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Nadler, Scott Introduce Legislation to Enforce Civil Rights in Education

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) led House Democrats in introducing the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (EIEA), legislation to restore the right of students and parents to hold schools accountable for discrimination. The legislation, which passed the House last year, allows students and parents to once again bring disparate impact claims against schools and other federally funded programs.

“Our schools should be safe spaces for students to learn and prepare to make important contributions to our society, but far too often they can face discrimination that impedes their growth and development,” said Chairman Nadler. “This legislation restores the right of students and their families to protection against discrimination and bias with the force of federal law.  All students deserve an equal education and Congress should speed the passage of this legislation to protect that right.”

“History has shown that robust civil rights enforcement is critical to protecting students from discrimination and closing persistent achievement gaps,”
said Chairman Scott. “The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act would restore the private right of action for students and parents to hold schools accountable for policies that have a disparate impact and deny students access to a quality education based on race, color or national origin. This bill also requires that every school has a Title VI monitor to ensure prompt investigations of complaints of discrimination. The denial of instructional hours and advance classes or the selective discipline of students of color are often the result of structural inequities in education, rather than expressed bigotry. This bill allows impacted parents and students the right to seek remedy for these policies and biases that are in fact discriminatory, regardless of intent.”

For more than 40 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, victims of federally funded discrimination could use Title VI to challenge both discriminatory policies and practices that were created with the intent to discriminate and policies and practices that, while neutral on their face, had the effect of discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin. But in 2001, the Supreme Court stripped private citizens, including students and parents, of their right to bring disparate impact claims against schools and other federally funded programs.

The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (EIEA) corrects course by holding federally funded programs, including schools, accountable for their responsibility to provide all students with equal opportunity for a quality education. The bill:

  • Restores the private right of action for students and parents to bring disparate impact claims under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Creates Title VI monitors to ensure that every school district and institution of higher education has at least one employee to specifically responsible for investigating any complaints of discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.
  • Creates an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Education to coordinate and promote Title VI enforcement in education.

For a fact sheet on the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, click here.

For a section by section of the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, click here.

For the bill text of the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, click here.
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