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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Title IX model survey policy to be rescinded


The Obama administration today will rescind a controversial Title IX policy put in place by the Bush administration in 2005, according to a draft of a Department of Education news release.

Vice President Biden is set to announce this afternoon that the department's Office for Civil Rights will withdraw the so-called model survey schools could use to measure the athletic interests and abilities of their female students.

The impact will be small on one level, since few schools have embraced the survey publicly, in part because the NCAA urged members not to.

The impact is potentially large on another level: Schools will not be able to follow the advice of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which this month urged schools to use the survey as "the best possible method" for measuring interest.

Women's groups long criticized the survey, in part because non-response could be interpreted as lack of interest.

To meet the participation requirements of Title IX, the law banning sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds, a school must pass one part of a three-part test: male and female athletes are proportional to enrollment; having a history and continuing practice of expanding opportunities for female students; or demonstrating that the interests and abilities of female students are fully and effectively accommodated.

The Bush administration allowed use of a model survey alone to satisfy the third test.

Today's "dear colleague" letter from OCR will reinstate prior policy, under which schools can use a survey to measure interest under the third test, but only in concert with multiple other factors, such as participation in club sports and tracking athletic trends at feeder high schools.