Education Secretary Betsy DeVos vows to pull $18 million in grants from Connecticut schools unless they pull out of an athletic conference that allows transgender girls to compete in female sports

  • The $18 million of funding is due to be released to several magnet schools in Connecticut on October 1 
  • However, the Education Department has warned school officials they must withdraw from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference
  • The Conference allows transgender students to participate on teams of their own choosing
  • The Education Department says that policy violates the Title IX rights of girls and the schools are therefore no longer eligible for funding  
  • Connecticut officials have blasted the Education Department’s threats, and say they are upholding the rights of transgender students in their state  

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is vowing to withhold federal funding from several Connecticut schools unless they withdraw from an athletic conference that allows transgender students to compete on teams ‘that correspond with their gender identity’.

According to a report in The New York Times Friday, the Education Department ‘has warned officials from three Connecticut school districts that it will not release $18 million in grants on October 1, unless the districts cut ties with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’. 

The Conference’s policy has caused controversy, with many claiming the decision to allow transgender girls to compete in girls’ sports is unfair to those who are born female. 

Back in May, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights claimed that the Conference violated the Title IX rights of women and girls to receive equal opportunities in education and athletics. 

Title IX is a 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive funding from the federal government. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is vowing to withhold federal funding from several Connecticut schools unless they withdraw from an athletic conference that allows transgender students to compete on teams 'that correspond with their gender identity'

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is vowing to withhold federal funding from several Connecticut schools unless they withdraw from an athletic conference that allows transgender students to compete on teams ‘that correspond with their gender identity’

Transgender student Terry Miller (second from left) is seen winning a track meet at a Connecticut athletic event last year

Transgender student Terry Miller (second from left) is seen winning a track meet at a Connecticut athletic event last year

However, the Connecticut attorney general has refused to back down, saying the Conference’s policy abides by state law.   

‘State law clearly demands that transgender girls be protected from the discrimination in athletics and elsewhere,’ Connecticut AG William Tong stated at the time. 

Seeming to anticipate threats to withhold future funding, he added: ‘I would oppose any effort to deny or cut funding to which the state is entitled, and we would vigorously oppose any such efforts by the U.S. Department of Education.’

The $18 million worth of grants are supposed to be sent to magnet schools in districts including  New Haven and Hartford. 

Transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood is pictured at a Connecticut track meet last year

Transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood is pictured at a Connecticut track meet last year 

New Haven's mayor, Justin Elicker, has been left shocked by the Education Department's threat to pull the money

New Haven’s mayor, Justin Elicker, has been left shocked by the Education Department’s threat to pull the money

The ‘desegregation’ grants are designed to encourage the high-achieving magnet schools to enroll black and Latino students from outside the local area.   

New Haven’s mayor, Justin Elicker, has been left shocked by the Education Department’s threat to pull the money. 

‘It’s effectively extortion – the federal government is trying to force us to take a side against transgender individuals,’ Elicker told The Times. 

However, an Education Department spokesperson refuted those claims. 

‘It’s not extortion to require school districts to follow federal law,’ they stated. 

‘In fact, it’s the opposite. Congress requires the department to withhold funds from schools that aren’t in compliance with the law.’ 

Education Secretary Besty DeVos is pictured at the White House in July

Education Secretary Besty DeVos is pictured at the White House in July 

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