May 2, 2017

Robert Kim, (212) 230-2761,
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Schools officials need better information and guidance in crafting gender-identity-related policies, review finds

Report serves a broader goal of shrinking federal civil rights footprint

EAST LANSING, Mich. (May 2, 2017) — A recent report from the Heritage Foundation called on the U.S. government to respect federalism, local decision-making, and parental authority regarding decisions concerning gender identity. The report argued that schools should not be required to protect youth from discrimination based on gender identity under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. A review of the report released today finds that it lacks sufficient information for school officials or policymakers to best integrate and serve transgender youth in schools.

Robert Kim, a William T. Grant Distinguished Fellow at Rutgers University, reviewed the report, Gender Identity Policies in Schools: What Congress, the Courts, and the Trump Administration Should Do, for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The report called on the Trump administration and the courts to reverse Obama-era protections of transgender students under Title IX. It claimed that recent gender identity policies were unlawful.

Kim in his review identifies several weaknesses of the report. According to Kim, the report fails to acknowledge or address:

  1. legal developments that support the argument that gender identity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination;
  2. the near-consensus within the medical, scientific, and educational communities concerning how transgender students should be treated; and
  3. recent research literature on the appropriate care for and education of transgender youth.

In his conclusion, Kim says: "What is entirely missing from this report — and what state and local policymakers and educators urgently need — is information and guidance in an area that may be new or unfamiliar to them."

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find the original report on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

Robert Kim previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. His current work examines the relationship between school finance research and education policy and practice with a focus on educational inequity.

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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