Monday, December 3, 2012

Assistant Secretary of OCR Steps Down

Assistant Secretary of OCR Steps Down
(Contributed by Dr. Eleni Pappamihiel)

This week the head Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that she would step down from that role at the end of the November. This event is especially relevant for those who work with English language learners (ELLs). Whenever ELLs are not receiving the educational services they are entitled to, or it is believed they are being discriminated against at school, a complaint is filed with the OCR. While we would like to see such issues resolved at the school or district level, OCR is always there to investigate complaints that are not effectively mediated at those levels.
The most recent head of OCR, Russlynn Ali, was criticized for being over-aggressive in investigating complaints and overly inferring in schools’ disciplinary policies.  It will be interesting to see who takes over this position, and if this new person will be as aggressive in holding schools accountable for the fair treatment of all students.

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