WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released the 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).
This data, which are self-reported by 17,604 public school districts and 97,632 public schools and educational programs, have been collected and published biennially by OCR since 1968. The CRDC is a universal collection of data related to OCR’s civil rights enforcement responsibilities at Pre-K through 12th grade levels, including charter schools, magnet schools or programs, alternative schools, schools serving students with disabilities, and long-term secure juvenile justice facilities.
The 2017-18 CRDC covers a broad array of topics and requires school districts and their schools to collect and input as many as 1,700 data points. Among the data collected, parents and students can find information on enrollment, various advanced placement and math courses offered, and gifted and talented programs, as well as data on school characteristics.
“Protecting all students’ civil rights is at the core of OCR’s mission, and in order to meet that challenge, we need reliable, accurate data and a true partnership with state education agencies and school districts,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “I’m proud of this administration’s commitment to working with schools and local districts to ensure students’ civil rights are protected, whether it be through our new Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center, or the significant steps we’ve taken to ensure CRDC data quality, including our partnership with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). While self-reported data poses challenges, the quality assurance measures we have put into place help make this data more reliable than ever before.”
As a result of OCR’s important partnership with NCES, announced in August 2019, the 2017-18 CRDC contains improved data quality in several categories. The 2017-18 CRDC was improved over past collections by addressing statistical anomalies and increasing post-collection outreach in order to give school districts an opportunity to submit amended, accurate data. Data quality reviews and technical enhancements included the following:
- Conducting greater outreach to school districts with potentially anomalous restraint and seclusion data submissions; and
- Allocating additional technical support resources, clarifying proper understanding of reporting requirements, and working with school districts to ensure detailed written corrective plans were put into place when data was incomplete.
“The CRDC is an important aspect of OCR’s overall strategy for enforcing civil rights in the nation’s public schools and is an important tool in our work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn in an environment that is free from discrimination,” said Kimberly M. Richey, acting assistant secretary for civil rights. “For the last three years, OCR has prioritized improving data validity and reliability so that the CRDC can be even more effective. Our increased data quality and improved collection efforts will benefit stakeholders, schools, families, and those who are committed to eliminating roadblocks to a quality education for all students.”
The CRDC website includes many useful tools, including tables and charts, that display a district’s or school’s data about key issues for the current CRDC and/or multiple prior collections at the same time. This year, the Department modernized the website’s user interface and infrastructure, making it look and function better than ever before. The website has an updated look, a Quick Search function, and is faster. Now, all content will be accurately displayed on all types of devices (e.g., phones, tablets, and desktops).
In addition, OCR released two issue briefs on topics about which Secretary DeVos has raised concerns: the use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities and sexual violence in K-12 schools: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/restraint-and-seclusion.pdf and https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/sexual-violence.pdf.
The full CRDC data set is available at: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/2017-18-crdc-data.zip.
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