Category:

Education

Title IX Changes & Timelines: What Can We Do When a Final Rule Will Take Too Long?

On September 13, more than thirty members of Congress sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, urging the Biden Administration to continue to build on the steps the administration has taken thus far to protect survivor-complaints from sexual misconduct. The letter emphasized President Biden’s clear interest in Title IX reform, celebrating many of the changes he has made since coming into office. However, alongside this praise, came the enumeration of several remaining concerns born out of the Trump Administrations widely criticized May 2020 Title IX regulations.

How Much is Too Much? College and University COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

As schools attempt to return to “normalcy”, approximately 1,000 colleges and universities have mandated vaccines for students. While the majority of these schools have relatively high vaccination rates, students complain that extra precautions including student surveillance and monitoring are going too far. Conversely, many schools in states with notoriously lax COVID-19 mandates struggle to keep students safe while following state mandates.

Administration Matters: The Evolution of Cross-Examination Requirements under Title IX

On August 24, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), released guidance clarifying that, effective immediately, it will stop the enforcement of 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(6)(i). With this new guidance, a decision-maker at a post-secondary school may now consider outside information submitted by a survivor-complainant during the Title IX grievance process, even if the survivor-complainant does not partake in cross-examination.

Objectively Subjective? What the Newly Published Title IX Q&A Tell us About Sexual Harassment and the Recently Emphasized Reasonable Person Standard

In May of last year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a Final Rule, amending the regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. With this guidance came a plethora of changes to how recipients of Federal financial assistance covered by Title IX must respond to allegations of sex-based discrimination. Amongst the most notable changes to these regulations, was the clarification that a reasonable person standard applies to certain elements which are, at times, necessary to prove sexual harassment under Title IX.

Standardized Tests in 2021: Is Now A Time for Accountability?

Timothy Higus Senior Editor Loyola University School of Law, JD 2021  Ah, the spring – the smell of rain, sights of blooming flowers, the sounds of birds chirping, and government-imposed standardized tests. School leaders, teachers, and even state superintendents are again asking the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) to waive their obligation to take standardized …
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New CDC Guidelines for K-12 Schools May Send More Students Back to Classrooms

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) released revised guidelines regarding physical distancing in K-12 schools. Originally, the CDC recommended that students should stay six feet away from each other in a classroom with mask but now recommends at least three feet between students in classrooms. These new guidelines will encourage more schools to return to the classroom around the nation.

The Biggest Upset of March Madness: Unequal Accommodations

A major upset took place on first day of the very much anticipated 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) Division 1 Basketball Tournaments, and I am not referring to any of the games that took place on that day. In the evening of March 18th, University of Oregon Forward Sedona Prince took to social media to expose the evident discrepancies between the weight room facilities for the men’s and women’s tournament facilities. To prevent a coronavirus outbreak, each of the tournaments are taking place in a bubble funded by the NCAA. The video Prince posted showed the women’s tournament weight room which consisted of a single set of dumbbells, then showed the men’s tournament weight room that was supplied with various training equipment. Not only were there massive disparities between the weight rooms for the men’s and women’s tournaments, but there is also a clear and substantial difference in the “swag bags” given to each student athlete participating in the tournament from the NCAA. As well as the quality of food provided to the female student athletes who are competing in the tournament.

Now that Congress Passed the American Rescue Plan, How Can Chicago and Illinois Spend It?

The latest COVID-19 relief package passed on March 11, 2021 by Congress provides a total of $1.9 trillion in mandatory funding, program changes, and tax policies designed to address the enduring economic damage caused by the pandemic. About 15% of the total package will be allocated to states and local governments to tackle budgetary issues associated with the pandemic with very few strings attached. The State of Illinois and the city of Chicago are in the process of assessing the relief package and formulating plans as to how they will allocate the funds.

CDC/ED Guidelines for Reopening Schools: Does This End the Debate?

For almost a year, schools have been reacting to the unprecedented circumstances that Covid-19 has caused. Most of the mitigation efforts thus far have been at the direction of state and local governments. Only recently have federal agencies given clear and substantial guidance on how to get students back into the classroom. Schools have largely fallen into three categories — in-person, remote, or a blended model that involves students doing some classwork at home and some at school. Some schools moved to increase their in-person learning and some have had to retrace their steps when positivity rates were too high, either in the school or in the larger community.

How the Biden Administration will tackle Special Education Failures during COVID-19

The incoming Biden administration includes Dr. Miguel Cardona as the new Secretary of Education. Advocates for students with disabilities recently met with Dr. Cardona to voice concerns about issues ranging from school discipline to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education services. In this meeting, Cardona stressed the importance of inclusivity in public schools and the need to promote the rights of people with disabilities, as well as to increase civil rights law enforcement by Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”). Providing a “free appropriate public education” or FAPE during this time came with tremendous costs to budgets and other burdens for school administrators who, in “good faith” tried to meet these standards. However, after the DOE initiated four investigations in the past month over concerns districts nationwide have failed to provide appropriate services to students with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic. These investigations will be one of the first tasks Dr. Cardona will take on as Secretary of Education.