Title IX Regulations
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Title IX Regulations
On May 6, Secretary DeVos took action to strengthen Title IX protections for survivors of sexual misconduct and to restore due process in campus proceedings to ensure all students can pursue an education free from sex discrimination. For the first time ever, the Department's Title IX regulation defines sexual harassment, including sexual assault, as unlawful sex discrimination. The regulation also holds schools accountable for failure to respond equitably and promptly to sexual misconduct incidents and ensures a more reliable adjudication process that is fair to all students.
The regulation comes after years of research, careful deliberation, and critical inputs from survivors, advocates, students, school administrators, Title IX coordinators, and the American people, including more than 124,000 public comments.
Among the key provisions of the Title IX regulation:
- defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex;
- provides a consistent, legally sound framework on which survivors, the accused, and schools can rely;
- requires schools to offer clear, accessible options for any person to report sexual harassment;
- empowers survivors to make decisions about how a school responds to incidents of sexual harassment;
- requires schools to offer survivors supportive measures, such as class or dorm reassignments or no-contact orders;
- protects K-12 students by requiring elementary and secondary schools to respond promptly when anyschool employee has notice of sexual harassment;
- restores fairness on college campuses by upholding all students' right to written notice of allegations, the right to an advisor, and the right to submit, cross-examine, and challenge evidence at a live hearing;
- shields survivors from having to come face-to-face with the accused during a hearing and from answering questions posed personally by the accused;
- requires schools to select one of two standards of evidence — preponderance of evidence standard or clear and convincing evidence standard — and apply the selected standard evenly to proceedings for all students and employees;
- requires schools to offer an equal right of appeal for both parties to a Title IX proceeding;
- gives schools flexibility to use technology to conduct Title IX investigations and hearings remotely; and
- protects students and employees by prohibiting schools from using Title IX in a manner that deprives students and employees of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The regulation is effective August 14, 2020.
To learn more, see the White House fact sheet, Secretary's video announcement, final rule overview, summary of major provisions, comparison to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and OCR webinar.
Over the last two weeks, the White House, the Department of Education, and other federal agencies have released more guidance to support schools, educators, and families regarding COVID-19. Many of the new documents are listed below. The Department continues to update its COVID-19 information and resources web page with the most current information, and any questions for the Department may be directed to COVIDemail@example.com.
- Coronavirus.gov, CDC.gov/Coronavirus, and USA.gov/Coronavirus
- President's Guidelines for Opening Up America Again
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Coronavirus Rumor Control
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for School Settings (last updated May 14) and Resources for Institutions of Higher Education (last updated May 9)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding timeline
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
- Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Questions and Answers for Postsecondary Institutions on Issues Related to the COVID-19 National Emergency
- Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund's Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students reporting
- Education Stabilization Fund Formula Grants to Outlying Areas
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Frequently Asked Questions about Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
- Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) COVID-19 Questions & Answers: Administration of State Vocational Rehabilitation Services, American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and Randolph-Sheppard Programs
Meanwhile, Vice President Pence, Secretary DeVos, and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx held a call with higher education leaders, during which they discussed America's response to COVID-19 and phased economic revival, as well as best practices to get students back to school in the fall.
#ClassOf2020: We know this isn't the senior year you expected. You put in the hard work & rose to the challenge. There may be no stage, no standing shoulder to shoulder w/ your fellow grads — but know we are with you, cheering you on and proud of how far you've come. You did it!
In recognition of National Teacher Day (May 5) and Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8), especially during this period of national emergency, senior officers across government saluted the nation's educators.
President Trump issued a Presidential Message on National Teacher Day. "The classroom is a unique place for each student, providing them a sanctuary to learn and grow," he said. "The past months, however, have tested our traditional educational models, as the Coronavirus outbreak has required our nation's teachers to adapt and provide instruction to their students through increasingly innovative means. America's teachers have risen to the challenge by developing and implementing imaginative, creative, and resourceful strategies to bring their classrooms and lesson plans into the homes of their students. These adaptations to implement distance education are a reminder of the phenomenal work educators perform every day to ensure that our nation's young people have ample access to valuable learning opportunities."
"Teachers help shape the minds of children during their most impressionable years, strengthen and support their communities, and develop the leaders of tomorrow," he added. "Today, we pay tribute to these extraordinary and thoughtful men and women and thank them for their compassionate service to their communities and country."
Secretary DeVos recorded a special video. "While great teachers deserve our gratitude every week, I want to take a few moments to especially celebrate and thank you this week," she stated. "Thank you for all you do to keep your students learning, engaged, and connected. You're doing so right now under different and challenging circumstances. We know great teachers are rising to the occasion in unique and creative ways, and many of you are working hard to help your students…while juggling the needs of your own families. You are heroes."
