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Education

ESEA Bill Advances: Fix It, Congress

Yesterday, the Senate HELP Committee voted to advance the Every Child Achieves Act out of committee. This bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the major federal K-12 education bill. Although the bill passed out of committee unanimously, several members expressed concern that the bill did not include core civil rights protections for disadvantaged students.

We echo those concerns and hope that if the bill advances to the floor, the Senate adds the following measures to ensure all students have access to a quality education: Read more »

Rewriting No Child Left Behind: Committee Mark-Up Day 1

For three hours yesterday afternoon, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) met to debate and offer amendments to the Every Child Achieves Act—a bipartisan compromise to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The ESEA is the major federal K-12 education-funding bill that was last amended in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act.  Here’s a quick rundown of where things stand after yesterday’s markup: Read more »

What's Missing From the Senate's Bipartisan ESEA Proposal?

Last week, Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray released the Every Child Achieves Act—their proposal to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the major federal K-12 education bill, which was designed to improve outcomes for disadvantaged students. Markup of the bill in the Senate HELP committee starts today and is likely to continue at least through Friday. And while the proposed bipartisan bill is better than the discussion draft Senator Alexander released earlier this year, it doesn’t do enough to ensure the most disadvantaged students get the resources they need to learn. Here are three of the reasons why: Read more »

The President’s FY2016 Budget Will Invest in Making College More Affordable for Women and Families

The President wants to devote $1.365 billion in FY2016 to America’s College Promise, a new program that would make up to two years of tuition free for students enrolled at least half-time in a community college. According to the recently released U.S. Department of Education’s FY2016 budget, the cost of the program would increase as more students took advantage of it, to $60.3 billion over ten years. But that’s a modest investment that would make college more affordable for low- and middle-income families—particularly for women, who make up 56% of community college students and 66% of the low-wage workplace.

A college degree can provide a pathway out of low-paying jobs and into fields with higher pay and more opportunities for professional growth. That’s a no-brainer. Yet, the rising cost of tuition has meant that many students must either forgo college or rely on student loans, which can mean devoting high percentages of post-college earnings to loan repayment. This imposes a particular burden on women, who are paid less than men, even with a college degree. On average, women who borrow to attend community college take out $2,000 more in student loans than men at community colleges do. Read more »

White House Summit on STEM Will Hopefully Reverse Trend of No Girls of Color Taking AP Computer Science Exams in 12 States

Today, the White House with the U.S. Department of Education and The Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center are hosting “Front and Center,” a day-long conference aimed at addressing marginalized girls’ lack of access to STEM and Career and Technical Education (CTE). 

The summit comes shortly after Education Week reported that although the number of students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam “skyrocketed” from 2013 to 2014, girls—particularly girls of color—remain underrepresented among test takers.  Female students in general were noticeably underrepresented among test takers, as well as Hispanic and African American boys: only 20% of the test takers were girls, only 9% were Hispanic, and only 4% were African American. In fact, in 12 states not a single Black student sat for the AP Computer Science exam; Mississippi, where African Americans make up 37% of the state’s population, is among those states, and Montana has the dubious distinction of not having had a single female, Hispanic, or African American student take the exam.  Read more »

Guidance from the Departments of Ed & Justice Will Enforce Education Rights of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Last week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ) released a joint guidance letter reminding juvenile justice residential facilities of their obligations under Title IX [PDF] and other civil rights laws to provide equal access to quality educational opportunities for confined youth.

The guidance makes it clear that under Title IX, all facilities that receive federal funds must offer equal educational opportunities without regard to sex. That means youth detention centers must make sure girls have equal access to career and technical programs and that facilities cannot rely on gender stereotypes when determining what opportunities to make available (e.g., automotive repair classes only for boys and cosmetology only for girls). The guidance also says that under Title IX, facilities must protect committed youth from sexual harassment and violence regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or conformity with sex stereotypes. Read more »

Department of Ed Takes Single-Sex Classes Out of the Twilight Zone

Imagine a public, co-ed elementary school in the 21st century where boys and girls are divided into separate classrooms for reading and language arts. In the boys classroom, pictures of race cars and sports imagery decorate the walls and students take part in competitive learning games; in contrast, the girls classroom is decked out in pink and animal prints with a poster warning students to “Act pretty at all times,” and students always work collaboratively in groups. Sadly, you’re not in the Twilight Zone. Classrooms like these actually exist in the United States today. Based on debunked studies that claim girls’ brains aren’t wired for competition and that boys’ brains can’t grasp emotions, single-sex classrooms that promote sex stereotypes have flourished—even though they employ sex-based discriminatory teaching methods that violate Title IX. Read more »

It Doesn't Get Any Clearer Than This

I am so tired of hearing that there is no campus sexual assault problem, that it’s just a myth perpetuated by feminists and what’s really happening is that “[g]irls are drinking themselves blotto precisely in order to lower their inhibitions for casual sex, then regretting it afterwards.” It’s incred Read more »

White House Report and Event on Girls and Women of Color

Yesterday, the White House released a report [PDF] called Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity and announced that the White House Council on Women and Girls will now have a working group to focus on the particular barriers that women and g Read more »

Today's Lesson: Inequality

I remember learning about inequality in math class back in the day. I’m sure you remember too—the lessons usually involved Pac-Man—and the terms “greater than” and “less than”. 

I encountered mathematical inequalities again when I taught them to my third graders. But since becoming a part of the team at the National Women’s Law Center, I’ve learned a lot about the other types of inequality in schools. Unfortunately, it’s no math lesson—and too many African American girls are on the “less than” side of it.

Our new report: Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity describes the barriers that African American girls encounter in school and the educational and employment outcomes that stem from these barriers. Unlocking Opportunity also offers recommendations for addressing these barriers and changing these outcomes. Read more »