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

Office for Civil Rights
2000 Annual Report to Congress

How OCR Measures Its Work

To ensure the efficient use of resources, OCR tracks the following four Government Performance and Results Act measures that indicate whether or not OCR has been timely and effective in removing barriers to equal educational opportunity:

  1. The number of school districts and institutions of higher education that change their policies, procedures or practices to comply with federal civil rights laws as a result of OCR's intervention.

    In FY 1998, OCR's baseline year for collecting this data, more than 1,300 recipients of federal financial assistance made such changes. In FY 1999, the number was over 1,500, and by FY 2000, the number grew to 2,000--a 53-percent increase over the baseline year.

  2. The estimated number of students positively affected by OCR's activities (i.e., complaints, compliance reviews, technical assistance and partnerships).

    In FY 1998, OCR's baseline year for collecting this data, the number of students positively affected was approximately 5,900,000. In FY 1999, the number was over 6,500,000, and by FY 2000, the number grew to over 7,600,000--a 29-percent increase over the baseline year. The student numbers are estimated from the results of Measure 1, i.e., those students positively affected by specific changes made to policies/procedures/practices resulting from OCR activities.

  3. Partnerships with parents that lead to civil rights compliance.

    A parental partnership is established when OCR, as a result of case resolution or another activity, facilitates a collaboration between parents and schools to achieve ongoing civil rights compliance without OCR's continued involvement. In FY 1999, OCR's baseline year for collecting this data, 18 partnerships with parents were formed that resulted in increased access to educational opportunity for students. In FY 2000, the number rose to 38--a 111-percent increase over the baseline year.

  4. The efficient resolution of civil rights complaints (i.e., 80 percent of OCR's complaints are resolved in 180 days). OCR is committed to providing timely relief to students who are denied equal access to educational opportunity.

    OCR's success in prompt complaint resolution stems from a flexible resolution process that enables individual target dates to be set for each case. After decades of experience, OCR can predict that 20 percent of complaint receipts will be so complex that they cannot be resolved in 180 days. Therefore, OCR has committed to resolving at least 80 percent of its complaints in 180 days. In FY 1999, OCR met its target goal of 80 percent, while in FY 2000, actual performance was 78 percent. This is not indicative of an upward trend in case processing time, but reflects the fact that in FY 2000 OCR resolved many cases that were over 180 days old. The resolution of a large number of these cases significantly decreased OCR's inventory of unresolved older cases, while slightly decreasing the percentage of OCR's cases that were resolved in 180 days.

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