math and reading instruction. But even as it applied to reading and math, the school district's rationale was based upon a faulty premise according to the ACLU, which cited evidence that gender gaps in math and reading at Middleton Heights elementary school had been small or nonexistent prior to the segregation program. Instead, it argued, the school district imposed segregation based on impermissibly "overly broad generalizations" and gender stereotypes, such as that boys benefit from a kinetic classroom environment and girls need calm and quiet. The ACLU's complaint criticized the school district for operating on these assumptions and attributing them to entire genders, rather than making an "individualized assessment" to determine which students benefited from which environment.

The school district actually curtailed its decade-long segregation in June, and reportedly had no plans to reinstate it. To make sure, however, OCR is monitoring the school district until 2020.