Phi Beta Cons

Meet That Quota, Redux!

In his recent post, “Meet That Quota!,” Roger Clegg criticized the quota-inducing qualities of the recent “Dear Colleague” letter on “gender equity” sent out by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. He offered some examples:

States must “meet negotiated targets for participation and completion rates of males and females in programs that are nontraditional for their sex”; “Despite efforts to increase enrollment of male and female students in fields that are non-traditional for their sex, disparities persist in certain fields”; and so let’s “tak[e] proactive steps to expand participation of students in fields where one sex is underrepresented.”

As the ongoing brouhaha over bathrooms indicates, gender is now all the rage in the waning days of the Obama administration (so little time left; so much left to transform!). Thus I confess I was surprised to see OCR using terms such as “male,” “female,” and “sex” that it obviously regards as dated, anachronistic, and inappropriate. After all, it stated unequivocally in its recent Dear Colleague letter on “gender equity” in bathroom use that now the Departments of Justice and Education “treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations.”

As Roger pointed out, “the principal bogeyman” in the most recent transformational missive from the Obamanauts “is not having enough females in auto repair programs and not enough males in nursing programs — that sort of thing.” Schools better increase their numbers of “non-traditional” students in programs where they are “under-represented” or risk running afoul of the federal diversity police and the checkbook they control.

Left unexplained and unclear, however, is how to count what must be — given the extent of federal, media, and corporate concern — the massive numbers of transgender students currently being oppressed by restricted bathroom availability in our schools and colleges. How, for example, should a community college count a student in its auto mechanics class transitioning from female to male? Since her “sex” — which, even OCR would probably admit, remains female even though this student’s “gender identity” is male, does the student add to the number of students in that class who are “non-traditional for their sex,” or simply add to the number of guys? If “gender identity” determines sex as OCR unilaterally insists, why does it continue to use the term “sex” at all in determining who is under-represented?

Perhaps if OCR itself had received some guidance of its own in the form of hearings or comment on a posted rule change before issuing its “significant Guidance” without benefit of hearing from the public some of these perplexing questions could have been avoided. But then, whoever said “transforming” a reluctant society would be easy?

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