Obama administration’s Title IX activism

by Walter Olson on January 15, 2011

The quota pressure in sports has been around for a while, but the idea of an enforcement push in hard academic disciplines may be getting extra encouragement from the very top:

Obama himself seems to have latched onto the idea. While praising Title IX’s impact on increasing women’s participation in athletics, he said, “If pursued with the necessary attention and enforcement, Title IX has the potential to make similar, striking advances in the opportunities that girls have in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”) disciplines.” The nation’s university science, engineering, and mathematics departments may thus soon find themselves faced with the task of complying with a regulatory regime similar to the intercollegiate athletics three part test.

[Alison Somin, Federalist Society "Engage", PDF]

More: a John Stossel segment, and cutbacks in men’s sports at Delaware.

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1 kimsch 01.15.11 at 12:26 am

But did Title IX increase women’s participation in sports or limit men’s?

2 Scott 01.15.11 at 11:19 am

This doesn’t translate well into academics. Title IX may increase women’s participation in women’s sports but academics is not segregated by sex. Men and woman compete together. Whereas the tall girl on campus can recruited to participate in basketball, volleyball or crew the consequences of having little interest, being poorly prepared or doing poorly in those sports is almost none. To achieve the goal in sciences and engineering they’d have to offer scholarships and reduce entry requirements. They may attract women that have passing interest in math and science and take the scholarship mainly because it’s free money. If the female class starts failing and dropping out how are the deans and department heads going to react?

3 Richard Nieporent 01.15.11 at 11:19 am

Dear University,

We have been monitoring your math and physics courses. The percentage of women in the Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics and Partial Differentiation classes fails to meet the Title IX requirements. In order to not be in violation of the law you must immediate drop 54 men from those classes. If in the future you do not have the appropriate percentage of women registered for those classes (59% per your current student population) you will be required to drop those classes from your course offerings.

Diana Moon Glampers
US Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights
Title IX Enforcement Office

4 Wfjag 01.15.11 at 1:44 pm

Dear Ms. Glampers:

Women undergraduates now out-number male undergraduates at The University. Accordingly, to comply with Titlt IX, as written, we are summarily and at random flunking 15 per cent of the female students.

Have a nice day.
The University

5 Beckey 01.15.11 at 4:07 pm

There would be no better way to demonstrate that, ON AVERAGE, men are superior to women in math and science than to lower the admissions standards for women into programs in which women would be required to compete with men. I assume to prevent that painful truth from becoming a glaring problem, colleges will require segregated academic classes — just like they now are doing for sports. Just like, ON AVERAGE, women can’t compete with men in sports, they also cannot compete in math and science. That is the simple truth that we all know, but far, far too many are unwilling to acknowledge.

6 Bumper 01.15.11 at 5:40 pm

Methinks that Becky’s tongue doth poke out her feminine cheek.

I was not aware that females were not allowed to major in math, sciences, etc., at these major land grant universities. So much for free choice.

Sadly, while BO may be able to string together some pretty words with the help of a teleprompter, it appears that there is a very large area of extremely low pressure between this aural collectors.

7 Dirk D 01.15.11 at 6:25 pm

Move the psych department into the engineering school. Problem solved.

8 David Smith 01.15.11 at 10:00 pm

I was attending UCLA engineering (1960′s) when the hard science breadth requirements were dropped for the liberal arts majors. This left the engineers (who still had an 8 course breadth requirement) in the laughable position of receiving a more “liberal” education than the liberal arts majors.

Actually, the solution is simple. The colleges become a means to organize classes. EVERYBODY takes any class they want and those classes are listed on the diploma.

Let’s hear it for transparency.

9 Andrew_M_Garland 01.16.11 at 1:25 am

Many Liberals believe that all human activity is a social construct (1). People are directed by society to be a laborer, or a mathematician, or something else. Assuming this, it is completely rational to require the discriminatory institutions of society to correct their unequal assignments. They need only the will to produce workers of all types and abilities in proportion to their numers in the population.

(1) Of course, this is idiocy.

Karl Marx
=== ===
In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
=== ===

The Solution Is Simple: Dunning-Kruger Effect

Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill and do not recognize their true inadequacy. Thay fail to recognize genuine skill in others.

