Sunday, April 20, 2008

Interesting OCR decision.

You know I've been concerned about access and equity issues in online education. When I've been talking about the issues I've predicted there will be a finding within the year. What I didn't know, really, I didn't know, was that at the time I was writing the NACOL Issues Brief the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) was investigating a complaint in Washington.

Here's an excerpt from the letter of finding by OCR. this is a narrow ruling, but it's a start. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

108 LRP 17959
Quillayute Valley (WA) School District
Office for Civil Rights, Western Division,
Seattle (Washington)
November 16, 2007

Dear Superintendent Reaume:
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has
completed its investigation of the above-referenced
complaint against Quillayute Valley School District
No. 402 (QVSD). OCR investigated whether, in
August 2006, QVSD discriminated against a student
on the basis of disability when it denied the student
admission to the Insight School of Washington (ISW),
an online high school operating statewide under a
management services agreement with QVSD.

OCR conducted its investigation under the
authority of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
l973 and title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990, which prohibit discrimination on the
basis of disability in programs and activities receiving
federal funds from the U.S Department of Education
and by public entities, respectively. QVSD receives
federal funds from this Department and is a public

As discussed below, the evidence established
that QVSD did not comply with Section 504 and Title
II when it denied the student admission to ISW. OCR
also found that the 2006-2007 criteria for admission
to ISW did not comply with Section 504 or Title II
and that, during 2006-2007, QVSD did not ensure that
ISW complied with Section 504 and Title II. QVSD
and OCR discussed the compliance concerns and
QVSD agreed to take the actions set forth in the
enclosed Settlement Agreement. OCR concludes that
QVSD will be in compliance with Section 504 and
Title II with respect to the issues investigated in this
case upon full implementation of the actions and
commitments contained in the Settlement Agreement.

OCR's findings and conclusions are specific to
the 2006-2007 school year, and are based upon a
review and analysis of written information provided
by the parent, QVSD, and ISW, and interviews
conducted with the parent, and staff of QVSD and

more information may be available from:

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