American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

ED Issues Guidance to Charter Schools on Civil Rights Laws

(May 28, 2014)

In a Dear Colleague letter, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released new guidance [PDF] confirming that the same federal civil rights laws that apply to other public schools apply equally to public charter schools. The new guidance highlights critical subjects that have arisen in charter schools, including the schools' obligations to avoid discrimination in admissions practices and the administration of discipline, to provide a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities, and to take affirmative steps to assist English learners.

Background

The last OCR guidance on this topic was in 2000. OCR's mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights. The office enforces a number of federal civil rights laws that apply to charter schools, including laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability; race, color, or national origin; and sex. In addition to issuing general guidance documents, OCR investigates complaints of civil rights violations and provides technical assistance to help educational institutions achieve voluntary compliance with their civil rights obligations.

ASHA Resource

For more information visit ED's website or contact Catherine D. Clarke, ASHA's director of education and regulatory advocacy, at cclarke@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.


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