About ED ED PERFORMANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY
Annual Report to Congress
Of the Office for Civil Rights
Fiscal Year 2006

Downloadable File PDF (6 MB)

VII. TECHNOLOGY

In FY 2006, OCR continued a concerted effort to create a paperless office environment, which would contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency with which OCR carries out its mission.


A. Case and Activity Management System

OCR’s Case and Activity Management System (CAMS) builds on OCR’s existing Case Management System (CMS). CMS includes case management capabilities for maintaining, managing and tracking OCR complaints, compliance reviews and proactive activities, such as technical assistance. In FY 2005, OCR began development of augmented capabilities that will allow for automated tracking of other OCR activities carried out by the Program Legal Group in OCR headquarters, including such activities as general legal and policy guidance, case-specific legal and policy guidance, and responses to information requests from the public. CAMS also includes an integrated Document Management (DM) system, which enables electronic storage of a wide range of OCR work products. Several civil rights offices in other federal agencies have contacted OCR for information on CAMS and are considering developing similar systems.

OCR also is developing, with partial implementation piloted in FY 2006, a comprehensive, automated OCR Policy Repository. This repository will provide OCR staff, for the first time, with a single, centralized, electronic source of current OCR policy documents—all readily accessible and easily searchable. OCR is also in the process of conducting the first comprehensive review of documents in OCR’s current policy collection in over 10 years, to ensure that internal customers can quickly access updated and reliable policy information.

OCR has developed performance measures to gauge the effectiveness of its CAMS, including a measure capturing the percentage of OCR resolution documents that are available electronically via CAMS’s Document Management system. As the chart below shows, the percentage of documents available continues to increase rapidly, ensuring that all OCR staff across the nation have quick and easy desktop access to important case resolution documents.


Table 3. Percentage of Final Case Resolution Documents Accessible to OCR Staff via
CAMS’ Document Management System
FY 2006
98%
FY 2005
73%
FY 2004
61%


B. Civil Rights Data Collection

OCR’s former biennial Elementary and Secondary Schools Survey has now been merged with the Department’s Educational Data Exchange Network (EDEN), a central repository of information on K–12 programs, including No Child Left Behind Act data. For the first time in 2004, civil rights data were collected through the Supplemental Survey Tool Civil Rights Data Collection, which will assist EDEN in developing a data system with the capability to collect district- and school-level data from school districts that integrates civil rights and other data, including essential data related to the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) is primarily Web-based. For the 2004 CRDC, the initial year of the Web-based data collection, approximately two-thirds of the districts reporting (4,000 out of 6,000) were successful in using the new Web-based tool to report their data (the other districts opted to use more traditional media, such as CD-ROM or paper forms, to report their 2004 data). The overall response rate for the 2004 data collection—95 percent of all surveyed districts and 100 percent of large districts—is consistent with the similarly high response rate for previous OCR surveys. Not only is this information useful to ED, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, it also helps school administrators and researchers evaluate schools, and helps parents make better-informed education choices for their children.

In FY 2006, OCR worked with the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD) at ED to develop and adopt a transition plan to achieve the integrated collection and reporting of civil rights data directly through EDFacts. OCR and OPEPD also established the framework for implementation of the FY 2006–07 CRDC, a Web-based data collection of 6,000 school districts, to which OCR contributed about $2 million in FY 2006 funding. OCR implemented targeted CRDC improvements including, for the first time in FY 2006–07, augmented information about student participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and in pre-Kindergarten education programs in public schools. In FY 2006, OCR also developed state and national projections and disseminated the civil rights data in various media, including the Web.


C. Web-Based Electronic Complaint Filing

OCR has increased the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its complaint filing process by promoting the use of a Web-based electronic complaint filing system. The dramatic increase in complaints filed using this system is testament to its customer-friendly, efficient and effective design and implementation. In FY 2006, over 55 percent of the nearly 6,000 complaints received were filed electronically. This represents a significant increase from FY 2004, when 34.4 percent of complaints were filed electronically.


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Last Modified: 11/01/2007