For Education Civil Rights Office to Fulfill Responsibilities, Congress Must Double Funding 

Charmaine Riley, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, [email protected]

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 79 civil rights and education equity organizations, today sent a letter to the House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees calling on Congress to double the funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to $260 million. The groups urge additional, long overdue funding for the vital office to provide the resources it needs to prevent and respond to discrimination, particularly as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and a reckoning on racism and white supremacy.

“OCR’s enforcement, policy, technical assistance, and data responsibilities have considerable impact on whether or not students’ access to equal educational opportunities are meaningful and whether the rights of marginalized students to receive the support and opportunities they deserve to achieve their dreams are actualized,” the groups wrote. “Recent events, including the integration of virtual learning into the academic experience as well as the national reckoning with violent policing and the impacts of racism on students, demonstrate that the issues facing OCR are more complex than ever. Students, families, communities, and Congress will not receive vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws as long as the office is denied the resources needed to fulfill its congressional mandate.”

The full letter, available here, outlines the need for adequate funding so that students, families, and educators have the data, guidance, technical assistance and enforcement they need to ensure an education free from discrimination.

In November, The Leadership Conference outlined priorities for the Biden-Harris administration, which included a call for doubling the size of the Office for Civil Rights in order to rebuild and expand the office’s ability to meet its policymaking, enforcement, and data collection responsibilities.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 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 member organizations, visit