Office for Civil Rights
Annual Report to Congress FY 2005

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The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is “ensuring equal access to education and promoting educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.”  This responsibility is not one to be taken lightly.  OCR is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age, receive access to education.  

As a part of this commitment, OCR must fairly and vigorously enforce civil rights laws to seek compliance by education institutions nationwide.  While its primary function is to investigate and resolve allegations of discrimination, OCR remains committed to helping institutions understand their responsibilities under the laws it enforces.  Thus, OCR will continue to provide technical assistance to help schools develop a better understanding of their legal obligations, as well as to help parents, students, and educators know their rights.  OCR also will continue to initiate compliance reviews to evaluate whether programs, procedures, and facilities are in compliance with federal law.

In addition to these core enforcement activities, OCR also is dedicated to implementing the objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI), which focuses on increasing American performance in math and science.  The ACI also focuses on increasing the number of Advanced Placement classes available to low-income and minority high school students.  OCR will advance the principles of the ACI by ensuring discrimination does not contribute to the under-performance of, or lack of participation by, students in math and science.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe, who is finishing her first six months as assistant secretary, has completed comprehensive reviews of OCR’s operations, procedures, and resources. She has visited the 12 regional offices to meet with staff to analyze the issues facing employees active in the field and will continue to work with all staff to ensure that OCR is functioning at maximum capacity and producing work of the highest quality.

President and Mrs. Bush believe that with a great teacher, every student can succeed—no matter what ZIP Code they live in, what language they speak, or what special needs they may have….

Margaret Spellings,
Secretary of Education, 2005

Assistant Secretary Monroe and the OCR staff look forward to addressing the challenges that lie ahead.

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Last Modified: 11/01/2007