The California Department of Education (CDE) is the state agency responsible for the administration of career and technical education (CTE) civil rights compliance program reviews. The intent is to identify, remedy and prevent discrimination in CTE programs operated by Local Education Agencies (LEA’s) receiving federal financial assistance. The CDE’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is now charged with conducting the CTE civil rights reviews. This letter is to inform you that CDE is launching the CTE Civil Rights Review (CRR) process during the 2011-12 school year.
Beginning in 1973, various civil rights advocacy groups, including the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, sued the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the Department of Education) on behalf of a plaintiff, alleging that the federal government was not enforcing the federal civil rights laws in education. The Federal District Court of Washington, D.C. settled the case by issuing a consent decree in 1977 which, in part, required the Federal Office for Civil Rights (part of the U.S. Department of Education) to prepare Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex and Handicap in CTE programs. These Guidelines require the CDE to monitor subrecipients for civil rights compliance in vocational education programs.
Federal law requires the CDE to conduct on-site reviews of 2.5 percent of the subrecipients offering CTE programs, or a maximum of 25 schools sites each year along with a district level review. The CDE developed a targeting plan to identify schools with CTE programs that might benefit from an on-site review. In applying the targeting plan, comparisons were made of federally funded LEA enrollments by race, sex, and disability, and then compared to the subrecipient’s general population enrollment. Other considerations used were the number of CTE programs offered and total CTE enrollment. This information was used to rank the LEAs and develop a ranked list, with the top-ranked LEA selected as the first on-site review.
The purpose of on-site reviews is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the selected LEAs with CTE programs, as well as all facilities housing CTE programs, or used by CTE enrolled students. Compliance reviews consist of an examination and analysis of data and documents supplied by the district or LEAs and observations and measurements of programs and facilities. The following federal civil rights laws and regulations govern this review process.
It is important to note that the CRR process is separate from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act, which involves on-site CTE reviews coordinated by the CDE Federal Program Monitoring Office. The Office for Civil Rights, Washington, D.C., oversees the civil rights monitoring by the OEO under the CRR process.
Also incorporated are parallel requirements under the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (Education), and the California Education Code sections pertaining to actions that cause or result in discrimination and sections pertaining to the right to educational equity in schools receiving state or federal assistance.
The CDE will announce the selection of districts and school sites this fall in a follow up letter to the LEAs selected for a review. OEO will provide guidance and technical assistance to help LEAs achieve voluntary compliance with the civil rights and non-discrimination laws, and identify and disseminate effective approaches that promote educational equity throughout California.
The CDE is committed to ensuring that every student in California receives a quality education. We thank you in advance for your commitment and compliance with federal and state requirements as CDE and the OEO conduct these civil rights reviews.
Please feel free to contact the OEO by phone at 916-445-9174, or by e-mail at OEOCTE@cde.ca.gov, in the event that there are any questions or additional information needed in regards to the CRR process. Thank you.
Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education