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With Trump’s Title IX stance unknown, video aims to educate about sexual harassment at school
Dec 12th, 2016 by

National experts on sexual harassment in K-12 schools have teamed up to create a new educational video about gender equality, intended to inform students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.

The timing couldn’t be better, said Esther Warkov, cofounder of the nonprofit group Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, which produced the free video for use by schools, clubs and parent groups. President-elect Donald Trump, who boasted in a 2005 video about his ability to sexually assault women, has “normalized” traumatic harassment, Warkov said, and sent a disturbing message to children and teenagers. And the Republican Party platform has stated its opposition to the Obama administration’s decision to apply legal protections from harassment to students who are gay, transgender or gender nonconforming — including the right of transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

“Our video explains how detrimental sexual harassment is to students,” she said, “and why schools must take complaints seriously and compassionately.”

The video features well-known gender equality researchers, including Keasara Williams, director of equity and Title IX compliance for the San Francisco Unified School District, and Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College, who created the popular TED talk “The Sexy Lie” about the objectification of women.

In the 44 years since Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 prohibited discrimination in schools based on sex, the law has come to be understood to applyto students who are being discriminated against because of the way they present themselves in regards to gender stereotypes. With students increasingly coming out at school as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or “gender fluid,” bullying may be defined as discriminatory harassment, which is a civil rights violation. Warkov explained that the video, “Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!”, is an effort to provide the information that most schools do not provide to students, parents and staff.

Trump’s election has some students concerned about an uptick in harassment. “It’s upsetting because I’ve had family members who have been harassed sexually,” said Jasmin Melendrez, 14, a freshman at Fremont High School in Oakland. “It will be easier for men to do that.”

“He’s definitely sexist,” said Max Burk, 15, a Berkeley High School student.

“I’m scared because I’m gay,” said Clementine Gunter, 16, a junior at Berkeley High School. “His vice president believes in gay conversion.” Gay conversion is the practice of subjecting gay and lesbian individuals to a treatment intended to covert them into heterosexuals. The so-called “therapy” is illegal in California. The harm caused by the treatment includes feelings of depression and suicidal ideation.

 

read more: https://edsource.org/2016/with-trumps-title-ix-stance-unknown-video-aims-to-educate-about-sexual-harassment-at-school/573616

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Betsy DuVos: An Ominous Choice for Secretary of Education
Dec 6th, 2016 by

To gain the most from this FMF article check out the very helpful links.  For initial specifics on Title IX see also the Title IX Blog. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/Title+Ix+/15897307ebec0de8?compose=158aeb1ac419de90 which is pasted below

This FMF newswire story.

http://feminist.org/blog/index.php/2016/11/28/betsy-duvos-an-ominous-choice-for-secretary-of-education/

Betsy DuVos: An Ominous Choice for Secretary of Education

by FEMINIST NEWSWIRE on Nov 28, 2016 • 6:11 PM

Billionaire philanthropist and former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, Betsy DeVos, has been nominated by Donald Trump for Secretary of Education. DuVos is a staunch advocate for school choice, showing that Trump intends to uphold his controversial $20 billion school voucher plan from his presidential campaign.

School choice by means of a voucher plan is intended to allow parents to select alternate education institutions for their children and redirect those funds away from public schools, sometimes to for profit institutions with very little regulation.

According to the National Education Association (NEA), vouchers for school choice are not a solution to the multi-faceted issues that students and parents face today. The NEA points out that there are educational, social, legal, and political ramifications of a voucher system, stating that “a pure voucher system would only encourage economic, racial, ethnic, and religious stratification in our society.”

President Lily Eskelsen García of the NEA says that DeVos “has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) also commented on DeVos’ nomination, decrying her as “everything Donald Trump said is wrong in America—an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters. Installing her in the Department of Education is the opposite of Trump’s promise to drain the swamp.”

DeVos’ work on the boards of Children First America and the American Education Reform Council, both education-based charities, primarily focused on pushing educational choice with vouchers.

