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Promoting Informed Parental Choice and Innovative Programs
Single Sex Education
The No Child Left Behind Act authorizes local educational agencies to use Innovative Assistance Programs funds provided by the Act to support same-sex schools and classrooms, consistent with applicable law. The Act also requires the Department to issue guidelines on single-sex classes and schools. OCR implemented this Congressional mandate by issuing guidelines for school districts that describe and explain which types of single-sex instruction are permissible under current regulatory requirements.
OCR also issued a Notice of Intent to Regulate (NOIR) to explore the feasibility of providing additional flexibility to the Title IX implementing regulations so that educators may establish single-sex classes and schools at the elementary and secondary levels, while ensuring that recipients do not discriminate on the basis of sex. After reviewing and assessing all of the approximately 170 public comments on the NOIR received, OCR drafted proposed amendments to the Title IX regulations to permit more flexibility for single-sex schools and classes. During FY 2004, OCR published the proposed amendments in the Federal Register for public comment.
New Freedom Initiative
OCR is undertaking a number of activities to help students with disabilities make the transition from high school to college. As part of an ongoing effort to support students with disabilities, OCR made multiple presentations to such groups as state departments of education, a consortium on higher education, staffs of individual schools, and special education students. Materials such as a pamphlet on transition of students to postsecondary education and a Frequently Asked Questions document were widely disseminated.
Information for Parents and Recipients
OCR assisted the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in preparing a comprehensive guide for management of diabetes at school. NDEP is a federally sponsored partnership of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 200 partner organizations. Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel provides information about diabetes, how it is managed, and how each member of the school staff can help meet the needs of students with the disease.
OCR uses technology to deliver timely, accessible information to parents, students, teachers, and education decision makers through its interactive, Web-based, contact information system to improve access to OCR information appropriate to customer needs (http://www.ed.gov/ocr). Consistent with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Department of Education has made certain types of records, created on or after November 1, 1996, available electronically on the Internet. During FY 2003, OCR updated its electronic E-FOIA reading room, where recipients and the public can access OCR regulations and Federal Register documents. Additional policy documents will be posted in FY 2004. The documents will be available in both printed and electronic format.
OCR's Elementary and Secondary Schools Survey (E&S Survey) is being merged with the Department's Educational Data Exchange Network (EDEN), a central database that will be the main repository of information for No Child Left Behind Act data. Because the E&S Survey is merging with EDEN, OCR will no longer conduct its data collection survey. Civil rights data will be collected through EDEN's Supplemental Survey Tool Civil Rights Data Collection. OCR contributed its FY 2003 survey funding to develop EDEN's supplemental survey tool and pilot the tool's capability. OCR's contribution to EDEN will expedite the Department's development of an integrated data collection system that can capture essential NCLB data, as well as important civil rights data.