Six Republican senators are contesting Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on proposed changes to Title IX regulations, citing a “disturbing likelihood” that his department’s reinterpretation of those rules would force radical sex and gender ideologies upon K-12 schools across the nation.
The Education Department in June announced an overhaul of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits “sex-based discrimination” in federally funded educational settings.
In part, the proposal broadens the definition of “sex,” and seeks to establish that failing to accommodate someone’s preferred gender identity in school activities or spaces is harmful enough to constitute a Title IX violation.
In their July 26 letter (pdf) to Cardona, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) argued against the changes, saying such a shift from biological sex to gender identity is particularly bad for women and girls, who will have to accept the presence of biological males in activities and spaces formerly exclusive to women.
“Your interpretation of Title IX will undermine that law’s very purpose by making schools and sports unsafe and unfair for women and girls,” the senators wrote. “Equally disturbing is the likelihood that your department will weaponize Title IX to force a radical gender ideology in K-12 classrooms.”
The senators demanded a response by Aug. 15 for 10 questions related to the potential ramifications of Title IX changes. One of the questions references a now-abandoned case in Wisconsin, where a public school district accused three eighth-grade boys of sexual harassment for addressing another student with biologically correct pronouns instead of the student’s preferred alternatives.
“Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for a student to refuse to call someone by pronouns that do not correspond to their biological sex?” the senators asked.
Another question involves Lia Thomas, a male-born swimmer who in March won a national college championship competing against women. The senators wanted Cardona to clarify whether it violates Title IX for a school to deny someone like Thomas access to the girls’ locker room.
Several other questions concern schools that are encouraging children to “transition” to a new gender identity while keeping parents in the dark—a practice that many major school districts now recommend.
“Would it be ‘discriminatory’ or a potential violation of Title IX for a school employee or student to notify or inform parents about their child’s ‘gender transition’ or alleged gender identity?” the senators asked. They also pointed to a potential conflict with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a long-established federal law that gives parents the authority to access their children’s education records.
The letter comes as the Education Department, as required by federal law, solicits and considers public comment before the proposed Title IX revisions are finalized. The 60-day comment period ends on Sept. 12.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the department for comment.