April 20, 2010
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Washington, D.C. — Today, Vice President Biden announced that the Administration has issued a 'Dear Colleague' letter that withdraws a 2005 interpretation of Title IX policy. Enacted in 1972, Title IX mandates that any educational institution receiving federal funding for programs and activities cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. The 2005 policy issued compliance standards that were widely criticized for being inadequate and inconsistent with Title IX's nondiscrimination goals. Today's announcement reverses this interpretation, and returns to a more thorough test for assessing compliance with Title IX. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, joined the Vice President at George Washington University for this announcement.
"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."
"There is no doubt that Title IX has dramatically increased athletic, academic, and employment opportunities for women and girls, and educational institutions have made big strides in providing equal opportunities in sports," said Secretary Duncan. "Yet discrimination continues to exist in college athletic programs—and we should be vigilant in enforcing the law and protecting this important civil right."
For more than three decades, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided three options to determine whether athletic programs at colleges, universities and secondary schools provide equal opportunities for athletic participation. Under one of these three options, OCR policy evaluated multiple indicators to determine the athletic interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex at educational institutions. The new 'Dear Colleague' letter clarifies that OCR does not consider survey results alone to be sufficient evidence of a lack of student interest or ability in sports.
Today's event at George Washington University also provided sports activities for youth.
"Title IX has helped women to compete at all levels in athletics, which today's event showcased," said Valerie Jarrett. "By working through the agencies, the White House Council on Women and Girls will continue to support laws such as Title IX that provide opportunities for young girls to get ahead in life."
Today's 'Dear Colleague' letter also provides recommendations for effective procedures for collecting, maintaining, and evaluating information on students' interests and abilities, including technical assistance on the nondiscriminatory design and implementation of surveys as one indicator among others of student interests and abilities.
For more information about Title IX, or to review the 'Dear Colleague' letter, please visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/publications.html#TitleIX-Docs
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