Opening Statement by Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education at the U.S. Presentation to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concerning the U.S. Report on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Report)
As Submitted for the Record
[Madame] Chairperson, Committee Members, colleagues:
I am Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, here with my colleague, Assistant Secretary Roberto Rodriguez.
Racial equity is fundamental to our agency’s mission. We vigorously enforce Federal civil rights laws in education. We investigate and resolve thousands of cases on race discrimination in schools, every year. We redress racial harassment, ensure schools support English learners’ equal access to education, and combat discrimination in access to high-rigor coursework and in the application of school discipline. These and other efforts protect millions of students and advance the American promise of equal opportunity for all.
We also provide funds for education, which in 2021 included more than $130 billion under the American Rescue Plan to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on underserved students, close achievement gaps, and meet students’ needs. We are working with states, districts, schools, and institutions of higher education to leverage these resources to expand equity.
I will now turn to Demetria McCain.