WELCOME TO THE OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
February 26, 2021
Welcome to the Office for Civil Rights. Here in OCR (as we’re often called), our mission is clear: we work to ensure our nation is a place where all students attend and participate in school free from discrimination.
As Secretary-designate Dr. Miguel Cardona said in the Senate hearing on his nomination as Secretary of the Department of Education, “For me, education opened doors. That is the power and promise of America — but it is not a promise kept for every student. . . [We must] work tirelessly to make sure our education system is a door to opportunity, a great equalizer, for every American.”
We know that a school is so much more than a collection of classrooms. For young children learning to share a toy, graduate students in seminars and labs, and every student in between, schools offer students the space – both in-person and virtual – for new ideas, skills and friendships. This is why education holds the promise of our nation’s future.
Our job in OCR is to ensure that all students experience these opportunities without discrimination.
We do this by:
- Educating people about our nation’s education civil-rights laws. Providing information to students, families, schools and the broader national community about protections against discrimination in education.
- Providing guidance on how the laws work. Helping schools protect their students’ civil rights with guidance and other assistance.
- Investigating allegations of discrimination. Enforcing our civil rights laws by receiving and responding to discrimination complaints.
- Analyzing data about student experiences in schools. Collecting, analyzing and sharing civil rights data about our nation’s schools.
Right now, one of our top priorities in the Department of Education—and across the nation—is helping schools reopen safely and in ways that support equity among students. For OCR, this means working to ensure that equal educational opportunity is part of every reopening plan.
There is much work to be done to fulfill Congress’s commitment to civil rights in education, including its laws, enforced by OCR, that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability and age.
All of us in OCR take up this important mandate with thoughtful urgency and a full dedication to students, their families and schools, and our nation’s promise of equal educational opportunity for all.
For more information about OCR and the laws we enforce, please see About OCR.
Suzanne B. Goldberg
Acting Assistant Secretary, Office for Civil Rights
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach
U.S. Department of Education