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Moving Beyond “Because of Sex”

To address gender inequalities in society, foundational elements need legislative change and will require societal advancement to accommodate outdated thinking. Progress could be made on parental assistance and tax incentives.

Governments around the world have seen increased participation in the labor force due to mandating or providing support for paid paternal leave. Failure to address leave access for new parents’ burdens females and continues to degrade opportunities for women in the work force. Institutions of higher education can address this disparity by creating parental leave policies that give new mothers job and financial security while providing new parents support to permit working mothers to return to work while the child is cared for. These initiatives are funded through payroll tax deductions in some US states, but could also be funded through a generous compensation package.

Increasing gender equality and strengthening the workforce could be accomplished through various tax-based incentives. For instance, Canada was able to increase female participation in the labor-force by reducing the tax contribution for second earners. Companies who maintain balanced gender equality in hiring could be incentivized with tax benefits.

These few adjustments could turn societal perspective toward a more favorably view of gender equality to aid the long arc of change in progress.

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Title IX Ping Pong

After a stark departure from previous administration policy, the Biden administration will seek, under Secretary Cardona, to re-establish the direction where Obama/Biden sought to take Title IX a decade ago. In order to re-orient agency oversight of Title IX toward protecting victims, the administration will need to navigate recent court decision that support the prior administration rules, protect survivors against defamation suits, and clarify the department’s interpretation of “sex.”

Recent court decisions as guidance will make it harder for the Biden administration under Secretary Cardona to reverse the lowered bar for anti-male bias, but will require robust due process protections due to the nature of the legal decisions around the DeVos rule. Supporting the rights of accused while also providing safe support for survivors to report future crimes.

One step the administration could take is new action to require enhanced protections of survivors against defamation lawsuits, which have become more prevalent since the Devos edits to Title IX guidance. Schools should be required to have a sexual assault and violence liaison and independent Title IX coordinator at each institution. At too many institutions, these positions are combined with an EEOC liaison making prevention, enforcement and investigation unmanageable.

The department will also need to issue guidance memos clarifying the department’s intent to construe ‘sex’ in Title IX as meaning more than simply “biological sex” but as more inclusive of all individuals. This could prompt a challenge in the Supreme Court in the wake of the 2020 Bostock v Clayton County ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on sex including gay and transgender individuals. While the conservative make-up of the court might be cause for hesitation, under the Cardona tenure in the education department, the ruling in Bostock v Clayton leaned heavily on individual rights, an area of strength in traditional conversative circles.

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While we are setting the bar, go ahead and set it high!

The Executive Summary, Our Separate and Unequal Public Colleges, from Georgetown University’s Center o Education and the Workforce, left me with few surprises. My roots in education extend to the public schools and firsthand disparities between suburban, largely white schools and urban schools with high minority populations. The origins of this inequality at public colleges remains visible in the attention given to advising and counseling services in predominant white schools where students are oriented by families and school staff toward selective schools. Students at these schools take courses that are more likely to secure enrollment and support high test scores on entrance exams for selective schools.

After leaving public K12 education, I have spent the last decade in higher education in the proprietary, for-profit, tax-paying institutional setting. The intriguing evolution has not been in this sector but in the public sector’s evolution and adoption of best practices from the often-leading edge pursued by the proprietary sector. The adoption of online classes occurred early in these schools, while tenure faculty remained reluctant at public selective institutions. Proprietary schools often utilize as needed admissions tests other than the SAT and ACT. Public colleges in the day of COVID have varied in their embrace of shedding their loyalty to the College Board.

Aside from the selective nature of the admissions process at the school, one is left to wonder: Are graduates from these schools better equipped than other schools or did the school inherit a well-equipped applicant? Would these students have been just as successful if they attended a non-selective public college? The executive summary notes that students who attend selective colleges, both white and minority, graduate at a higher percentage than at open-access colleges. This model assumes that the goal of higher education is graduation. And herein lies a fundamental flaw.

Graduating from a college is a step along the journey for graduates. Another practice that public colleges have adopted recently, although has been a mainstay of the proprietary sector, is career services for graduates. If a student graduates, they should be entitled to assistance from the school to find meaningful, economically advantageous employment (let’s call it gainful) in their field.

The recommendations from the Georgetown report are reasonable, their scope can be accomplished. But the bar they set is so low. Graduates must have skills that can enable them to gain work in their field, and colleges should be held accountable for the number of students who utilize the degree for which they have invested and that taxpayer funds have invested in them.

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The Power of Speech

Speech is a superpower used to move individuals, societies, armies and kingdom for tens of thousands of years. Whether in quiet conversations between family, public rallies on the eve of significant events, or the rallying cries of military leaders spurring on troops into battle, leveraging speech has been a critical component throughout recorded history. Likewise, changes in society have often been in reaction to the impact of hurtful speech.

Lies hiding behind the shield of speech are not new. From Herodotus to almost every modern American President, protecting lies as speech has led to fundamental changes in society. At the beginning of the Trump administration, the former president’s propensity for lying often generated references to compare just how unusual those times were. In in the early days, comparing 100+ lies told by Trump in a few months against the 18 told by former president Obama seems quaint. After a presidency that generated over 30,500 lies in four years, as well as two impeachment trials surrounding elements of speech (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress via powerful speech with foreign governments, incitement of insurrection via powerful speech), the legal rulings will continue to be felt as we parse exactly what kinds of powerful speech are protected by elected officials.

