D.C. Council to hold Title IX hearing for D.C. Public Schools

By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 13, 2010; 11:38 PM

The D.C. Council announced Wednesday it will hold a public hearing Nov. 10 on a bill proposed to require the city to order an independent analysis of all of public schools' compliance with Title IX.

Bill 18-552 would authorize a survey of all District public schools - both traditional and charter - from elementary through high school to determine compliance with Title IX, the federal law mandating gender equity at all federally funded institutions.

The bill also would create a strategic plan for compliance and require another analysis after five years to determine whether any improvements have been made.

The bill was introduced Dec. 1 by Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and Council members Michael A. Brown (At-Large), Mary M. Cheh (Ward 3), Phil Mendelson (At-Large), Kwame R. Brown (At-Large) and Harry Thomas Jr. (Ward 5), but no action had yet been taken on it.

"In order for it to get moved out of committee, we have to demonstrate there is interest in it," said Janice Johnson, who helped spark the drafting of the bill. Johnson founded and runs the Sankofa Project, a District group that has studied Title IX compliance at D.C. Public Schools, particularly in relation to other public school systems in the Washington area.

According to the bill, the analysis must include the number of male and female students at each school, the number of teams offered in each sport, and the total participation on each team. It also requires a detailed listing of expenditures for each team, including travel, equipment, uniforms, facilities and publicity, as well as the number of games and practices scheduled for each team.

Participation in girls' sports at DCPS typically lags far behind that of the boys'. This fall, for example, 11 high schools are fielding boys' soccer teams, while only seven have those for girls. In recent winter seasons, several schools have either struggled to attract enough players for a girls' basketball team, while some don't even field one or shut it down. In the spring, softball participation remains a concern.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company