“Title IX allows common sense to prevail by permitting schools to offer sports programs that reflect students’ choices, not their sex,” Thompson continued. “Instead of requiring schools to mindlessly force sports programs to fit a predetermined gender ratio, it permits a flexible framework that reflects what students want and what they’ll participate in.”
Activists try to impose rigid “Three Part Test” on high schools — with no basis in Title IX
Enacted in 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibits gender-based discrimination in certain federally funded education programs. Although it is true that federal policy interpretations of Title IX have fostered a quota approach at the college level, these interpretations do not apply to high schools.
"Not only is this interpretation not supported by law, it has the potential of destroying much of what is so good about the uniquely American athletic system."
Specifically, a so-called “three-part test” for collegiate athletics was devised by federal regulators in 1979. This test ostensibly offers three options for compliance with Title IX: (1) a quota whereby male and female athletic participation is proportionate to male and female school enrollment; (2) progress toward instituting such a quota; and (3) fully accommodating the underrepresented gender’s interest in athletics. The effect has been to encourage quotas as the option easiest to demonstrate.
“The three part-test, and its encouragement of quotas, has no relevance to high schools or high- school sports,” said Joshua Thompson. “No federal regulation has ever said that high schools must abide by the three-part test and the sex-based quota system it fosters.”
Nevertheless, activists such as the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) have fastened onto the DOE policy guidelines and are attempting to import the three-part test to the high school level. Last November, NWLC filed complaints against 12 high school districts across the country with the Office for Civil Rights. The complaints allege that the targeted high school districts have been discriminating by failing to provide girls’ varsity sports in a proportion that mirrors the percentage of girls in their student bodies.
PLF responded by sending a legal opinion letter to the Office for Civil Rights and its regional centers, underscoring that the Three Part Test has no relevance to high schools.
“In order to halt this crusade to misuse Title IX, we must take legal action against the Department of Education and the policy guidelines that are being exploited by those who want to make Title IX say what it doesn’t say,” said Joshua Thompson.
American Sports Council Statement
In recent months, quota activists have been intimidating high school districts with charges that they are in violation of Title IX simply on the basis of the gender balance in their athletic departments. “Not only is this interpretation not supported by law, it has the potential of destroying much of what is so good about the uniquely American athletic system — one that produces the world’s best scholar-athletes” said ASC Chairman, Eric Pearson. “This pattern of legal intimidation needs to stop.”
The lawsuit is entitled, American Sports Council v. Department of Education. View the complaint, and a video explaining the lawsuit.
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