The proportionality test is a feminist-supported three-part test first adopted under Title IX by the Carter Administration and then expanded by the Clinton Administration, which imposes a mindless gender quota on school sports allegedly for the purpose of complying with Title IX (in fact, Title IX was never intended to cause this).
This test has resulted in the elimination of hundreds of men's wrestling and baseball teams, and even some women's teams in gymnastics and other sports that have relatively small squads. The test consists of counting the number of male and female participants on the school sports teams, and holds that schools are in compliance with Title IX only if they:
- have the same proportion of girls in sports as enrolled in the school,
- are expanding the opportunities for girls in sports, or
- are satisfying the entire interest of girls to participate in sports.
In a typical situation, a school has limited budget resources for sports programs. If budgetary constraints require a school to cut sports teams and prevent expanded sports for girls, then prongs (2) and (3) of the test cannot be satisfied. In these common cases the school must meet the quota requirement of (1), thereby causing it to eliminate many more boy team positions than girl team positions in order to make the gender of the team members reflect the student body. James Madison University has done precisely that, cutting far more boys teams than girls teams in order to meet Title IX's requirement for access for both boys and girls.
The problem with prong (3) is that it requires an expensive survey of female students to measure their interest in participating on teams. When schools try to demonstrate Title IX compliance using a prong (3) survey, feminists attack the survey methodology. Also, just because a woman responds on a survey that she would be interested in playing a particular sport does not guarantee that if the school undertakes the expense of hiring a coach, enough students will sign up for a varsity team in that sport.
Title IX applies to all levels of federally-supported schools, and feminists seek to apply the proportionality test fully to high schools.
Proportionality tests can be said to be contrary to the principles of a meritocracy, as they encourage promotion to sports teams based on gender, not ability. The result is a decline in quality since the best athletes in certain sports are not given the platform to excel because player slots have been created for the opposite gender.
- "[I]n 1996, the Education Department issued a 'clarification.' In it, Clinton-administration Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Norma Cantu proposed steps that might be taken to demonstrate compliance with these tests, but left it up to the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights to determine whether those measures were adequate. She designated test one -- the proportionality test -- as a 'safe harbor,' where school administrators had to find shelter if they wanted to be sure they were protected from subjectively derived judgments of noncompliance."