Does the US Department of Education Collect Civil Rights Data?

Indeed they do! Today’s thoughts are about civil rights in the United States so naturally we look to the US Department of Education for answers. Our school system is responsible for producing an equitable approach to educating our 50,922,024 students in 97,032 schools. The US Department of Education (USDOE) has been collecting Civil Rights data since 1968:

The purpose of the [Civil Rights Data Collection] CRDC is to obtain data authorized under the statutes and regulations implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and under the Department of Education Organization Act (20 U.S.C. § 3413). The regulations implementing these provisions can be found at 34 CFR § 100.6(b); 34 CFR § 106.71; and 34 CFR § 104.61.

Public Comment

The USDOE is looking for public comment on its Civil Rights Data Collection. This includes a variety of data that is new due to the Pandemic, and also includes data collected since 1968.

The package describes key civil rights data OCR intends to collect from the nation’s public schools and districts. OCR plans to introduce new data categories, such as those relating to students’ educational experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and restore key data categories from previous collections.   

The Department has collected civil rights data since 1968. The CRDC collects data and information about student access to educational courses and school staff, as well as school climate factors, such as the use of student discipline and incidents of student harassment, from schools serving students in preschool to grade 12. 

“The Civil Rights Data Collection provides crucial information for evaluating students’ experiences in America’s public schools. Especially given the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s announcement of proposed data elements for the 2021-22 collection comes at a critical moment,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “We look forward to receiving and reviewing public comments on the proposed data elements and to working with schools and districts to collect these essential data.”

—US DOE, NOV. 18, 2021

Today’s Information Collection Request package includes key proposed data elements for the 2021-22 CRDC, which were informed by listening sessions with stakeholders. These data include:

  • The addition of COVID-19 data elements to learn the extent to which schools are offering remote and/or in-person instruction to students during the school year.
  • Revisions to the restraint and seclusion definitions.
  • The restoration and expansion of data about preschool students and teachers, including data elements regarding preschool students with disabilities who receive special education and related services and those who are English Learners; the extent to which schools have teachers with one or two years of experience; and teacher certification status. And,
  • The addition of a nonbinary option to male/female data categories for those schools and districts that already collect that data, to ensure the CRDC captures accurate and inclusive information about all student identities and student experiences, where the data are available.
Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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