participants identify challenges to further progress:
- Lack of knowledge
and expertise on Title IX requirements within local or state education
agencies and educator preparation programs. The educators who received
training and coaching about Title IX in the 70ís and 80ís are retiring.
- An unwillingness
to take sex discrimination, bias, role stereotyping and harassment
seriously for both males and females. Sex discrimination is seen
as a small and marginal issue outside the core of teaching and learning.
Funding for technical assistance services does not exist for most
local educators, schools or districts.
- A lack of
concern about growing challenges to Title IX and the principles
of gender equity in public education. Title IX opponents have set
up a zero-sum and divisive game, asserting that educational progress
for women and girls has come at the expense of boys, and the nation
must therefore roll back the protections of Title IX.
- A continued
struggle to recognize and honor the diversity within gender (race,
ethnicity, disability, and class) and other forms of diversity.
Title IX is too often seen as a law to benefit girls (or more specifically
female athletes) only.
- Title IX work
today is most often complaint-triggered and reactive, not proactive
or preventative. The work is done in an atmosphere of conflict and
opposition instead of in a partnership between educators and families.
- A lack of
leadership development resources to ensure that gender equity principles
and practices continue to evolve. In the late 1990ís federal funding
was eliminated for both the state level equity offices and the gender
equity administrator positions. These programs provided ongoing
gender equity training and assistance for educators in state and
local school systems. Only a few states have maintained any gender
equity staff and/or programs in the wake of these cuts.
Some suggested that the current attention to Title IX and
gender equity issues should be viewed as an opportunity. For example,
one participant said the growing attention to "how boys are doing"
allows advocates to educate the public about what gender equity really
means. She said:
and boys to SEE gender and recognize gender-based inequities could
be a good thing. Linking how boys and how girls are doing is probably
the key, i.e. boys make up a disproportionate segment of the special
education population AND girls are under identified for special
education services. Boys may be better engaged by providing different
types of reading/writing materials AND boys need to better learn
to find the value in the so-called "relational" attributes
of Language Arts.
the Dialogue, a number of the panelists expressed their re-dedication
to achieving the goals of gender equity. They said they had been inspired
and motivated by this engaging conversation. One panelist stressed
the need for developing initiatives to produce the next generation
of Title IX leaders among teachers, administrators, parents, and especially
students. She offered several examples of activities she had heard
about in her state:
- the fourth
grade girls and boys who developed a campaign to challenge a sex-stereotypical
television ad by a local hospital and then held an assembly on Title
IX for students and parents;
- the pregnant
teen who successfully overturned her schoolís decision to forbid
her to give the graduation speech at her high school, even though
she was class valedictorian;
- the high school
student who surveyed her school system on gender issues and, when
athletic facility inequities were identified, lobbied her school
board to fund changes;
- the seventh
grader who told a teacher that his sexist classroom practices were
not only unfair but illegal under Title IX, and recommended that
the teacher attend a gender equity workshop.
Finally, in one
of the closing statements for the Dialogue, a panelist ended with
the following words: "I want to remind myself and you that Title
IX and gender equity have been challenged every day of these 30 years.
We have survived court challenges, lack of resources, attacks on us,
our beliefs, public education in general, and yet we are still here,
still adapting and modifying our strategies, and still making progress."
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