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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Title IX, taxes and happiness, tourism in Haiti, and veteran education benefits.

July 10, 2008



Title IX needs better enforcement, not reform

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Regarding Alison Kasic's June 26 Opinion piece, "Let's not gloss over Title IX's faults": Title IX does not, in fact, impose quotas. As Ms. Kasic herself points out, the law imposes no numerical requirement because schools can demonstrate that they are providing equal participation opportunities in three separate ways. Indeed, government studies show that only about one-third of schools use the proportionality prong.

Kasic praises a "model survey," issued by the Bush administration, as a good way to measure students' interest in sports participation. But in truth, this survey allows schools to simply send a mass e-mail to female students asking them about their interest in sports – and count a failure to respond as evidence of lack of interest. With the plethora of e-mails college students receive, does anyone really believe this is fair?

Thirty-six years after Title IX, male sports participation has consistently increased – yet women and girls are still shortchanged in opportunities to play, even when they proclaim interest, and in everything from scholarship dollars to recruiting funds. What we need is greater enforcement of Title IX, rather than Kasic's suggestion that the Bush administration go further in cutting back the law. Kasic's way of supposedly reforming Title IX would gut it.

Marcia D. Greenberger
Washington

Copresident, National Women's Law Center

Happiness requires a just tax policy

Regarding Arthur C. Brooks's June 24 Opinion piece, "Does money make you happy?": Mr. Brooks's attempt to prove that "government spending doesn't help" used simplistic comparisons and imprecise analysis. Comparing per capita government spending gives us no indication of what the money was spent on or how that might have changed in 30 years.

Comparing raw percentages of the total responses in each year without breaking down responses according to responders' demographics or economic status provides no information to correlate answers with who was most likely to have benefited from government spending (assuming we knew what the money was spent on).

US tax policy needs changing, all right. Not so we can feel "happy," but for justice and equity and to improve the lives of most Americans. It's not the "hard-earned" money (from wages and salaries) that needs to be taxed at a higher rate; it's corporate executives' annual compensation packages that are several hundred times more than the annual salaries of the rest of the corporation's employees.

Virginia Gilbert
University City, Mo.

Poverty is a tourist deterrent

Regarding the June 19 article, "Eyeing tourism, Haiti battles its reputation for violence": Haiti is not the violence-ridden Hades that exists in foreigners' minds, but the disturbing reality of abject poverty deters tourism.

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