Melnick, “The Transformation of Title IX”

9780815732228Yesterday, I posted about the threat the growth of the administrative state poses for traditional religious believers. One under-appreciated aspect of this threat is title IX, which prohibits educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of sex. Of course, most educational institutions affiliated with traditional religious groups have no problem with a ban on sex discrimination, understood in traditional terms. As administrators expand the coverage of title IX –to cover transgender students, for example–those institutions can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. And, because the large majority of such institutions cannot do without federal financial assistance, the pressure on them to change, or at least downplay, their religious convictions is great.

A new book from the Brookings Institution by Boston College political scientist Shep Melnick addresses the importance of title IX in our current culture wars. The book is The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education. Here’s the description from the Brookings website:

One civil rights-era law has reshaped American society—and contributed to the country’s ongoing culture wars

Few laws have had such far-reaching impact as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Intended to give girls and women greater access to sports programs and other courses of study in schools and colleges, the law has since been used by judges and agencies to expand a wide range of antidiscrimination policies—most recently the Obama administration’s 2016 mandates on sexual harassment and transgender rights.

In this comprehensive review of how Title IX has been implemented, Boston College political science professor R. Shep Melnick analyzes how interpretations of “equal educational opportunity” have changed over the years. In terms accessible to non-lawyers, Melnick examines how Title IX has become a central part of legal and political campaigns to correct gender stereotypes, not only in academic settings but in society at large. Title IX thus has become a major factor in America’s culture wars—and almost certainly will remain so for years to come.

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