Of the Office for Civil Rights
Fiscal Year 2006
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It is my pleasure to present the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) Annual Report to Congress for FY 2006. In this report, OCR provides a summary of its substantive achievements in FY 2006. I am proud to serve with the highly motivated, qualified and committed staff of OCR in furthering the mission of this office on behalf of our nation’s students.
OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights. This report details OCR’s accomplishments in enforcing the civil rights laws under which OCR has been granted jurisdiction to address and remedy discrimination. These enforcement efforts include complaint investigation and resolution, and proactive enforcement through compliance reviews and technical assistance, as well as regulatory and policy development. This report also highlights OCR’s efforts to improve its enforcement capabilities by promoting management excellence. Even in light of shrinking resources and increasing complaint receipts, OCR continues to accomplish its mission and meet the highest performance and quality standards.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is based on the premise that every child can learn. In announcing No Child Left Behind in January 2001, President Bush said, “These reforms express my deep belief in our public schools and their mission to build the mind and character of every child, from every background, in every part of America.” For every child to learn, every child must have equal access to educational opportunities. OCR continues to play a key role in ensuring equal access.
A primary requirement of NCLB is grade-level proficiency for all students by 2014. The President’s American Competitiveness Initiative announced in the president’s 2006 State of the Union address further emphasizes the importance of this goal. President Bush explained, “[T]o keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in talent and human creativity.” Education is key to keeping America competitive. To fully realize the great talent and ingenuity present in this country, all Americans must have equal access to education. We must not let discrimination hinder the next step: ensuring that every child does learn.
|If we ensure that America’s children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.
President George W. Bush
2006 State of the Union address
Ensuring that no child is left behind includes making certain that no child is subjected to discrimination in our schools. OCR’s efforts in 2006 had a profound impact on securing access to high-quality education for all students, such as by ensuring that: elementary and secondary school students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education; students are not incorrectly placed in special education on the basis of race or due to the student’s limited English proficiency; schools respond appropriately when students are subjected to racial, sexual or disability harassment; and postsecondary education institutions provide access to programs to individuals with disabilities
When U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced her “Action Plan for Higher Education” in FY 2006, she stated:
“[t]here are far too many Americans who want to go to college but can’t—either because they’re not prepared or can’t afford it. To expand access to higher education we must better prepare our students—starting with high standards and accountability in our public schools.” OCR continues to work to prevent and address discrimination at the postsecondary level so that all students have the opportunity to obtain higher education. OCR’s work in ensuring access to high-quality elementary and secondary school programs also impacts the success of the American postsecondary education system by providing students access to academic programs and activities that better prepare them for college. Ultimately, these efforts necessarily impact the nation’s ability to succeed in a competitive global economy.
|Our aim is simply to ensure that in a new era of global competition, higher education remains the path to the American Dream, and that more Americans have access
Secretary Spellings has said, “We are honored and trusted with the responsibility of ensuring our next generation is equipped to participate in the American Dream.” For all students to be equipped, all students must have equal access to educational opportunities. This Annual Report to Congress details OCR’s efforts in meeting this mission.
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights