Saturday, February 07, 2009

Russlyn Ali to Head OCR

President Obama has announced plans to nominate Russlyn Ali as the Department of Education's assistant secretary for civil rights (see also here). Ali, a woman of color, comes to OCR from a private, nonprofit research and advocacy organization, Education Trust, that works to promote education achievement generally with a particular focus on low-income and minority students. Ali's background also includes leadership positions in other advocacy organizations like Children's Defense Fund, a stint as chief of staff to the president of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and a legal practice in corporate and civil rights law.

Not much is known in Ali's position on Title IX issues per se, but her career-spanning efforts to secure educational equality more generally suggests she is likely to take Title IX enforcement seriously and give serious consideration to the effectiveness of OCR policy at dismantling gender discrimination.