The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has conducted the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) regularly since 1968 in an effort to obtain data related to equal educational opportunity within our nation’s public schools.  Through a range of survey questions the CRDC collects a variety of information, including student enrollment and educational programs and services data that are disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, limited English proficiency, and disability.   

The CRDC is mandatory, authorized by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and under the Department of Education Organization Act (20 U.S.C. § 3413).

Data collected by the CRDC has led to important analyses that have exposed alarming statistics, including:

  • One in five secondary school students with disabilities was suspended (19.3%), nearly triple the rate of all students without disabilities (6.6%)*.
  • 36% of all Black middle school males with disabilities were suspended one or more times.*

In August 2013, CEC provided OCR with feedback regarding four key ways to strengthen future CRDC surveys for students with disabilities:

  • Availability of well prepared special educators and related service personnel serving students with disabilities;
  • Impact of discipline and justice facilities on students with disabilities;
  • Ensuring that students with disabilities receive legally-required, timely services; and
  • Gaining more information about students with disabilities who have 504 plans.

Additionally, recognizing the substantial investment in human capital that a data collection of this magnitude requires, CEC called on the Department to:

  • Ensure that CDRC data cross-references other data collection initiatives of the U.S. Department of Education, where appropriate; and
  • Increase investments and technical assistance to support states and school districts in their efforts to comply with the many federal data requirements, including the CRDC.
Read CEC’s full response here.