Clinton: Expand, Enforce Title IX
Despite problems with the 25-year old non-discrimination law, the benefits are cited in a new report
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 17) -- To mark the 25th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools, President Bill Clinton today announced plans to expand and further enforce the statute.
"For 25 years, Title IX has helped girls to realize their dreams and to achieve them ... not only in athletics but in academics as well," Clinton said. "So today we celebrate how far we've come. But we must also recommit ourselves to Title IX's goal of equality in education." (224K wav sound)
Because of a loophole in the original language, the law currently applies only to federally funded education. Following an evaluation by all government agencies ordered today, Clinton expects "to sign an executive order to prohibit educational discrimination on the bases of sex, race, or national origin in federally conducted education programs, thereby extending the principles of Title IX to federal programs themselves."
"The national government must hold itself to the same high standards it expects from everyone else. Especially when it comes to discrimination in education," Clinton declared.
Among the programs and activities affected by such a move would be schools run by the military and Native American schools, as well as Department of Defense education programs and those run by the Agriculture Department for farmers.
A major requirement of Title IX is that schools provide the same funding to men's and women's sports. While some schools have been able to increase revenues to expand athletic opportunities for women without cutting those for men, many others have not.
As a result, Title IX has fostered resistance and resentment, and it is estimated that 80 percent of schools are not in compliance with the law. But Clinton warned schools that enforcement would be toughened and asked government agencies to produce a "new and vigorous enforcement plan" over the next 90 days. (224K wav sound)
"Every school and every education program that receives federal assistance in the entire country must understand that complying with Title IX is not optional. It is the law. And the law must be enforced," Clinton said.
But there is little question that things are better than they once were.
A report on Title IX, issued at the event, hails the success of the law. Figures show that there has been an eight-fold increase in girls participating in high school sports since Title IX took effect. In 1971, 300,000 girls played high school sports. By 1996 that had increased to 2.3 million.
The report also cited gains by women students in the classroom as well as on the playing field. It points out that the percentage of medical school graduates that are women increased from nine percent in 1972 to 38 percent in 1994. In law schools, that percentage increased from seven percent in 1972 to 43 percent in 1994."Today, we are celebrating, resolving and moving forward to make sure that all of our people -- and especially every one of our girls and young women -- have the opportunities they deserve to make the most of their own lives. After all, there is plenty for us all," Clinton said.
CNN's Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report.
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