Of the Office for Civil Rights
Fiscal Year 2006
|PDF (6 MB)|
OVERVIEW OF OCR'S STRUCTURE AND PROGRAM
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is responsible for enforcing five federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the bases of race, color and national origin, sex, disability and age by recipients of federal financial assistance. These laws are:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination based on race, color or national origin);
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs);
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (prohibiting disability discrimination);
- The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (prohibiting age discrimination); and
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibiting disability discrimination by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance, such as elementary and secondary education systems and institutions, institutions of higher education and vocational education other than schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and other health-related schools, and libraries).
In addition, OCR enforces the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. This law, part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, provides equal access to meet in school forums for the Boy Scouts of America and other youth groups designated, in Title 36 of the United States Code, as “patriotic societies.” The act applies to any public elementary school, public secondary school or state or local education agency that has a designated open forum or limited public forum and that receives funds from ED.
These civil rights laws represent a national commitment to end discrimination in education programs. Since most education institutions receive some type of federal financial assistance, these laws apply throughout the nation.
Coverage of these civil rights laws extends to:
- 17,468 public elementary and secondary education agencies;1
- 4,216 colleges and universities; and2
- thousands of institutions conferring certificates below the associate degree level, such as training schools for truck drivers and cosmetologists, and other entities, such as libraries, museums, and vocational rehabilitation
Consequently, these civil rights laws protect millions of students attending or seeking to attend our education institutions. In certain situations, the laws also protect persons who are employed or seeking employment at education institutions. Overall, these laws protect:
- more than 48.7 million students attending public elementary and secondary schools; 4 and
- more than 17.6 million students attending degree-granting institutions, such as colleges and universities. 5
Enforcing these laws is critical to carrying out the mission of ED: to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
In FY 2006, OCR’s budget was $90,611,000, with full-time equivalent (FTE) usage of 630. See Table 1 showing appropriations, FTEs and workload from 1996 to 2006.
1U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2005). Digest of Education Statistics 2004-05, Table 86, “Number of public elementary and secondary education agencies, by type of agency and state or jurisdiction: 2002–03 and 2003–04,” Washington, D.C.: Author.
4U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2006). Projections of Education Statistics to 2015 (NCES-2005074), Table “Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in grades PK–12, PK–8 and 9–12 in elementary and secondary schools, by control of school: Fall 1990 through fall 2015,”, Washington, D.C.: Author.
5Ibid, Table 10, “Actual and alternative projected numbers for total enrollment in all degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by sex, attendance status, and control of institution: Fall 1990 through fall 2015.”