DeVos and her family also have a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations. They have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that believe in “conversion therapy”; they are major supporters of Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group whose founder called the battle against LGBT rights a “second civil war.”

Her husband, Dick DeVos, is the heir of Amway, a company that has been scrutinized for its “pyramid scheme” tactics, using distributors solely to rake in other new distributors, rather than to actually sell products to outside customers.

In the past, education secretaries have had extensive backgrounds in education. Betsy DeVos has no direct experience in education. Her philanthropic work has simply, at times, been involved in education.

“By nominating Betsy DeVos,” continued Garcia, “the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”

 

Media Resources: University of North Carolina 2015, Washington Post 11/27/2016, National Education Association, NPR 11/23/16, American Federation of Teachers 11/23/16, Philanthropy Roundtable 2013, Politico 11/25/16, USA Today 2/10/11

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Idaho Elementary School Found Non-Compliant with Title IX Due to Sex-Segregated Classrooms
Dec 6th, 2016 by

by FEMINIST NEWSWIRE on Dec 6, 2016 • 11:08 AM No Comments

Last week the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the US Department of Education (ED) determined that Idaho’s Middleton School District was in violation of Title IX for segregating elementary school students into all-girl and all-boy classrooms.

A complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged that since 2006, Middleton Heights Elementary School separated 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders into classrooms by sex under the debunked theory that boys’ and girls’ brains are fundamentally different, and therefore they need to be taught in different ways.

According to the ACLU, “The school did this by, for example, providing boys with more space to move around, asking boys questions about actions in English class and girls questions about characters’ emotions, and emphasizing competition for boys and cooperation for girls.” There is no evidence that this type of education benefits children of either sex, and, in fact, this model can contribute to illegal sex discrimination and stereotyping.

Not only was the school unable to justify the sex-segregated classrooms, but the ED’s investigation discovered that the practice led to discriminatory educational opportunities. For example the student-to-teacher ratio was lower in almost all of the boys’ classes than it was in both the girls’ classes and the coed classes.  Similarly, there was no adequate justification for single sex instruction in any subject based on beginning year sex differences or on comparative improvement data from previous years. Also for many years the school failed to notify parents that the single-sex classes were completely voluntary or to obtain their consent for their child’s participation.

The Middleton Heights Elementary School returned to co-educational classrooms at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Under the OCR resolution agreement the school will provide public website notification that it is discontinuing the single sex classes and remain under ED supervision until 2020.  It must also provide Title IX training and other justification requirements if it plans to re-institute any single sex classes.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s (FMF) 2014 report “Identifying K-12 Public Schools with Deliberate Sex Segregation” identified 699 coed public K-12 schools offering some type of all-boys and all-girls classrooms and 106 public single sex schools.

In December 2014 OCR issued guidance on justifications needed for single-sex public education. Title IX Coordinators and educators with questions about what constitutes an adequate justification for single-sex classrooms can access the OCR Questions and Answers guidance here.

The 2016, the FMF report on “Reinvigorating the Role of the Title IX Coordinator” describes how to find the names and contact information for 23,000 school district and post-secondary education Title IX Coordinators.

Visit the FMF Title IX Coordinators web page and the sex segregation web page, and sign up for FMF’s Title IX Network emails.

Media Resources: ACLU 11/30/16; OCR 11/14/16, Feminist Majority Foundation 10/13/16.

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U.S. Department of Education Levies Historic Fine Against Penn State Over Handling of Sexual Misconduct Incidents
Nov 3rd, 2016 by

NOVEMBER 3, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education today announced that it is seeking to impose on Penn State University a record fine of nearly $2.4 million for failing to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act after a comprehensive review prompted by on-campus sex offenses involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The penalty – the largest ever assessed for Clery violations – covers 11 serious findings of Clery Act noncompliance related to the University’s handling of Sandusky’s crimes and the university’s longstanding failure to comply with federal requirements on campus safety and substance abuse. Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing several young boys over multiple years, including several incidents on campus.

