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Office for Civil Rights
Annual Report to Congress FY 2004

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OVERVIEW OF OCR COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is responsible for enforcing five federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability and age by recipients of federal financial assistance. These laws are:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination based on race, color and national origin);
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (prohibiting sex discrimination);
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (prohibiting disability discrimination);
  • The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (prohibiting age discrimination); and
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibiting disability discrimination by public entities, e.g., public elementary and secondary school systems, postsecondary schools, and vocational education programs, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance).

In addition, OCR enforces the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. This law addresses equal access for the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups to meet in public schools that receive federal funds from the Department of Education.

These civil rights laws represent a national commitment to end discrimination in education programs. Since most educational institutions receive some type of federal financial assistance, these laws apply throughout the nation.

Coverage of these civil rights laws extends to:

  • 14,559 school districts;1
  • 4,168 colleges and universities;2
  • 5,059 institutions conferring certificates below the associate degree level, such as training schools for truck drivers and cosmetologists;3 and
  • thousands of other entities, such as libraries, museums, and vocational rehabilitation agencies.

Consequently, these civil rights laws protect millions of students attending or seeking to attend our educational institutions. In certain situations, the laws also protect persons who are employed or seeking employment at educational institutions. Overall, these laws protect:

  • nearly 54.5 million students attending elementary and secondary schools;4 and
  • nearly 16.5 million students attending colleges and universities.5

Enforcing these laws is critical to carrying out the mission of the U.S. Department of Education—ensuring equal access to education and promoting educational excellence throughout the nation.

In FY 2004, OCR's budget was $88,305,000, with full-time equivalent (FTE) staff of 655. See Figure 1 on historical funding and FTE.

Figure 1: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil RightsAppropriations, FTE & Workload Data FY 1994– FY 2004

1 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2003). Digest of Education Statistics 2003 (NCES-2005025), Washington, D.C.: Author, Table 85, p. 103.

2Ibid, Table 247, p. 311.

3Ibid, Table 365, p. 422.

4U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2003). Projections of Education Statistics to 2013 (NCES-2004013), Washington, D.C.: Author, Table 1, p. 45.

5Ibid, Table 10, p. 57.


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Last Modified: 11/01/2007