The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently released new civil rights data from the 2020–2021 school year, offering critical insight regarding civil rights indicators during that coronavirus pandemic year. OCR also released seven data reports and snapshots, including “A First Look: Students’ Access to Educational Opportunities in the Nation’s Public Schools,” which provides an overview of these data and information.

OCR’s Civil Rights Data Collection is a mandatory survey of public schools serving students from preschool to grade 12. The purpose of the CRDC is to provide the federal government and members of the public with vital data about the extent to which students have equal educational opportunities required by federal civil rights laws. While OCR generally collects the CRDC biennially, the 2020-2021 CRDC is the first published since the 2017-2018 collection (which was released in 2020), because OCR paused the collection due to the pandemic. OCR’s 2020-2021 CRDC contains information collected from over 17,000 school districts and over 97,000 schools. These data include student enrollment; access to courses, teachers, other school staff and the internet and devices; and school climate factors, such as student discipline, harassment or bullying, and school offenses.

The 2020-21 CRDC reflects stark inequities in education access throughout the nation. For example, high schools with high enrollments of Black and Latino students offered fewer courses in mathematics, science and computer science than schools with low enrollments of Black and Latino students. English learner students and students with disabilities, who received services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, had a lower rate of enrollment in mathematics and science courses when compared to enrollment rates of all high school students.

As part of the release of the 2020-2021 CRDC, OCR launched a redesigned CRDC website that now includes an archival tool with access to historical civil rights data from 1968 to 1998, which can be found here.

Get more details about the new civil rights data in the full news release.