U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Office for Civil Rights
2000 Annual Report to Congress

Looking Toward the Future

In fiscal year 2000, OCR's work positively changed the lives of more students than ever before. It is critical that we continue to build on this achievement. The complaints OCR receives each day are a stark reminder that discrimination still exists. Barriers to equal educational opportunity remain. Many children still do not enjoy meaningful access to high-quality, high-standards education.

In enforcing the civil rights laws, we must continue to seek both excellence and equity. Equity and educational excellence are complementary, not competing, goals. Without both, there can be no true equality of educational opportunity.

In meeting the challenge, OCR can rely now on a wide array of strategies that are working. One of the most promising is the building of partnerships with parents, educators and administrators. We are learning that serious change in education cannot be imposed from without but must come from within. It comes when parents and educators in a community come to the table and engage in constructive and thoughtful conversation with each other. And it comes when all parties to an issue work toward a true partnership for change.

We also are witnessing positive change achieved by empowering students and parents to help solve problems of securing equal access to quality education. This involvement helps ensure that positive actions continue even after identified discrimination is remedied and OCR is no longer an active presence in the community.

OCR aims to stay on course in enforcing the important nondiscrimination laws the Congress has enacted over the years. It is a responsibility OCR embraces as the number and diversity of students in U.S. classrooms are greater than at any time in U.S. history. A commitment to the goals of the civil rights compliance program--equal access, educational excellence and high-standards education for all students--is an investment that must be made if we are to secure America's future.

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