The Department of Education is practicing discrimination against boys in a misguided effort to make up for what federal law sees as past discrimination against girls, a councilwoman charged this week.
It’s doing that by refusing to field boys’ sports teams in new schools like Maspeth High School and Metropolitan High School, said the lawmaker, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).
The DOE said in response that the Public Schools Athletic League has focused on new girls’ teams this year but is planning a more balanced approach next year.
The issue is federal Title IX regulations, which require equal treatment of both sexes. Since more boys than girls have historically joined sports teams, the DOE, as well as other school systems nationwide, has been emphasizing the addition of teams for young women.
But the outright ban on boys’ teams in new schools is not the answer, said Crowley, who has two sons at Metropolitan.
“The logic behind the current DOE plan is not only flawed, but extremely disappointing to thousands of young people who wish to partake in their favorite extracurricular activities — ones which can help them focus more on academics and make them more attractive candidates to prospective colleges,” she said in an op-ed sent to the Chronicle this week.
Dmytro Fedkowskyj, the Queens rep on the Panel for Educational Policy, said the DOE policy is short-sighted and unfair, and that he will discuss it with schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott before final decisions on teams are made for the next school year. The policy makes the city’s new schools less attractive to students, he added: “If the goal is to reduceovercrowding in our existing high schools than the DOEneeds to create an inviting and balanced atmosphere in our new high schools, otherwise moststudents just won’t go.”
Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), a former teacher, said the policy is “unbelievable” and that a well-rounded education is about more than academics.
“We are working hard to develop a plan for next year to create both boys and girls teams in new schools, while still maintaining our effort to increase overall female participation,” DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said in an email, adding that the department agrees all students should have the chance to reap the benefits of sports.