Legal

Office for Civil Rights Releases Report to Ensure Educational Equity for All Students

by Sandy Shacklady-White

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its fiscal year 2016 annual report highlighting efforts during the last year to protect students’ civil rights and increase educational equity nationwide.

The report, Securing Equal Educational Opportunity, cites examples of OCR’s enforcement activities in 2016, including processing a record 16,720 civil rights complaints, initiating 13 compliance reviews, and resolving 1,116 substantive resolutions with institutions that included remedies or changes designed to protect students’ civil rights.

The report describes how OCR’s complaint volume in the past eight years has risen in many areas, including complaints related to restraint or seclusion of students with disabilities; harassment based on race, color or ethnicity; web accessibility for students with disabilities; and sexual violence.

OCR has released five policy guidance documents and hosted 72 policy-related sessions with stakeholders on a variety of topics. The topics were related to Title IX, Section 504, Title II of ADA, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In addition, OCR provided more than 295 technical assistance sessions that included schools and districts, state education agencies, high education organizations, parent groups, nonprofit and advocacy groups, and other federal agencies to educate stakeholders on important civil rights topics.

Lastly, OCR published the 2013-14 school year Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) that includes data from approximately 97,000 public schools serving about 50 million students across the United States. The CRDC is fully accessible and downloadable by the public at http://ocrdata.ed.gov/
Access the full Securing Equal Educational Opportunity report at https://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/ocr/report-to-president-and-secretary-of-education-2016.pdf

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