Magnet Schools Assistance Program
The Magnet Schools Assistance program (MSAP), administered by the Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement, provides financial assistance to school districts that are seeking to improve educational programs and to reduce, prevent or eliminate minority group isolation. The program provides three-year grants for the enhancement or establishment of magnet schools. The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights reviews applicants' voluntary desegregation plans to determine if they are "adequate under Title VI." Additionally, the Assistant Secretary is required to certify the civil rights eligibility of applicants for MSAP funds and to annually review school district grantees' progress in meeting their desegregation goals. During FY 2003, OCR reviewed the annual reports of the 62 districts receiving MSAP assistance. As necessary, OCR also provided technical assistance to several MSAP recipients in complying with civil rights statutes as well as program goals.
Equal Opportunity in Vocational Education
Under OCR's Vocational Education Programs Guidelines, state vocational education agencies are responsible for conducting civil rights reviews and other compliance activities with their sub-recipient schools and programs and reporting to OCR about these activities. State vocational education agency reports are submitted biennially to OCR, which provides recommendations for improving student access to vocational programs on the basis of race, national origin, sex or disability. OCR responded to the state agency reports by providing suggestions for enhancing the effectiveness of the agencies' compliance and enforcement activities.
|"The work of reform is well begun and we are determined to continue
that effort until every school in America is a place of learning and achievement."
President George W. Bush
OCR, in conjunction with state agencies, presented training conferences for state agency civil rights staff. These conferences provided in-depth training on the procedures and techniques state agencies should use in conducting their civil rights compliance reviews and reporting to OCR. Training also was provided about program requirements and investigating techniques applicable to a variety of complex civil rights issues. Participants later reported that the workshops provided valuable tools and information, as well as contacts, to enhance the effectiveness of their civil rights compliance and enforcement programs.