This is the fourth lesson in the series Female Identity and Gender Expectations. Enacted in 1972, Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, (also called Title IX) has been credited with raising the opportunity of girls and women in educational environments. And, while it is best known for paving the way for female student athletes, Title IX also ensures an equal education for pregnant and parenting students and for those seeking STEM careers. It calls for campuses that provide a safe environment for female students. In this lesson, students will become familiar with the principles of Title IX and evaluate its impact on their own learning environment.
A capstone project at the end of this lesson helps students combine what they’ve learned during this series on gender. The project encourages students to explore issues of equality for women in other nations around the world.
- What is the history of Title IX?
- What does Title IX ensure for both sexes?
- How has Title IX impacted learning communities since its passage?
- How is Title IX working today?
Activities will help students:
- Summarize a common understanding of legislative language,
- Understand the purpose of the landmark Title IX legislation,
- Research and understand Title IX’s impact on all types of learning communities,
- Compare and contrast educational communities before and after Title IX,
- Ensure adherence to Title IX on their own campuses, and
- Recap the gender unit by investigating opportunities for girls and women in other nations.
The central text for this lesson is Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, the landmark legislation that says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The text also outlines exceptions to the law.
Part 1: Word Work
Often, words we’re familiar with become confusing when used in a different context or in documents we’re not accustomed to reading. Title IX is a portion of an education bill passed by Congress in 1972 and is written in legislative language. (Note: List these words on the board: excluded, participation, denied, benefits, discrimination and assistance.)
1. As a class, divide the words equally (three words each) into two like categories. What do the words in each group have in common?
2. Using 3”x5” index cards, develop a personal set of vocabulary cards. Label them with the six words. On each of the cards, draw a picture that indicates your understanding of the word’s meaning.
3. In pairs, share your matching cards. How do your pictures compare? Are they about the
same? Do they indicate the same definition of each word? If they are different, discuss your definitions of the words until you are sure you understand their meanings.
4. As a class, share your pair’s experience. Go back to each word on the board and talk about the definitions (Note: Consider using a strategy like number heads to choose students to explain.) Discuss them until you agree on each word’s meaning.
5. Finally, read the 37-word “prohibition against discrimination” that begins the Title IX legislative document. It includes the six words you’ve defined as a class. Have volunteers explain their understanding of the sentence—both in the context of the vocabulary and the importance of non-discrimination in education. Why do you think this particular wording was necessary in 1972?
Part 2: Close and Critical Reading
The language of Title IX can be difficult for those unaccustomed to legislative writing to understand on first reading.
1. Divide yourselves into seven pairs or small groups and assign the following to each group:
a) Section 1681 items 1, 2 and 3 of the Title IX document
b) Section 1681 items 4, 5 and 6 of the Title IX document
c) Section 1681 items 7, 8 and 9 of the Title IX document
d) Section 1682 of the Title IX document
e) Section 1683 of the Title IX document
f) Sections 1684, 1685 and 1686 of the Title IX document
g) Section 1687 of the Title IX document
2. Within your groups, read and discuss the sections you’ve been assigned. What wording do you find difficult to understand? How would you describe each section’s intent to somebody else in “plain” language? When you’re confident that you’ve understood each section’s intent, draft a summary of what it legislates to educational communities.
3. Set up a common document, like Google Docs, that everybody in the class can access. Each group should add its section summary to the document in the original Title IX order. Be certain to include section numbers and headings.
4. Review and discuss your new “plain language” document. Does it accurately reflect what the Title IX document calls for? Is everybody in the class able to understand your summary document’s intent? Make any changes to the document that are needed to make it accurate and understandable.
5. Share your document with others in your school community.
Part 3: Community Inquiry
The law that your class has summarized essentially banned discrimination based on gender in educational communities. But it wasn’t until 1975 that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare wrote the regulations to implement the law.
1. As a class, discuss what you know about the impact of Title IX on educational communities. In what area do you think it has had the most impact?
2. Discuss what you know about the law’s impact on sports for girls and women. Would it surprise you to know that athletics was never discussed or mentioned as Title IX language was drafted? Share your experiences with the availability of sports opportunities for both girls and boys in your school district.
3. In addition to athletics, Title IX regulations seek equal opportunity and protection for both sexes in the following areas:
a) Access to higher education
b) Access to career education
c) Education for pregnant and parenting students
e) Learning environments
f) Math and science
g) Sexual harassment
h) Standardized testing
Discuss each of these areas and your understanding of them. What is a single-sex learning environment? What are some examples? How might they be discriminatory?
4. In pairs, research one of these areas and find out the following:
Before 1972, how was each sex treated in schools? What are some examples?
How did Title IX address this discrimination?
What immediate impact did Title IX have in changing this discrimination?
How is each sex treated now?
5. Share what you’ve learned in an oral presentation. As a class, discuss your broader understanding of the impact of Title IX on learning communities.
Part 4: Write to the Source
Your parents, aunts and uncles, or grandparents likely remember the days before Title IX. Before 1972, girls and boys didn’t have equal access to learning opportunities. For example, girls took home economics while boys took auto shop or wood shop.
1. Review the areas listed in Part 3 identified by Title IX to ensure equal access. Now, write a letter to a relative who went to school before 1975 asking for an interview. Include the questions you might ask based on your broad understanding of Title IX.
2. Conduct your interview in person, by phone, by email or via Skype or chat. Determine the questions you want to ask during the interview. Some possible questions might be: What does your interviewee remember about single-sex classes, such as shop, home economics or gym? Was she frustrated by them? Why? How were pregnant or parenting students treated in their school? If they left school, did they receive an equal education? How were girls encouraged to, or discouraged from, taking higher-level math or science classes? Were they encouraged to follow certain career paths? What were they?
3. Let your interviewee know that you will share her or his experiences with the rest of the class and compare them with your learning experiences.
4. In a Q&A format, write the results of your interview. As a class, compare what you’ve heard. Did you discover some common experiences?
Part 5: Do Something
Title IX calls for the designation of at least one coordinator on campus who ensures that all regulations are being met and complaints are heard and resolved. In many areas, there is only one coordinator per district.
1. As a class, find out the name and location of the coordinator on your campus or within your district.
2. Design a short student survey on equal access to educational opportunities, facilities and funds on campus. Your questions should be designed to discover where there might be less than equal circumstances for students of each sex and in all life stages. The questions should cover all of the areas covered by Title IX, including sports, college and career preparation, classroom environments, choice of courses and harassment-free environments.
3. Conduct your survey. As a class, discuss what you’ve found. What areas could be improved at your school? Which are good examples of equal access?
4. Invite your campus or district Title IX coordinator to your class. Ask him or her to describe the role’s responsibilities and provide examples of when they’ve worked to ensure an equal education for all students. Also, ask what the process is for reporting any inequities within your school or district.
5. Share the results of your survey with the Title IX coordinator. Work together to make a plan for following up with and resolving any issues.
This series on female identity and gender expectations has included the importance of female voices, the role of women in STEM careers, women in the workforce and the opportunities afforded today’s men and women through Title IX. This capstone project addresses the inequities faced by women in other nations.
London will host the Olympic Games in the summer of 2012. Three nations yet to send a woman to participate in the Olympics. They are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei.
1. Divide the class into three groups, with each group focusing on one of these three nations. Using the Internet and other tools, research the nations’ history with the Olympics and its historical or cultural reasons for not allowing women to participate in the Games.
2. Broaden your country research into the following areas:
a) the role of women in government
b) the role of women in civic life
c) education for women
d) social mores for women (such as customs surrounding marriage and motherhood)
e) career opportunities for women
f) the role of women in public, like driving
Assign these areas to different group members, who will take notes.
3. Share your group’s research results with the class. What did you discover that might explain the nation’s stand on the Olympics? Do women have equal opportunities in other areas? Or, is their Olympic standing just one of the injustices they face?
4. Write a letter to the nation’s National Olympic Committee that seeks a role for its female population at the Olympic Games. Share the research you’ve found that can help explain your position.
Additional Resources for Learning
Standard 2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objectives summary of the text.
Standard 4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
Standard 5. Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.
Standard 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Standard 4.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Standard 6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Standard 7.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Standard 8.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
Standard 999. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Speaking and Listening
Standard 1. 1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Standard 2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Standard 3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
Standard 4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Standard 5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentation.
Standard 3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choice for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge.