The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 

Much more than sports

On the Bright Side

 

I'm going to revisit the Title IX issue again because once again it is being dissed and dismissed by certain government officials in our country.

Like many people (and like the ex-jock I am), I tend to think of Title IX in terms of what it has meant to female athletes, but while sports are certainly worthy of equality, 1972's Title IX itself encompasses so much more than sports.

The Title reads: 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.

Do you see anything in those words about sports? No. The law originally had to do with educational opportunities; it wasn't until 1975 that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare clarified that the new law would make discrimination on the basis of sex in school sports illegal.

Sports aside, I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers when girls were expected to take home ec in high school and boys were supposed to take shop, when girls weren't supposed to excel in math or science and boys were discouraged from being poets or typists. In reality it was different -- I knew girls who could handle a hammer as well as solve algebra problems, and I knew boys who could cook better than me and enjoyed it more – but it was the prevailing wisdom at the time.

Title IX changed that so-called wisdom, thank goodness.

As the old NAACP ad slogan says, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" and I think that applies to Title IX issues as well as it did originally (regarding equal educational opportunities for all). A mind is a terrible thing to waste, no matter whose head that mind is in. If it's in a female head (of any race) and that gal wants to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer, then she should have the opportunity. If that mind is in a male head (of any race) and he wants to be a nurse or a dancer or a secretary, he should have the same opportunity to follow his interests and make the most of them.

This is the 45th anniversary year for Title IX, and especially over the last 10 years or so, Title IX has been steadily strengthened to include equality for more students, along with an effort to make places of education safer for all. Just lately, however, those in charge of such things seem bent on reducing or eradicating Title IX altogether. It seems to fly under the radar most of the time but as the rights ensured by Title IX are stripped away or limited, that is bad news for any kid in school and any parent who cares about their children's (or grandchildren's) education. Or to anyone who cares about life in general, since equal opportunities in school translates to more opportunities in the working world and beyond.

Making schools safe places for kids to learn and grow should be an opportunity we don't waste either. It's all connected. Title IX should be strengthened even more, not limited. We simply cannot take a giant step backwards by allowing the law to be changed back to limiting opportunities and wasting minds, now or tomorrow.

© Marilda Mel White. Mel White, a Tehachapi resident, is a local writer/photographer and co-owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove. She welcomes your comments at morningland@msn.com

 
 

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