Gov. Ricketts takes aim at Title IX changes sought by federal officials

By: - September 11, 2022 5:04 pm

Four finalists have been named to be Nebraska’s next Education commissioner. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

Gov. Pete Ricketts is criticizing the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed revisions to Title IX, and on Friday he called on other Nebraskans to weigh in as well.

Federal education officials have stated that a review of current regulations, and of public and stakeholder meetings, suggest that the existing rules do not best fulfill the requirement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. That is, that schools and institutions receiving federal financial assistance eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex in their programs or activities.

The department has proposed changes to clarify that recipients do not discriminate based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Ricketts said the proposed changes “purposely misinterpret and misapply” Supreme Court opinion to expand the definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity, sexual orientation and sexual characteristics.

The governor said that would end separation of restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities based on biological sex in schools and instead separate based on gender identity.

 “Federal efforts to dictate how schools respond to the transgender issue is blatant overreach,” Ricketts wrote. “States have a right to determine how schools operate.”

Federal officials have estimated that the proposed changes would save recipients $9.8 million to $28.2 million over a decade. 

A posting by the department went on to say: “Although the department cannot quantify, in monetary terms, the benefits of the proposed regulations to those who have been subjected to sex discrimination, the department recognizes that sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment, can have profound and long-lasting economic costs for students, employees, and other members of a recipient’s surrounding community.”

Comments can be submitted through Monday via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at


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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.

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