Increased Enforcement of Civil Rights Laws in Education

The U.S Department of Education says that as part of its plan to increase enforcement of civil rights laws, it will be sending out letters in the coming weeks to thousands of colleges and school districts, which will outline their responsibilities to provide equal opportunities for students. The letters will touch upon areas of civil rights concern including possible racial discrimination in student assignments and admissions, and in access to resources which includes having qualified teachers.42-16975908

Another part of the civil rights effort will have the Department of Education open compliance reviews in school districts nationwide, to investigate if students of both sexes and all races are allowed equal access to advanced placement courses, as well as college preparatory materials and classes. Similar investigations will also take place at colleges.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke in Alabama on Monday to explain the department’s goals, and to commemorate the 45th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” where in 1965, hundreds of civil rights protesters were beaten by Alabama State Troopers during a march. Duncan said that the department’s Office for Civil Rights “has not been as vigilant as it should have been in combating gender and racial discrimination and protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities.” For example, department officials said that white high school graduates are more than twice as likely to have taken advanced placement calculus classes as black or Latino graduates.

Hopefully these civil rights efforts from the Department of Education will allow students of all genders, races, and economical backgrounds to have a fair opportunity at receiving an education – at the high school and college level.

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Source: NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/education/08educ.html?ref=education

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