The new Title IX regulations that were introduced by the Department of Education (the Department) in May are officially in effect and require school districts to implement multiple changes in their Title IX compliance practices. Title IX explains that educational programs and activities receiving federal funding from the Department must not act in a discriminatory manner on the basis of sex. These new regulations extend many new protections against sexual harassment, and aim to protect the rights of students, mainly their right to due process. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are challenged with implementing these new regulations while navigating the obstacles brought by the virus.
As thousands of schools across the country comply with state and local social distancing orders due to the global pandemic COVID-19 for this 2020-21 school year, many schools are now faced with having to educate students from their homes in either hybrid or fully remote models. Millions of students are now utilizing online educational services to aid in remote learning. Although these education technology companies (“EdTech”) are now providing crucial remote learning opportunities for students, school districts must also keep students’ privacy rights in mind. Many of these EdTech services will collect and use personal information of students who use their services. This is where the Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) pertains.
On September 16, The Big Ten conference announced the reversal of the decision to postpone fall sports and will resume football the week of Oct. 23rd. On that same day, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced elementary and high school football teams will still not return for the fall. With football being a contact sport, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is very high. There are hopes for Illinois high school football to return in the spring but as of now, there are not enough resources to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and local authorities’ guidelines.
Single-sex educational opportunities are many and varied, from all girls or boys’ private schools and colleges to single-sex classes offered in some public schools. Title IX established the framework in which schools can establish these single-sex programs to ensure their fairness and constitutionality. Individuals advocate for these types of programs under the assumption that the programs help students achieve greater academic performance. While there is no conclusive research supporting this theory, the ample anecdotal testimony and success stories from schools with these programs, offer a compelling voice in support of single-sex education. Some of these success stories come from schools in Illinois where single-sex classes have been recently implemented into the curriculum.
Fall of 2020, like most of 2020, is looking different for everyone. While some schools are resuming in-person classes, other schools have chosen to resume online classes; while some people are returning to offices, other businesses have announced that employees will continue to work from home until at least July of 2021. The uniformity of our daily lives is gone, and that it is exactly what is happening with the different college football conferences for Fall 2020. With the National Collegiate Athletic Association “NCAA” having no control over college football, it was up to the Power Five Conferences to independently decide what each conference’s season would look like this fall.
Preparing for the 2020-21 school year has been exceptionally challenging for students, teachers, and administrators than in years past. This year, not only will schools be battling the challenges presented in the return to in-person learning, there is also a growing concern that school districts and educational service agencies will face unparalleled rates of litigation for their inability to meet requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) during the months of remote learning. The IDEA guarantees eligible students with disabilities a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE). This Act also provides the right for parents to file a complaint through a due process hearing for when they believe their child is not being provided with a FAPE.
During February 2020, COVID-19 hit the United States and disrupted many lives all throughout the country. Many states shut down most businesses, stores, and restaurants except for all essential services. By March, schools were forced to create unconventional forms of teaching methods for the remainder of the school year such as e-learning and sending students lesson packets for the week. As the school year approaches, many school districts are still determining their instruction mode for the upcoming school year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided guidelines to reopening schools and advised school districts to work closely with local and state health officials to determine the best practices for reopening.
In times of economic recession, Americans historically have sought additional education to mitigate minimal employment prospects and retrain for an evolving job market. Coding bootcamps may be especially attractive in the era of COVID as they provide vocational training in a growing field and many programs are offered remotely by design. These programs may become even more enticing because of a new financing instrument called an income share agreement (“ISA”).
Earlier this May, Betsy DeVos, the US Secretary of Education, announced the new Title IX regulations that were to be implemented by the beginning of August. DeVos argued that the regulations did not provide due process to students accused of sexual assault. Victim advocacy groups contended that her amended rules discourage victims from reporting their sexual assaults or harassment. Victim advocacy groups also state that schools are unprepared to implement many of the changes to Title IX. Students, women’s rights organizations and educational groups have come together and have filed a law suit to stop the new relegations from taking effect. This is only one of many suits that have been filed to stop the regulations. When people think of sexual assault on college campuses, many people automatically think of Title IX. However, many states around the country have their own state laws that also regulate how colleges and universities are supposed to handle sexual assault and harassment cases. These state laws will also have to be amended to follow the new Title IX regulations.
On May 6, 2020, Secretary Betsy Devos, through the Department of Education (the “Department”) issued the new Title IX regulations (the Final Rule) scheduled to take effect August 14, 2020. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The statute states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”, yet it does not define sexual harassment. The Final Rule is heavily contested due to its demanding provisions and implementation period during the pandemic.