U.S. Education Department Reaches Agreement with Chicago Public Schools to Increase Athletic Opportunities for Girls to Comply with Title IX

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U.S. Education Department Reaches Agreement with Chicago Public Schools to Increase Athletic Opportunities for Girls to Comply with Title IX

Probe Reveals That District High School Girls Have Fewer Opportunities to Play Sports
July 9, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education today announced that its Office for Civil Rights has reached an agreement with the Chicago Public Schools to ensure that Illinois’ largest school district complies with Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

OCR’s investigation revealed significant disparities between the enrollment of female students and their participation in high school interscholastic athletics at the majority of district high schools. OCR determined that 6,200 additional athletic participation opportunities would be available if girls’ enrollment and participation were proportionate.

"With this resolution agreement, the district has committed to provide, on a school by school basis, an equal opportunity for high school girls to participate in interscholastic athletics at all 98 high schools," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. "I am delighted that the new accountability measures put in place by the district, including a new Title IX Sports Compliance Coordinator, new sports participation database, and new website that provides a description of sports offerings at each high school and a process for students to request additional sports opportunities, will help ensure equal athletic opportunity for another 6,200 Chicago girls and equal opportunity in school for all Chicago students.”

Under the terms of the agreement with OCR, the district will add participation opportunities at a minimum of 12 high schools beginning as early as fall 2015. Thereafter, based on a comprehensive assessment of the interests and abilities of its students, the district will add new sports, levels of competition (e.g., varsity, junior varsity, sophomore, freshman) or squads each season until each high school has demonstrated compliance with Title IX. The agreement requires compliance to be demonstrated no later than the 2018-19 school year.

Title IX compliance does not require the cutting of sports, teams, or other athletic opportunities.

Additional highlights of the agreement include:

  • Measures to ensure that the athletics directors of each high school provide current and complete information about their programs, including a requirement that the directors certify the accuracy of the data provided and possible discipline for not providing accurate and timely information

  • Annual Title IX training for all high school athletics directors

OCR will closely monitor the district’s implementation of the agreement to ensure that the commitments made are implemented in a timely and effective manner and results in equal athletic opportunities for the female students. OCR will not close its monitoring until OCR determines that the district has fulfilled the terms of the agreement and is in compliance with the provisions of Title IX that were at issue in this case.

A copy of the resolution letter is posted here and the agreement here.

OCR's mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001. For more information about OCR and how OCR processes civil rights cases, please visit OCR's website at www.ed.gov/ocr.