Beginning in 1973, various civil rights advocacy groups, including the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, sued the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the Department of Education) on behalf of a plaintiff, alleging that the federal government was not enforcing the federal civil rights laws in education. The Federal District Court of Washington, D.C. settled the case by issuing a consent decree in 1977, which required the federal Office for Civil Rights (part of the U.S. Department of Education) to prepare the Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex and Handicap (the Guidelines) in Career and Technical Education programs. That document was published in its final form in 1979, and continues to remain in force.

The Guidelines require each state, including the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) as North Carolina’s State Education Department, to develop and implement a compliance and technical assistance program, to prevent, identify, and remedy discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in school districts that receive federal financial assistance, in particular, its Career and Technical Education program. DPI conducts its civil rights program according to an agreement with the Office for Civil Rights called the “Methods of Administration” (MOA).


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