individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin.” Policies and practices that result in discrimination may be barred through enforcement action by the department (Losen and Welner, 2002; Ryan, 2002).

It is important to note that the E&S survey was not designed primarily for use by academic researchers. Historically, its purpose has been to provide information to OCR and to members of the public, upon request, related to the compliance of individual schools and school districts with civil rights laws. As noted in an evaluation of the survey prepared for the Department of Education (WESTAT, 1997, p. 1), “OCR conducts the E&S survey to provide its regional offices with current data to use when targeting compliance review sites or to use as source material when investigating complaints.” However, the E&S survey is also used by civil rights advocacy groups for monitoring issues related to their mission and to inform and mobilize communities in school improvement efforts. Finally, the survey is used by social scientists conducting research on equality of access to high-quality education. This chapter describes characteristics of the survey that make it useful for civil rights enforcement, for research on patterns of access to learning opportunities, and as an information resource to inform public policy.


This section describes key features of the E&S survey. The entire 2000 survey is reproduced in Appendix C.

Mandatory and Certified as Accurate

The official name of the E&S survey is the Elementary and Secondary School Civil Rights Compliance Report. Unlike the surveys administered by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), for which response is voluntary, schools and school districts are required to respond to the E&S survey and failure to respond could result in the loss of federal financial assistance.3 Response rates are close to 100 percent, so that OCR has a powerful mechanism for measuring compliance with civil rights laws and other public policy purposes.

The survey has two parts, ED 101 and ED 102. ED 101 is sent to the superintendents of school districts (local education agencies), who are required to certify that the data that they (or their designees) provide about their districts


As described in footnote 2 of Chapter 1, this authority is derived from Title VI regulations. It is important to note, however, that since the 1970s, the Office for Civil Rights rarely has used this power as a sanction for violation of civil rights (Halpern, 1995) or for failure to respond to the E&S survey (Rabekoff, 1990).

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