On May 13, a joint letter from the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice went to school administrators across the nation. It was addressed to “Dear Colleague.” The first page of the document was written in seven different languages offering free language services if the reader had difficulty understanding English.
Stop and let this sink in for a moment. This is a letter to professional educators in public school systems that receive federal funding. This is not to immigrants arriving in America to pursue their dreams in a new country. There is no justifiable reason for a professional educator to require free language services from the DOE or DOJ.
In a sinister manner, the DOE and DOJ, made one thing clear to their colleagues. The two agencies, “have determined that this letter is significant guidance.”
The emphasis of the words, “significant guidance” is in the original letter. A footnote on the term “significant guidance” referred back to 9 pages in the Federal Register from the Office of Management and Budget explaining the term “significant guidance.”
The bottom line is that “significant guidance” does not carry the force of law or regulatory rule. It is just a friendly little hint that this is how the regulatory enforcers would interpret their rules. The unstated implication is that the reader will save himself/herself a lot of trouble by just quietly complying.
They also provided a helpful document entitled, “Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students.” These are policies that other districts have adopted, “to help ensure that transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.”
As I read this letter, I thought of the old movies where two well dressed men visit the new deli in town. They buy a sandwich and drink and strike up a friendly conversation with the owner. During the conversation they make mention of the security fees that all the businesses on the street pay in order to keep the crime rate down.
If the owner did not get the message, he might be vandalized that night. If he still did not get the message, he is robbed. If he still did not quite understand, his place is destroyed by fire. We’ll just call the two friendly men by their initials – DOE and DOJ.
The approach of the Obama administration attempting to create law via regulatory agency is wrapped up in a single sentence. “The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations.”
Notice that the letter does not say that Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 states this. It says that the DOE and the DOJ have determined to treat gender identify as the student’s sex.
Title IX relates to discrimination based on a person’s gender. DOE and DOJ are attempting to expand the enforcement of the law to apply to a person’s chosen gender identity. They set forth their position as follows:
“The Departments interpret Title IX to require that when a student or the student’s parent or guardian, as appropriate, notifies the school administration that the student will assert a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records, the school will begin treating the student consistent with the student’s gender identity. Under Title IX, there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity.”
Federal regulators are telling local school systems that if a student notifies the school that he has decided that he wants to be a she or she has decided that she wants to be a he, then school administrators must accommodate. They must refer to the individual using the appropriate pronoun (he, she, him her) that fits the stated gender identity.
The letter also emphasizes the requirement for confidentiality. It leads one to question if notification of parent/guardian could be considered a violation.
This “Dear Colleague” letter shows why the US Department of Education should be abolished. The Obama Administration will veto any legislation that attempts to abolish it. We are now just a few months away from a new administration.
Conservatives in Congress and candidates running for Congress should start working now to prepare legislation that abolish the DOE when a Republican is sworn in as President next year. It is time that the American people turn the tables and offer some “significant guidance” to our elected officials about the future of the US Department of Education.
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