Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the following statement regarding the anniversary of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
"The 49th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of education in America's progress toward racial equality.
"Title VI has prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity - including all elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities, public or private - receiving Federal financial assistance.
"The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has used Title VI to promote equal access to college- and career-preparatory courses and programs and to combat school segregation, discriminatory discipline, harassment, and other barriers to equal education for students of different racial, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
"We still have a long way to go to achieve racial equity. Last week, in the Fisher case, the Supreme Court preserved the well-established legal principle that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse student body, and can pursue that interest in their admissions programs. Lack of access to college- and career preparatory school programs persist, and racial disparities in discipline deny equal opportunity to too many of our students of color. Many of our nation's schools are still racially isolated, and racial gaps continue to exist in important measurements of learning.
"Today, we at the Department of Education recommit ourselves to enforcing Title VI to help end illegal discrimination in our country's schools and promote equitable opportunities for all students. We salute the states, districts, communities and advocates across America that have worked tirelessly to ensure that racial discrimination is eliminated as a barrier to student learning and success."