March’s White House Disability Community Call hosted Catherine E. Lhamon, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education. Ms. Lhamon spoke about the release of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which is the first in depth look at civil rights data from every public school (97,000 public schools across the country) and every school district (16,500) in the country since 2000. These schools and districts represent 49 million students. Ms. Lhamon discussed the concerns raised by the data collected: discipline for children with disabilities (which include isolation); 40% of all public school districts do not offer preschool and those who do offer it, only half are available to all students in the district; 63% of students with disabilities have access to advanced courses; only 2% of students with disabilities take advance placement course and only 1% of these students score a 3 or better in the advanced placement tests (highest possible result for these tests is 5); and only 17% of students with disabilities are served under IDEA. Ms. Lhamon also spoke about crdc.ed.gov. This website helps make the state, district, and school level information accessible to the public, for the first time, in a searchable database.
Ms. Lhamon discussed the resolution of the civil rights investigation into the South Carolina Virtual Charter Schools to determine whether the seven Internet-based schools are in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1972 and the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities in the district. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that the schools online environment was not readily accessible to students and parents with disabilities. OCR has reached an agreement with the South Carolina Charter School District.
The call concluded with a brief Q&A session. And a quick reminder that enrollment in the Insurance Market Places ends on March 31st.
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