Civil Rights Groups Urge Senate HELP Committee to Reject Confirmation of Ken Marcus to Head OCR

Education News 01.11,18

WASHINGTON— Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 31 civil rights groups wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) urging members to oppose the confirmation of Kenneth Marcus to serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

Civil rights groups sent the letter following Marcus’ recent confirmation hearing where he demonstrated an unwillingness and inability to enforce civil rights law and protect all students in the United States from discrimination.

The groups write:

“Mr. Marcus’ own record of anti-civil rights positions and his failure to articulate clear support for robust civil rights enforcement during his confirmation hearing are all the more troubling given the anti-civil rights actions of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Trump. Students and families deserve an Assistant Secretary who will represent their interests, enforce the law, and stand up to the Trump-DeVos discriminatory agenda.”

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has a unique responsibility to enforce core nondiscrimination laws in schools. The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights serves as the department’s chief legal advisor on civil rights matters and is responsible for leading the Department of Education’s work.

The signatories urge the Senate HELP Committee to reject his nomination because it “has a unique responsibility to ensure that the Department of Education faithfully and effectively implements and enforces federal laws, protects the interests of the nation’s students, and ensures that individuals nominated to serve in the department are qualified, prepared to fulfill their duties, and committed to upholding federal law and the Constitution.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit