Noting Remarkable Results Achieved, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Thanks Assistant Secretary Marcus for His Service Leading Civil Rights Office

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US Department of Education

July 9, 2020
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or

Noting Remarkable Results Achieved, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Thanks Assistant Secretary Marcus for His Service Leading Civil Rights Office

WASHINGTONU.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos praised Assistant Secretary Kenneth L. Marcus for his strong leadership of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and for the remarkable results achieved after Marcus announced his upcoming departure from government service to return to the private sector.

“I am so thankful for Ken’s strong leadership over the last two years,” said Secretary DeVos. “He helped drive incredible results for students by vigorously enforcing civil rights laws, expanding protections from discrimination, and refocusing OCR on resolving cases efficiently and effectively. He has been a tremendous asset to us and an ally to students, and I will always be grateful he agreed to return to government service to join the President’s and my team. While we are sad to see him go, I know in his next professional chapter he will further build on his successful career of advocating for the civil rights of America’s students.”

“I am grateful to President Donald J. Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos for the honor of directing, over the last two years, OCR’s talented and committed staff,” said Assistant Secretary Marcus. “Throughout my tenure, OCR has reinforced its status as a neutral, impartial civil rights law enforcement agency that faithfully executes the laws as written and in full, no more and no less, focusing carefully on the needs of each individual student. The data demonstrate that this approach works. While I am sad to leave colleagues for whom I have so much respect and affection, I am heartened to know that I am leaving the institution in excellent hands.”

During the last two fiscal years and the first several months of the current fiscal year, OCR has made historic advances in protecting the civil rights of America’s students:

  • Resolving some of OCR’s most extensive systemic investigations of Title IX violations in American higher education, as well as the largest investigation that OCR ever conducted into systemic sexual assault problems in an urban public school system;
  • Launching the Outreach, Prevention, Education, and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center to focus on outreach and proactive compliance with federal civil rights laws;
  • Commencing nationwide initiatives to address sexual assault in elementary and secondary schools and inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities (with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services);
  • Launching over three times more proactive civil rights investigations last year than the prior administration launched in all eight years combined; 
  • Establishing the National Web Accessibility Team to resolve technology accessibility problems in educational institutions;
  • Advancing the Administration’s deregulatory initiative, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, by rescinding sub-regulatory guidance that exceeded statutory authorization;
  • Improving the quality of OCR’s authoritative Civil Rights Data Collection through numerous reforms facilitated by a newly-expanded partnership with the National Center for Education Statistics;
  • Reforming the Department’s approach to civil rights in career and technical education, through a new Memorandum of Procedures issued in conjunction with the Department’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education;
  • Providing timely and important guidance on protection of student civil rights in light of COVID-19;
  • Administering President Trump’s historic Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism through vigorous enforcement; and
  • Strengthening Title IX protections for survivors of sexual misconduct and restoring due process in campus proceedings to ensure all students can pursue education free from sex discrimination through game-changing Title IX regulatory reform.

The data demonstrate the vigor with which OCR has been conducting its work in recent years. For example, during fiscal years 2018 and 2019, OCR resolved nearly 1,000 more allegations of discrimination by requiring corrective action than the previous administration had during its last two fiscal years. During this period, OCR achieved a 45% increase in the total number of Title VI allegations resolved with change and a 78% increase in the total number of Title IX allegations resolved with change compared to the last two fiscal years under the previous administration.

Assistant Secretary Marcus will continue his service until the end of the month in order to ensure appropriate continuity within OCR. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kimberly Richey will succeed Marcus as Acting Assistant Secretary.