AERA Urges Expanded Civil Rights Data Collection

January 2014

In response to a request for comments from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on the
Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), AERA is urging OCR to expand the data elements it collects. The CRDC includes data on various educational indicators related to access and equity. The Department of Education has proposed adding new fields on school discipline, juvenile justice education, and aggregate salaries of school staff, among other indicators.

“Expanding the collection of data on bullying harassment, school discipline, and juvenile justice education, would further facilitate important research in these areas,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “This information, which needs to be collected in ways that minimize the burden placed on schools and districts, is critical to the development and implementation of science-based policies and practices.”

AERA is generally supportive of the proposed revisions, particularly the inclusion of new data on school discipline and school staffing, and the inclusion of sexual orientation and religion as categories on which districts would need to report data for allegations of bullying and harassment. AERA’s comments also include several recommendations to the Department as it finalizes the CRDC:

  • Prepopulating district data where data fields are derived from surveys by the National Center for Education Statistics;

  • Releasing data in a more timely manner to facilitate research and policy analysis;

  • Making consistent the definition of “civil rights category” for reporting allegations of bullying or harassment and the number of students who are disciplined for bullying or harassment;

  • Reinstating a question asking districts to indicate whether they have policies in place on bullying and harassment for specific categories of students; and

  • Working with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the Department of Justice for coordination of data collection on the education that juveniles receive in justice facilities.

The revisions to the CRDC apply to the 2013–2014 and 2015–2016 school years.

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