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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

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Responds to Dept. of Education Civil Rights Guidance for Charter Schools

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
May 14, 2014

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement in response to the Department of Education’s release today of guidance outlining charter schools’ responsibilities under federal civil rights laws:

“We applaud the Department of Education for releasing this very important, long-overdue guidance, which makes crystal clear that charter schools – like all public schools – have a federal obligation to ensure that all children, regardless of race, national origin, sex, or disability status, receive a fair and equal opportunity to succeed.

This guidance is the first since the Clinton administration to clarify the responsibilities charter schools have under federal civil rights laws. Charters have grown significantly  since that time and now make up nearly 6 percent of the nation’s public schools – three times the number in 1999. 

While most charter schools, like most traditional public schools, do their best to serve all students well, the lack of clear guidance has resulted in some charter schools mistakenly assuming that their practices were compliant. The federal government’s long silence on this question has caused unnecessary confusion to students, families, and charter school educators and officials.

Today’s guidance – released on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education – is a giant step forward for parents and students. With this guidance, there is no longer any doubt that charter schools have the obligation to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is 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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