“For colleges and universities to be safe spaces for learning and self-development, institutions must ensure student safety – a part of which is being transparent about incidents on their campuses. Disclosing this information is the law,” said U.S. Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. “When we determine that an institution is not upholding this obligation, then there must be consequences.”

Under the Clery Act, colleges and universities must report to the public each year the number of criminal offenses on campus and report that information to the Department which provides it to the public. In addition, in certain cases, the institution must issue a timely warning if a reported crime represents a threat to the campus community.  The institution must also have campus crime and security policies in a number of areas and disclose those polices to their students and employees.

Soon after Sandusky was indicted in November 2011, the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid launched an investigation of Penn State’s compliance with the Clery Act. The investigation, officially known as a campus crime program review, looked at the university’s compliance from 1998 to 2011 because the allegations of abuse covered that 14-year span.

Findings:

  • Finding #1:  Clery Act violations related to the Sandusky matter (proposed fine: $27,500).
  • Finding #2:  Lack of administrative capability as a result of the University’s substantial failures to comply with the Clery Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act throughout the review period, including insufficient training, support, and resources to ensure compliance (proposed fine: $27,500).
  • Finding #3:  Omitted and/or inadequate annual security report and annual fire safety report policy statements (proposed fine: $37,500).
  • Finding #4:  Failure to issue timely warnings in accordance with federal regulations.
  • Finding #5:  Failure to properly classify reported incidents and disclose crime statistics from 2008-2011 (proposed fine: $2,167,500).
  • Finding #6:  Failure to establish an adequate system for collecting crime statistics from all required sources (proposed fine: $27,500).
  • Finding #7:  Failure to maintain an accurate and complete daily crime log.
  • Finding #8:  Reporting discrepancies in crime statistics published in the annual security report and those reported to the department’s campus crime statistics database (proposed fine: $27,500).
  • Finding #9:   Failure to publish and distribute an annual security report in accordance with federal regulations (proposed fine: $27,500).
  • Finding #10: Failure to notify prospective students and employees of the availability of the annual security report and annual fire safety report (proposed fine: $27,500).
  • Finding #11: Failure to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (proposed fine: $27,500).

Penn State responded to each of the Department’s findings. After a careful analysis of the university’s response, the Department sustained all findings.

The Clery Act was passed by Congress in 1990, requiring colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to track and disclose information about crime on or near campus. The Department is required by law to conduct periodic reviews of an institution’s compliance with the Clery Act. These reviews may be initiated when a complaint is received, a media event raises concerns, a school’s independent audit identifies areas of noncompliance, or other reasons.

Until now, the previous highest fine was in 2007 when FSA assessed a fine of $357,500 against Eastern Michigan Universityfor violations of the Clery Act. Under a settlement, Eastern Michigan paid a fine of $350,000.

Campus crime statistics can be found at the Department’s Campus Safety and Security database. For more information, see The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting 2016 Edition and the Department’s Campus Security website.

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New Equity Assistance Centers
Oct 17th, 2016 by

SOURCE: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/equitycenters/contacts.html

Equity Assistance Centers Directors (2016-2021)

The 4 Equity Assistance Centers are funded by the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They provide assistance in the areas of race, gender, national origin, and religion to public school districts to promote equal educational opportunities.

Region I | Region II | Region III | Region IV |

Region I

(serves Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virgin Islands, West Virginia)
Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium
5272 River Road, Suite 340
Bethesda, MD 20816
Ms. Susan Shaffer, Director
PH: 301-657-7741
F: 301-657-8742

 

Region II

(serves Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia)
South Central Collaborative for Equity
Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA/SCCE)
5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101
San Antonio, TX 78228-1102
David Hinojosa, Director
PH: 210-444-1710
F: 210-444-1714

 

Region III

(serves Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin)
Great Lakes Equity Center
Indiana University
902 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5167
Dr. Seena M. Skelton
PH: 317-278-6832
F: 317-274-6864

 

Region IV

(serves Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
Metropolitan State University of Denver
P.O. Box 173362, Campus Box 63
Denver, CO 80217-3362
Dr. Jan Perry Evenstad, Director
PH: 303-556-6065
F: 303-556-3912

 

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