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Will North Carolina Be the First State to Lose Federal Education Funding Over Gender Discrimination?

Will North Carolina Be the First State to Lose Federal Education Funding Over Gender Discrimination?

The U.S. Department of Education has never once cut a state’s funding because of issue with how it handles student equality, although it has investigated and found issues in various states in the past, says The Miami Herald.

Could North Carolina be the first state to lose federal education funding because of its recently passed law banning transgendered students from using the bathroom of their choice? Could $4.5 million in funding be at stake?

North Carolina is facing significant backlash after being the first state to prohibit transgendered individuals from using preferred bathrooms- though South Dakota almost passed similar legislation last month before the governor exercised his veto power.

Advocates of the new legislation argue that any loss of funding would be an overstep of power.

"Attorneys and those advocating the new North Carolina bathroom restrictions say the Department of Education would be stretching the definition and intent of federal nondiscrimination protections to apply them to the state,” The Miami Herald said.

In order to argue that transgendered students are protected under the Education Department’s equality law, advocates argue that it would have to be tested in the federal court system first.

However, those against the legislation argue that “[i]n recent years, federal officials and agencies have ruled that the term ‘sex'– found in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX education law – refers not only to birth gender but also to sexual orientation as well as gender identity,” meaning that North Carolina’s law would in fact be violating the equality law.

Some speculate that, in time, the Supreme Court will have to hear and rule on the matter.

In this specific case, North Carolina is one state that can't afford to lose any funding; it has consistently been ranked as being one of the last in the nation when it comes to per-pupil spending. 

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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