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In her Thursday column, "Single-sex Schools and the Spirit of Title IX," Talia Milgrom-Elcott discusses the legal challenge to an all-girl public school in East Harlem. Milgrom-Elcott finds it ironic that the Title IX civil rights laws can strike down conditions that favour women over men.
The New York Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups oppose the Young Women's Leadership School because it discriminates against boys; young men who deserve the same opportunities as these girls. Although Congress drafted Title IX in response to decades of bias against women, sexual discrimination is not a one-way street. Inner-city girls might learn more in the school's singlesex environment, but society cannot sanction any kind of discrimination. Civil rights laws, arbitrarily enforced, lose all moral standing.
The founders of Young Women's Leadership School deserve credit for realizing schools make in poor environments. But specialization should not constitute intentional discrimination. Bias against girls can be overcome in regular schools through innovations such as single-sex math classes and further teacher training.
Despite Milgrom-Elcott's suggestion that discrimination favouring women should be exempt from Title IX challenges, the spirit of Constitution is "equal justice under law." Both the uniformed girls from the Young Women's Leadership School and male cadets at the Virginia Military Academy are held under the same law.
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