U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Solicits Public Input on Civil Rights Data Collection for 2021-22 School Year

U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Solicits Public Input on Civil Rights Data Collection for 2021-22 School Year

November 18, 2021

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today announced that it has submitted to the Federal Register for public comment a proposed Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Information Collection Request package for the 2021–22 school year.

The package describes key civil rights data OCR intends to collect from the nation's public schools and districts. OCR plans to introduce new data categories, such as those relating to students' educational experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and restore key data categories from previous collections.   

The Department has collected civil rights data since 1968. The CRDC collects data and information about student access to educational courses and school staff, as well as school climate factors, such as the use of student discipline and incidents of student harassment, from schools serving students in preschool to grade 12. 

"The Civil Rights Data Collection provides crucial information for evaluating students' experiences in America's public schools. Especially given the COVID-19 pandemic, today's announcement of proposed data elements for the 2021-22 collection comes at a critical moment," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. "We look forward to receiving and reviewing public comments on the proposed data elements and to working with schools and districts to collect these essential data."

Today's Information Collection Request package includes key proposed data elements for the 2021-22 CRDC, which were informed by listening sessions with stakeholders. These data include:

  • The addition of COVID-19 data elements to learn the extent to which schools are offering remote and/or in-person instruction to students during the school year.
  • Revisions to the restraint and seclusion definitions.
  • The restoration and expansion of data about preschool students and teachers, including data elements regarding preschool students with disabilities who receive special education and related services and those who are English Learners; the extent to which schools have teachers with one or two years of experience; and teacher certification status. And,
  • The addition of a nonbinary option to male/female data categories for those schools and districts that already collect that data, to ensure the CRDC captures accurate and inclusive information about all student identities and student experiences, where the data are available.

In August 2021, OCR announced the administration of a 2021-22 CRDC, marking the first time that OCR has conducted a civil rights data collection two years in a row for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. The additional collection will allow the Department to identify and address inequities in educational opportunities as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on students' academic, social, and emotional development.

Ongoing civil rights data about student experiences will assist the Department and school officials with assessing the initial impacts of the substantial increase in federal funding to schools and districts to ensure students received equitable access to instruction and other activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021-22 CRDC will also advance OCR's mission to ensure that schools and districts receiving financial assistance from the Department do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex or disability.

The CRDC is a valuable resource for all those who use data to better inform decisions concerning student equity and opportunity. For background information and FAQs regarding the CRDC, please visit: Frequently Asked Questions.

Members of the public may review the proposed 2021-22 CRDC data elements here.  An official copy will be posted in the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov by Nov. 19, 2021.  Interested persons will have 60 days to submit comments.