Yesterday, IWF sent a letter to Rep. John Kline (R-MN) about a brewing debate over how Title IX should be enforced at the high school level. Title IX enforcement at the collegiate level has been a textbook case of perverse incentives and unintended consequences. When the easiest route to complying with an anti-discrimination law is to discriminate against one sex, something has gone seriously wrong. Such is the case with Title IX, where the incentives that the proportionality standard creates make the quickest path to compliance cutting men’s programs, not adding women’s programs. Adopting the same approach in high schools and expecting different results would be foolish at best and grossly negligent at worst.
Beyond the obvious concern for adverse effects, there are also serious legal concerns with adopting the proportionality standard in high schools. According to our friends over at the Pacific Legal Foundation, the 1979 enforcement test were clearly designed for colleges, not high school. Additionally, adopting such standards at the high school level would likely violate the Equal Protection Clause.
So, to recap, proportionality in high schools means bad results and questionable legality. Why on earth would folks get excited about such a prospect?