The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it will begin collecting new data to measure whether all students have equal educational opportunity and to inform its enforcement of federal civil rights laws. The data will be collected through the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which surveys school districts in a variety of areas related to civil rights in education.
“Getting relevant, accurate and accessible data is a prerequisite to critical analysis and good decision-making,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Our hope and expectation is that by ensuring that the data collected by the CRDC covers the critical issues in civil rights in education, the department and all stakeholders will have the information they need to ensure that school districts and schools are living up to the promise of providing equal educational opportunity.”
After conducting a comprehensive review of the past survey and considering comments from numerous stakeholders, OCR added new data items to be used in the 2009-10 CRDC. The new data items cover critical topics such as students’ participation in algebra and other college-preparatory subjects, retention, teacher experience/absenteeism, school funding, harassment, restraint/seclusion, and additional information related to discipline.
Most of the data collected by the CRDC will be disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, disability, and limited English proficient status. Along with these changes, OCR streamlined the survey by removing several other data items.
In 2010, the CRDC sample will expand from 6,000 to 7,000 school districts. Every school in a district that is part of the sample is surveyed. The sample now includes all districts with enrollments of more than 3,000 students. The survey, which will be conducted in two parts (March and October 2010), will collect data for the 2009-10 school year.
OCR also has launched a new Web site, http://ocrdata.ed.gov, to make the CRDC data more accessible and usable to its wide variety of users. The Web site contains CRDC data from 2000-2006, and OCR will post the 2009-10 data when it becomes available. The Web site enhancement was undertaken as part of the department’s on-going commitment to transparency and accessibility.
For further information about OCR, please visit, www.ed.gov/ocr. For further information on the 2009-10 CRDC, visit http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/whatsnew.html.