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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Education Department Civil Rights Data Show an 'Educational Caste System'

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
March 6, 2012

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to today’s release of a broad set of civil rights data collected by the U.S. Department of Education about extreme inequities in discipline, achievement, and teacher compensation:

“We applaud the Department of Education for collecting and releasing this data – which points to mass and systemic discrimination in our public education system. With this knowledge comes the responsibility for the Department to investigate school districts that may be in violation of federal civil rights law and take appropriate enforcement action. 

This report paints, in stark terms, how our educational system is failing boys and girls. By showing vast disparities in virtually all dimensions of students’ experiences in schools including discipline, achievement, resources, and support, it reveals a harsh reality of student life for minorities and students with disabilities.

When black and white students commit the same offense, black students are far more likely to be suspended, expelled, subject to physical punishment, and referred to the police. These disparities start a vicious cycle for these students, who fall further behind in class time, suffer from lower self-esteem, and then either drop out or land in the criminal justice system.  These are among the most treacherous barriers to economic and educational advancement for minorities in this country; they must stop. 

Instead of creating equal opportunities for all of our students to thrive, too many schools are still stuck in an educational caste system. The Department will have our full support in its future investigation and enforcement of all civil rights violations inferred from this data.”

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 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 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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