90+ Civil Rights Groups Call for Robust Funding for Education Civil Rights Office to Protect Students

Education News 02.14,24

Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]

WASHINGTON — The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 91 national and local advocacy organizations, called on President Biden and congressional appropriators to double the funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR cannot fulfill its responsibility to protect the civil rights of all students without adequate resources.

The letters state: “In addition to the new complaints filed every year, OCR also has more than 13,000 pending investigations dating back nearly two decades. While we commend OCR for resolving 16,515 cases in 2022, the second highest number of complaints in the office’s history, the office is still faced with a civil rights crisis in which generations of students are at risk of experiencing discrimination without adequate protection from federal civil rights laws. With the proliferation of racist, sexist, ableist, and anti-LGBTQI+ policies at the school district, state, and federal levels attacking the rights of students to be who they are, censoring their access to inclusive, accurate curricula, and promoting increased surveillance of their bodies, students now more than ever need vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws by OCR.”

“For years, insufficient funding has been presented to justify either protracted or shallow responses to complaints. OCR needs robust funding and sufficient staff to ensure that students and their families are supported by a department that will not tolerate discrimination and that will work to ensure access to justice for students and their families. Incomplete justice or justice delayed are both justice denied,” the letters add.

The letter to President Biden is available here, and the letter to Congress is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 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 www.civilrights.org.