Annual Report to Congress Fiscal Year 1998
The OCR's aim is to accomplish its functions as efficiently as possible. To achieve this goal in fiscal year 1998, we worked with a broad cross-section of people to define the positive changes we want to achieve. We concluded that the most meaningful way to demonstrate the OCR's high performance is by its impact on five major areas.
Access: We often use the word "pipeline" to indicate access to high-quality education, which is a right of every child in the nation. Unfortunately, for some children the pipeline is narrow and they do not get through due to their race, limited-English-language ability, disability or sex. The OCR works to widen this pipeline so that access to high-quality education increases each year.
Number of students affected: Depending on the civil rights issue under resolution, the number of students may be counted as those directly affected by OCR's work (for example, the number of English-learning students) and as those who comprise the student body (for example, a school district that issues a new sexual harassment student handbook affects its entire student population).
Increased compliance: This number reflects the policies, procedures or practices that were amended to comply with federal civil rights laws within our jurisdiction. Each school district or college that agrees to make a correction as a result of intervention by the OCR counts as a compliance change, as do changes coming about through technical assistance.
Efficient resolution of complaints: This measure is to resolve 80 percent of complaints within 180 days of their receipt by the OCR.
Successful partnerships: The process of working with educators and with community, parent and student groups is as important as resolving the issue. Through our collaborative efforts, we can educate school people and others about the importance of equal access to high-standards learning, and we can help them internalize these goals. A partnership is counted as successful each time we reach out to school officials and work together as colleagues - rather than as adversaries - to achieve strong civil rights compliance.