The legacy of hurtful and extremist speech has been taken to new heights in last 20 years by rapid spread through Internet, social media, talk radio, and the surface-level acquiring of information by individuals with limited knowledge of history, geo-politics and ethics. Often over the last few decades powerful speech has been invoked by highly ignorant individuals or by individuals manipulating these ignorant masses for personal gain.

Powerful speech is meant to enflame, intended to spark. Protecting that power is critical to our institutions. It is fundamental to liberal (as in pursuing liberty, not in modern political affiliation) republics to protect the voices of minority opinions. Sometimes these are the voices of dissent that become the founding sentiments of popular opinion. But, often, these minority opinions demonstrate the power of speech: helpful speech should be able to withstand the onslaught of even the most hurtful minority speech. Helpful speech is fundamental for reasoned debate toward improving society.

The power of the speech is that although it protects hurtful speech, it also protects those who push back. The push back can be as powerful, if not more so, than the hate speech. Take LGBTQ rights: for all the effort of the Westboro Baptist Church, a recent survey by Gallup indicated that 1 in 6 Gen Z adults identified as LGBT, with numbers of all generational groups identifying as LGBT increasing. Protecting speech offers an opportunity for voices to present counter speech to radical and hurtful speech.

 

Opinion | Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

LGBT Identification Rises to 5.6% in Latest U.S. Estimate (gallup.com)

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My experience of making policy and/or law: professional reflections (Repost)

Throughout the 19 years of my career in education, students have always been front and center. Yet, laws impacting education and policies developed to implement or abide by those laws were always on the margins.

As a K12 teacher, in the second year of my teaching career, I faced the intersection of policies and attempts to subvert policies by politicians. One situation involved a parent of one of my students who also happened to be a school board member. The board member parent made requests from me to take custody of testing documents intended for the child, against established policy. This led to local news investigations, internal investigations, and the opportunity for me to be a part of the review committee to determine whether the policy was adequate.

With early interest in the implementation of technology initiatives, I often found myself on committees writing policy to implement new technology or systems. These opportunities establish rules and routine that professional educators used to review statutes, case law and pending legislation. These opportunities enhanced my perspective as an educator since I had the opportunity to apply concepts both in my professional practice in the classroom, but also in my mind to shape my short and log term actions as an educator.

In the realm of higher education, I was fortunate to transition from K12 with these experiences fresh in my mind. Also, I joined a unique sector of higher ed within a unique time for that sector. By working in the proprietary sector of private higher education during the 2010s, laws to regulate and restrict this sector reached a pinnacle. The politics around higher education funding for the sector required frequent policy adjustments and forward-thinking operational planning to anticipate possible legislation on the horizon.

With the last reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 2008, the proprietary sector awaits and anticipates changes in each Congressional cycle. During times of single party control of Congress and the Presidency, the sector most anticipates a new reauthorization and, depending on political winds and party control, either favorable or punitive outcomes. As an academic director and now a campus president, my 11 years in higher ed have focused on working with university administrators, faculty, and staff to develop and implement policies based on ever-changing guidelines.

Whether policies from regional accrediting bodies, veterans’ administration, federal department of education, state higher education councils, or programmatic accrediting bodies, I am involved daily in reviewing, implementing, staff development or disputes surrounding implementation of policy and development of policy to satisfy statute requirements.

Categories
EDLP704 EDLP704HE Policy and law

My experience of making policy and/or law: professional reflections

Throughout the 19 years of my career in education, students have always been front and center. Yet, laws impacting education and policies developed to implement or abide by those laws were always on the margins.

As a K12 teacher, in the second year of my teaching career, I faced the intersection of policies and attempts to subvert policies by politicians. One situation involved a parent of one of my students who also happened to be a school board member. The board member parent made requests from me to take custody of testing documents intended for the child, against established policy. This led to local news investigations, internal investigations, and the opportunity for me to be a part of the review committee to determine whether the policy was adequate.

With early interest in the implementation of technology initiatives, I often found myself on committees writing policy to implement new technology or systems. These opportunities establish rules and routine that professional educators used to review statutes, case law and pending legislation. These opportunities enhanced my perspective as an educator since I had the opportunity to apply concepts both in my professional practice in the classroom, but also in my mind to shape my short and log term actions as an educator.

In the realm of higher education, I was fortunate to transition from K12 with these experiences fresh in my mind. Also, I joined a unique sector of higher ed within a unique time for that sector. By working in the proprietary sector of private higher education during the 2010s, laws to regulate and restrict this sector reached a pinnacle. The politics around higher education funding for the sector required frequent policy adjustments and forward-thinking operational planning to anticipate possible legislation on the horizon.

With the last reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 2008, the proprietary sector awaits and anticipates changes in each Congressional cycle. During times of single party control of Congress and the Presidency, the sector most anticipates a new reauthorization and, depending on political winds and party control, either favorable or punitive outcomes. As an academic director and now a campus president, my 11 years in higher ed have focused on working with university administrators, faculty, and staff to develop and implement policies based on ever-changing guidelines.

Whether policies from regional accrediting bodies, veterans’ administration, federal department of education, state higher education councils, or programmatic accrediting bodies, I am involved daily in reviewing, implementing, staff development or disputes surrounding implementation of policy and development of policy to satisfy statute requirements.

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