“The information in the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) released today is historic and unprecedented. We commend Secretary Duncan and OCR for undertaking this important project that helps to put into focus the magnitude of the inequities in our nation’s education system.
For the first time in the history of this country, a detailed picture of the multiple ways too many schools are harming our children is now available to every parent, educator and concerned citizen. Predictably and quite shamefully, that picture is not at all pretty. The CRDC shows that our nation continues to support essentially two education systems – one that works well for privileged students and one that is failing minority and low-income students, English learners, and students with disabilities. The continued failure of states and local school boards to eradicate these inequalities will ensure that millions of Americans’ dreams will be crushed and they will be effectively shut out of the increasingly high-skilled 21st century world economy.
We are encouraged by the president’s proposal to address these disparities through the $300 million ‘Race to the Top- Equity and Opportunity’ grant competition. But the findings make clear that much more is needed from all stakeholders. Coupled with strong enforcement by OCR, this program, more than any other, will seed projects that will demonstrate that inequality does not have to be the norm. The Leadership Conference strongly urges Congress to carefully review today’s report and to include the $300,000,000 the president has requested in the FY 2015 budget.
Ultimately, today’s release of this critical data presents the American people with the greatest moral challenge of our time; whether or not we can muster the public and political will to build an education system that prepares each and every child in America to take advantage of all the opportunities that the new economy will provide.”