Re: McLaughlin OCR 's conflict of interest
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 13:22:01 -0400

I hate to try and defend OCR -- it is your government at work. The Office
for Civil Rights has had a checkered history. They have done some good
work, and some not so good. There are regional offices and each one has
it's own personality as Peggy said earlier, so its hard to paint the
organization with a single brush (and folks on this list don't generally
subscribe to that type of behavior anyway) (:

OCR is political -- they get funded (or not) by Congress and that funding
often contains direction as to what they should concentrate on. They have
been the defendant in court action for failure to conduct investigations in
a timely manner. They were under consent decree for years on that and I
suspect that some of the complaints about lack of investigation accuracy
follow behavior changes from that. Not an excuse -- just an explanation.

I've seen some of the OCR investigations (I use to work with a State
Education Department and then a DAC) and some were real good. OCR often
has a very little stick to use -- if push comes to shove -- so they often
really hedge on their findings hoping to use the PR of a report to cause
some action.

Then there's the other side of OCR - beauracrats who have been too long in
the system and are jaded. Who want to get out, who feel other issues are
more important, or who are in for political reasons and have intent to slow
down the progress many of us would like to see move forward.

The problem is knowing which OCR you're dealing with. Is the case strong?
Is it part of the focus for that particular OCR office? What's the
backlog? Who's the investigator? What's the national political climate
(for OCR) now and what's it going to be at the time the report is to be

State Education Agencies are similar. There's effective and less. Folks
on this list have background on both -- but don't expect to see that info
posted to the list (who's on this list?)

Fighting the discrimination on your own is how much of the case law was
established -- that means finding a good lawyer (not all are effective --
like OCR) but then you're in charge of your own fate. But that costs money
-- you already paid for OCR and the SEA with your taxes. (hey Linda, can we
sue the Feds (or State) for a rebate on taxes for the failure of a state or
federal agency to enforce civil rights laws?)



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