NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women's Educational Equity Act

October 25, 2001

On most indicators of academic achievement and student behavior, girls perform as well as or better than boys. Yet 27 years ago the federal Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA) was enacted to promote "equity" in educational policies, programs, activities and initiatives.

  • The WEEA was based on the premise that "teaching and learning practices in the United States are frequently inequitable as such practices relate to women and girls."
  • All told, programs created under this act have cost taxpayers roughly $100 million.
  • Yet, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office, there have been no evaluations of WEEA projects, and thus "little evidence of their effectiveness in eliminating sex bias in education."

There is evidence, however, that the WEEA addresses nonexistent problems, and thus diverts resources from more pressing education needs.

  • Last year, a U.S. Department of Education study, "Trends in Educational Equity of Girls and Women," analyzed 44 indicators -- including academic achievement and behavioral outcomes --and concluded that "By most of these measures, females are doing at least as well as males."
  • This year, an Educational Testing Service report, "Differences in the Gender Gap," concluded that "Females have made dramatic progress in educational attainment, across all racial/ethnic groups, pulling even with (and in some cases, surpassing) males.... There is neither a pattern of across-the-board male advantage nor a pattern of across-the-board female advantage...."
  • And according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), girls outscore boys in reading, writing, civics and the arts, and hold their own in math.

Thus, analysts say there is no justification for retaining the WEEA in the final Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization bill now being considered by a congressional conference committee.

Source: Krista Kafer, "Wasting Education Dollars: The Women's Educational Equity Act," Backgrounder No. 1490, October 11, 2001, Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 546-4400.


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