In the absence of critical oversight, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has imposed upon schools an ever-expanding burden of bilingual education requirements with dubious justification, charges a new policy study from the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think-tank based in Washington, DC. After documenting how OCR illegally coerces school districts into adopting ineffective and discriminatory bilingual education programs, the November 1998 report, Federal Control Out of Control, calls for clear, research-based regulatory guidelines for respecting the civil rights of English language learners.
Although OCR’s enforcement policies strongly influence education decisions and spending priorities in thousands of school systems across the nation, those policies have never been openly debated in a national forum, according to report author Jim Littlejohn. A program officer within the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for 27 years, Littlejohn contends “OCR officials practice double-speak to justify unwarranted interference in local educational decision-making.”
“OCR’s activities are bad policy and bad law, hurting school districts and, most importantly, school children,” said CEO president Linda Chavez, former director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
For more information …
The report by Jim Littlejohn, Federal Control Out of Control: The Office for Civil Rights’ Hidden Policies on Bilingual Education, is available from the Center for Equal Opportunity, 815 Fifteenth Street NW #928, Washington, DC 20005, 202/639-0803. The report is also available through PolicyBot. Point your Web browser to http://www.heartland.org, click on the PolicyBot icon, and search for old documents #2128402 (part 1, 17 pp.); #2128403 (part 2, 17 pp.); #2128404 (part 3, 17 pp.); and #2128405 (part 4, 14 pp.)