Feds Look to Ease Burden for Civil Rights Reporting

By Sarah D. Sparks — July 12, 2015 1 min read
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The first reports from the 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection will start rolling out in the next several weeks, giving the most detailed picture to date of changing gender, race, and disability policies in education.

“It’s such a rich picture of education access and opportunity across this nation—but it can be hard for districts to see,” said Abigail Potts, an NCES research analyst, at the group’s annual data conference here last week.

The collection, first launched in 1968, is among the oldest and most expansive federal education studies, and with rising federal scrutiny, the reporting can be a tense, heavy lift for more than 17,000 state and district education agencies. This year, the National Center for Education Statistics has been working with eight states to pilot a new tool to make it easier for districts to report and ultimately use their data.

The tool allows states and districts to automatically include data needed for state and federal surveys, including the civil rights study and the Common Core of Data. Districts in the pilot states were significantly further along in submitting information this year than other districts, Potts noted. Pilot states have completed on average three-quarters of their reporting, compared to about a third done in non-prepopulated states:

Potts noted that while the final data are due August 7, summary reports on gender, race, and programs for special education and gifted students are expected out by the end of the summer.

Every school and district in the country must report in this cycle, and the study is also introducing new questions, including some on education in juvenile justice settings.

Chart: Sixty percent of all districts have started submitting civil rights data for 2013-14, ahead of an August deadline. Source: NCES


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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.