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

Office for Civil Rights Annual Report to Congress (1999)

How OCR Measures Its Work

Graduation CeremonyIn order to use its resources most efficiently, OCR has identified and tracked four measures that indicate whether or not we have been timely and effective in removing barriers to equal access to educational opportunity.

1. The number of school districts and institutions of higher education that change their polices, 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 grew to more than 1,500.

2. The 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 rose to approximately 6,500,000.

3. Partnerships with parents.
Educating parents about civil rights makes them effective local advocates for students. OCR facilitates collaborative relationships between parents and schools to achieve ongoing civil rights compliance without OCR's continuing involvement. In FY 1999, the first year that OCR collected data on parental partnerships, 18 partnerships were formed that resulted in increasing access to educational opportunity for students.

4. The efficient resolution of complaints, (i.e., 80 percent of OCR's complaints are resolved in 180 days).

OCR is committed to giving timely relief to students who are being denied equal access to educational opportunity. Through decades of experience, we know that about 20 percent of our complaints are so complex that they cannot be resolved within that time- frame. OCR has committed to resolving at least 80 percent of our complaints in 180 days. In FY 1994, a year in which we had more staff and fewer complaints, the rate was 77 percent; in FY 1999, the rate was 80 percent.

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