U.S. Department of Education Releases Report on Office for Civil Rights to Ensure Educational Equity for All Students

by Ernie Melcher

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its fiscal year 2015 annual report highlighting efforts during the last year to protect students’ civil rights and increase educational equity nationwide.
The report, Delivering Justice, cites examples of OCR’s enforcement activities in 2015, including processing a record 10,392 civil rights complaints, opening more than 3,000 investigations, and reaching more than 1,000 substantive resolutions with institutions that included remedies or changes designed to protect students’ civil rights.
The report describes how OCR’s complaint volume has nearly doubled in the past decade – even as its staffing level has decreased by 15 percent since 2005, reaching an all-time low last year.
Notable cases are profiled in the report, including some related to equitable access to courses and educational opportunities, racial harassment, equal opportunity for English learners, bullying and harassment, accessible technology for students with disabilities, and sexual harassment and violence.
Also covered in the report – OCR’s work to provide technical assistance to educational institutions, engage with stakeholders, administer the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), and develop nine policy guidance documents on key civil rights topics.
More information is available at

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