Within-School Discrimination

Inadequate Title VI Enforcement by Education's Office for Civil Rights Gao ID: T-HRD-91-17 April 25, 1991

GAO discussed the adequacy of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights' (OCR) enforcement activities in eliminating possible racial discrimination in the within-school placement of elementary and secondary students. GAO noted that: (1) many schools had disproportionate numbers of minority students being assigned to lower-ability classes; (2) OCR conducted only one compliance review related to ability grouping and did not meet the regulatory requirement for conducting compliance reviews when it had information of possible noncompliance; (3) state and local education agencies lacked specific federal regulatory guidance regarding ability-grouping and tracking practices; (4) the lack of OCR written policy guidance for its regional offices contributed to inconsistent within-school discrimination investigations; and (5) OCR may have allowed discriminatory student assignment practices to persist because of insufficient monitoring. GAO believes that: (1) the reducted number of compliance reviews was mainly caused by a lack of resources and a rising compliant investigation work load; (2) without timely and comprehensive monitoring, OCR could not determine if school districts' actions were sufficient to correct identified discriminatory practices; and (3) the OCR national enforcement strategy, which makes several within-school discrimination issues a high priority, are steps in the right direction.

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.