Department of Education Issues Report on "Helping to Ensure Access to Equal Education"

Department of Education Issues Report on "Helping to Ensure Access to Equal Education"

On November 28, 2012, Russlyn Ali, the U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, held a telephone conference to discuss the Office for Civil Rights new report “Helping to Ensure Access to Equal Education”.  The report summarizes OCR’s compliance and enforcement activities between 2009 and 2012. On the call and in the report, OCR provided an overview of its activities between 2009 and 2012.  During this time period, OCR:

  • Received 28,971 complaints, representing a 24 percent increase over the last four-year period, and resolved 28,577 complaints.  Of the filed complaints, approximately (a) half addressed disability discrimination, (b) a quarter addressed Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and (c) the remainder addressed sex and age discrimination.
  • Initiated over 100 compliance reviews, “many of which address first-of their-kind issues”.
  • Issued 10 comprehensive guidance documents.
The report also highlights OCR’s efforts to expand the Civil Rights Data Collection for K-12 public schools.  The report explains that the expanded data collection has helped identify “urgent educational concerns and have become an important tool for self-analysis in schools and districts across the country”, but it also recognizes the data has shown “where schools and districts are making great progress and leading the nation in closing the opportunity gap.” Assistant Secretary Ali announced that she would be retiring from the post effective this Friday, November 30.  No replacement has been named at this time.

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