The unskilled overrate their own ability as above average. The highly-skilled underrate their abilities, often below the self-rating of the unskilled.

Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, because competent individuals wrongly assume that others are also competent. The incompetent misjudge themselves, whereas the highly competent misjudge others.

Many intellectuals believe that there is no job (oil company CEO, football coach, running the local post office) that they cannot do as well or better than the person currently in the role, should they ever exert the effort to do so.

Academics outside the hard sciencs succeed by manipulating an entirely artificial world of symbols and constructs. They think that all complexity in the world is created, like their own studies. They don’t create anything other than words, so they never have to confront their lack of real knowledge.

10 GregS 01.16.11 at 7:37 pm

Why is it not a problem to the defenders of Title IX that women now greatly outnumber men in many disciplines in college (like history and literature) but it is a problem that there are still a handful of fields where men predominate? And how precisely do they propose getting more female students into science, technology, and engineering? With athletics, at least, they have the fact that sports teams are segregated by sex to work with. Since no such segregation exists in academics, it would seem that the only way to achieve more egalitarianism would be to establish quotas and to lower admission standards for women. And to have different grading schemes for males and females, to ensure that the female students don’t fail at a higher rate than the males. Even then, all sorts of bad consequences would come about because of this. What if there simply aren’t many female students interested in studying some technological subject? Will the university have to arbitrarily prevent males who are interested from studying it, in order to keep the numbers in balance? And if this means that the total number of students allowed into the program is too small to justify keeping the program in place, what happens then?

It’s amazing the stupid ideas that government embraces.

11 J.T. Wenting 01.17.11 at 1:50 am

“But did Title IX increase women’s participation in sports or limit men’s?”

it increased the percentage of women taking part as related to men taking part by causing a lot of sports activities not popular with women to be discontinued.

12 No Name Guy 01.17.11 at 11:47 am

“Will the university have to arbitrarily prevent males who are interested from studying it, in order to keep the numbers in balance? ”

Yes.

That’s precisely what was done in sports.

This will be tragi-comic to watch if implemented.

Physics will be served, and no amount of BS can get around that fact. Nature tolerates no fools. Engineer products poorly, and they will fail – people will die, buildings will collapse, bridges and roads will crumble, water and sewage won’t flow, electronics fail, airplanes fall from the sky, ships break apart and sink….you name it. But hey, I guess it’s worth it. After all, it’s equality of outcome for each “group”, not opportunity for the individual, that counts.

13 J.T. Wenting 01.18.11 at 1:25 am

“Actually, the solution is simple. The colleges become a means to organize classes. EVERYBODY takes any class they want and those classes are listed on the diploma.”

Or do what we have here: make all classes mandatory for the first half of the college period, afterwards offering a choice of fixed packages from which students can choose one.
Each package designed to be a preparation for a specific group of university curiculi.

“Physics will be served, and no amount of BS can get around that fact. Nature tolerates no fools. Engineer products poorly, and they will fail ”

nah. As with everything else, it’ll all be offshored to countries where quality education is available. Countries like India, China, Zimbadwe (Zimbadwe may well soon have superior education to the USA).

14 Reuven 01.18.11 at 5:53 am

My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics (graduate degrees are in Computer Science).

There were no women at all in any of the math courses after the first year. None.

I have no idea what a school would do if they had to make things equal. Would we sit and paint pink numbers riding unicorns, and decorate them with glitter and ribbons?

15 rxc 01.18.11 at 2:42 pm

Now, now, don’t start to say things that you might regret if you substituted a racial designation for a gender one. This former engineer used to manage a bunch of female engineers, of multiple racial and cultural backgrounds, and they generally worked harder than the men I supervised. I think that it would be a GOOD thing to get more women in the STEM fields. The problem is that they ARE discouraged by their society from getting involved in them. But, the agents of this discouragement are NOT other engineers or scientists or mathematicians – it is the popular culture of music and arts and fashion and literature that spreads the word to them that they need to focus on girly stuff, like clothes and hairstyles and attracting boys. What we really need is to restrict women’s access to this part of the culture, and then they will see the light and move over to STEM subjects. Maybe we should shut down publication of magazines that cater to young women, or at least, limit their availability, to give the girls a “nudge” in the other direction.

Sure…..

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