WSJ Fails to Tell Whole Story on Title IX Enforcement

Our last blog post focused on New York City’s Department of Education’s irrational and discriminatory response to a Title IX lawsuit filed by the National Women’s Law Center: Ban all new schools in the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) from creating any boys’ teams. So much for equality of opportunity.

So when Wall Street Journal reporter Sumathi Reddy asked us to comment on that lawsuit and the result — the prevention of hundreds of boys from playing sports — we gladly welcomed the platform.

Leo Kocher, President of American Sports Council, explained in clear language the impact of:

  • Gender quotas. “Schools are now, due to the quota pressure, required to have the exact same number. People who feel they need to dictate exact same number for boys and girls are actually starting girls teams and denying boys who want a chance to play on a team.”
  • Sex discrimination. “What matters is they’re singling out a population of boys. If that’s not the definition of sex discrimination, I don’t know what is…How blatant can sex discrimination get?”
  • Special interests. “It’s horrifying that government agencies do this kind of thing from pressure from special interest groups.”

Leo also touched upon the serious implications of the Pittsburgh School System’s December 2011 decision to cut opportunities for boys in the K-5 basketball program if more girls don’t sign up.

Unfortunately, nowhere in Ms. Reddy’s February 17th article, “Boys Being Sidelined,” is Leo quoted. But it’s more than that — nowhere in the article does Ms. Reddy really address the underlying issues that are causing such inequality based on gender.

Sure, she quotes outraged parents whose boys are affected by the new policy. She also gives a lot of space to City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley who has young boys and is equally affected. But they, too, advocate for proportionality at individual schools, just not at the systemic level. And that’s not the approach we want.

First off, officials implemented a new rule without actually proving why there is a difference in the number of male and female athletes in city schools. As Ms. Reddy notes, the there is a “continuing federal probe.” Since when is it appropriate and fair for schools to make decisions without any proof backing them up?

Perhaps if schools surveyed their students and investigated the types of activities students choose to participate in, they may find that a discrepancy among boys and girls in athletics exists because girls are happily choosing other activities and pursuing other interests. What is certain is that girls should be allowed to participate in whatever activities they want. The system has not failed them if they’re not playing sports but are fulfilling other opportunities (please take note, Women’s Sports Foundation).

The lack of media attention to this disturbing “enforcement” measure is mind-boggling. Schools are not just cutting teams — they’re preventing them from existing in the first place.

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