Letter on Civil Rights

US Department of Education:

We have been deeply affected by the recent events that have contributed to racial discord and strife throughout our country. Like so many of you, we continue to be concerned about the impact of these events on our children and on the future of our country. Racism has no place in our nation or in our schools. In each generation, ordinary Americans have fought to secure equality in our laws and in our lives. Their hard- earned victories enshrined equal protection in our Constitution and banned discrimination in our schools, workplaces, and public facilities. Next week, on July 2nd, we commemorate one of those landmark achievements as we celebrate the 56th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This anniversary is a timely reminder to mark our society’s progress and to strengthen our resolve to realize the law’s full promise: racial equality for all.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) prohibits entities receiving federal funds, including our nation’s schools, from discriminating based on race, color, or national origin. For decades, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has worked to investigate race discrimination faced by students. Each day, we work to ensure all students have equal educational opportunities regardless of race, color, or national origin.

Now, more than ever, OCR is committed to ensuring that no student is treated differently because of the color of their skin. In the last three fiscal years alone, OCR has entered into 520 resolution agreements requiring schools to make changes to address racial discrimination concerns (a 16% increase as compared to the three prior fiscal years). Of these resolution agreements, 164 addressed racial harassment (a 27% increase as compared to the three prior fiscal years), and 50 resolved racial bias in school discipline (a 108% increase as compared to the three prior fiscal years).