Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, released new guidance that requires states and school districts to ensure that all students, including low-income and minority students, have equal access to educational resources. This guidance marks the first time the federal government will address key differences among and within school districts. Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Cynthia G. Brown, a former first assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, issued the following statement regarding the announcement:
All students deserve and should receive access to an excellent education, but we must pay extra attention to disadvantaged students, especially students of color, and ensure they receive strong teaching, rigorous courses and instructional materials, and adequate facilities. Education Secretary Arne Duncan deserves applause for putting forth strong guidance that will broaden access to equal educational opportunities, and not just equal resources.
Research has long shown that inequitable access to experienced and effective teachers, technology, and rigorous courses are the foundation of racial and ethnic achievement gaps. This guidance makes clear that each child has an equal right to those educational resources and helps chart a clear path for states and districts to address resource inequities where they exist. States and districts should take seriously these obligations and make use of this guidance, while the Department of Education should monitor state compliance and investigate and remedy inequities to ensure that this guidance becomes a meaningful tool for improving schools.
To speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at 202.478.6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.