Many others shared their appreciation via #ThankATeacher.
The Department is inviting applications for the Competitive Grants for State Assessments Program. The purpose of this program is to support states' efforts to improve the technical quality of their assessment systems — both the quality of individual state assessments and the overall field of state assessments. Given the COVID-19 national emergency, flexible approaches to education, including innovative, formative, and competency-based assessments that this program will support, are essential for students, parents, and educators. (Note: The deadline for applications is June 30.)
The Department is also inviting applications for Well-Rounded Education through Student-Centered Funding Demonstration Grants. This program, authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), will allow school districts to combine eligible federal funds with state and local funds in order to allocate resources based on students' individual needs. These grants will not only provide districts with the flexibility they need to better serve students, but they will also provide the financial support that districts need to get their new systems up and running. (Note: The deadline for applications is July 10.)
Moreover, the Department's Effective Educator Development (EED) Division is seeking peer reviewers for three grant competitions: Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED), Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), and Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program (TSL). Reviews are tentatively scheduled for SEED and TSL for July 6-24, while the TQP dates are to be determined. To be considered as a peer reviewer, please complete this questionnaire and send your resume to EEDPeerReviews@ed.gov (with the subject line "2020 EED Peer Reviewer") no later than May 29.
Odds and Ends
- Last week marked the second anniversary of the First Lady's Be Best initiative, and a number of Cabinet members and Administration officials shared their congratulations (see #BeBest).
- This week is National Charter Schools Week, which the President marked with a proclamation and the Secretary pronounced with multiple tweets: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
- Also this week, Secretary DeVos announced Donna Woods of Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley, California, and Kara Four Bear of New Town Middle School in New Town, North Dakota, as the inaugural winners of the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award, so honored for instilling in their students the skills, knowledge, and passion for cybersecurity.
- FAFSA Fast Break is a competition among 20 districts led by Chiefs for Change members to see which one can get the greatest percentage of high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).
- Forward progress continues on StudentAid.gov, the front door on the web for students, families, and borrowers. The Department's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) introduced new features designed to promote financial literacy and improve the information and self-service tools available to customers. These features provide borrowers with clear, actionable information about aid they have received and personalized guidance on the loan repayment process.
- Secretary DeVos recently appointed Lorena Orozcco McElwain to lead the Department's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA).
- The Department's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) received positive feedback regarding its first "OSEP Fast Facts," on children identified with autism, and it just released another, on children identified with emotional disturbance.
- Speaking of OSEP, David Cantrell assumed the role of deputy director on May 11.
- The Department's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced the schools selected for participation in the Pathways to Credentials initiative, which aims to build the capacity of community and technical colleges to embed stackable, industry-recognized credentials within technical associate degree programs.
- A new National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) web report provides comparative information about 15-year-old students in the U.S. and 20 other education systems that participated in the optional 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) financial literacy assessment.
- Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider authored two blogs posts, one about making common measures more common and the other about creating a new IES center focused on education assessments.
- Also, IES is pleased to announce that staff member Dr. Elizabeth Warner is a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal finalist for 2020.
Quote to Note
"Two years ago, I made a promise: to address the scourge of sexual misconduct on our nation's campuses. Today, we take historic action on Title IX because we must. Because students — their safety and their success — are at the center of everything we do. From Brown v. Board of Education to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to the Every Student Succeeds Act, America has continued to expand and protect opportunities for students to learn. That's also true for Title IX…. Title IX has brought an end to many injustices since it was enacted. And the new rule we announce today will help end more. I take the responsibility of enforcing Title IX seriously. Our Office for Civil Rights takes that responsibility seriously. There is no place for sexual misconduct anywhere. Such acts are disgusting and unacceptable — especially when they are perpetrated in schools. In elementary and middle schools, high schools and colleges, vocational and graduate programs, no student's learning journey should include surviving sexual misconduct. No student should be made to feel alone or abandoned by their school. No incident should ever be swept under the rug. And no student or teacher accused should be punished before evidence proves responsibility. Students who are subjected to sexual misconduct deserve deliberate and decisive action that carries the force of law."
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (5/6/20), in a video announcing the new Title IX regulation
Among other key observances, May is designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, National Foster Care Month, National Mental Health Awareness Month, National Military Appreciation Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold a virtual board meeting today (May 15), open to the public with audio and visual access.
To raise awareness and promote the application of emergency preparedness principles in the school-at-home setting, the Department-sponsored Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center is launching a #SchoolSafetyAtHome Twitter series.
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