The “Dear Colleague” Letters and John King’s Homework
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) both include sections regarding civil rights, which originate with the Title IX Amendments of 1972. NCLB includes civil rights in its Title IX:
IN GENERAL.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to
permit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (except as otherwise permitted under title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972), national origin, or disability in any program funded under this Act.
Exceptions in the Title IX document from 1972 include but are not limited to institutions controlled by religious organizations “with contrary religious tenets” and organizations that traditionally admit only a single sex.
In ESSA, the title that incorporates civil rights and that refers back to Title IX amendments from 1972 is now labeled Title VIII. Still, the civil rights component is in ESSA just as it was in NCLB. And there is not much to that civil rights component (which might be broadly referred to as Title IX, even though Title IX has many more sections than just the one on civil rights).
The importance of the above information is that it provides background for a six-page letter dated January 07, 2016, from Senator James Lankford, who chairs the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management (part of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs), to Acting US Secretary of Education John King. Lankford’s letter concerns the USDOE’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and its issuance of what it calls “Dear Colleague letters,” or letters sent The “Dear Colleague” Letters and John King’s Homework | deutsch29: