OCR Issues 2020-21 Data Reports
On November 15, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released data on equal access to education for the school year 2020-21. OCR’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) is a mandatory reporting of information from all public schools, preschool through grade 12. The purpose of gathering such data is to determine the degree to which students are properly served under the federal civil rights laws. The 2020-21 data offer insight into the coronavirus pandemic year and according to Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon, “new CRDC data reflect troubling differences in students’ experiences in our nation’s schools.” A new website contains historical data as well as data from the most recent years, allowing users access to archival information from 1968 to 1998. Key findings for students with disabilities show that they were overrepresented in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, referral to law enforcement and school-related arrest, and physical restraint. Lhamon stressed that the data should be used to address harmful and exclusionary practices that have become the norm.