Reaching For Fairness

Yesterday The Daily Wire reported the following:

On Monday, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing teen track star Selina Soule and two other minor female track athletes submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights seeking an investigation into sex discrimination. The complaint specifically challenges the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletics, ADF announced in a press release sent to The Daily Wire on Monday.

Per the CIAC policy, Soule was forced to compete against female-identifying biological males in a high-stakes track competition where two transgender sprinters beat the field, taking first and second place by significant margins; Soule landed in 8th place, missing an opportunity to compete in front of college coaches by two places.

“I am very happy for these athletes and I fully support them for being true to themselves and having the courage to do what they believe in,” Soule told host Fox News host Laura Ingraham in February. “But, in athletics, it’s an entirely different situation. It’s scientifically proven that males are built to be physically stronger than females. It’s unfair to put someone who is biologically a male, who has not undergone anything in terms of hormone therapy, against cis-gender girls.”

“Throughout the 2018-19 track season, males consistently deprived the female athletes who are part of the complaint of dozens of medals, opportunities to compete at a higher level, and the public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities,” an ADF news release said. “The complaint notes that CIAC’s policy and its results directly violated the requirements of Title IX, a federal regulation designed to protect equal athletic opportunities for women and girls.”

I will admit that this is a new issue to me. Transgender was not common when my children were in school. It does seem to me that adolescent girls and adolescent boys are different physically. Generally boys have more muscle mass and more upper body strength. That makes competition between the sexes uneven. If a male transitioning to female is allowed to compete against women, he has a physical advantage–he will generally be taller with more muscle mass. That seems unfair to me. The only logical solution is to set up athletic events specifically for transgender students. Otherwise the athletes are not competing on a level playing field.

Common Sense From The Huffington Post

I missed this article when it came out, but the Huffington Post posted an article in early August that makes an important point.

The article reports:

The story about Bill Gates’ swift and silent takeover of American education is startling. His role and the role of the U.S. Department of Education in drafting and imposing the Common Core standards on almost every state should be investigated by Congress.

The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal. A Congressional investigation is warranted.

The close involvement of Arne Duncan raises questions about whether the law was broken.

Just the idea that the federal government is taking over local education is frightening.

The writer of the article explains why she opposes Common Core:

The revelation that education policy was shaped by one unelected man, underwriting dozens of groups. and allied with the Secretary of Education, whose staff was laced with Gates’ allies, is ample reason for Congressional hearings.

I have written on various occasions (see here and here) that I could not support the Common Core standards because they were developed and imposed without regard to democratic process. The writers of the standards included no early childhood educators, no educators of children with disabilities, no experienced classroom teachers; indeed, the largest contingent of the drafting committee were representatives of the testing industry. No attempt was made to have pilot testing of the standards in real classrooms with real teachers and students. The standards do not permit any means to challenge, correct, or revise them.

In a democratic society, process matters. The high-handed manner in which these standards were written and imposed in record time makes them unacceptable. These standards not only undermine state and local control of education, but the manner in which they were written and adopted was authoritarian. No one knows how they will work, yet dozens of groups have been paid millions of dollars by the Gates Foundation to claim that they are absolutely vital for our economic future, based on no evidence whatever.

The article points out that at a time when local districts are struggling to fund education adequately, they are now being asked to spend additional money on Common Core materials, testing, software and hardware. This does not make sense.

Diane Ravitch, who wrote the article at the Huffington Post is a Research Professor of Education, New York University; and Author of the book, ‘Reign of Error.’ She is calling for a Congressional investigation into Common Core.