The Department of Education (DOE) is looking to end the effort to collect information about allegations of sex crimes by teachers against students, The Washington Free Beacon is reporting.
As part of its data collection proposal for 2021-2022, the department's Office for Civil Rights would no longer ask school districts to report allegations that resulted in the resignation or retirement of teachers.
The Beacon noted the move would halt a Trump-era effort to collect the data. Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had added questions about the sex crime allegations to the 2020-2021 data collection.
However, the plan was delayed as a result of the pandemic.
The school districts would still have to report documented cases of rape and sexual assault.
A DOE spokesman said the change is aimed at reducing burden "and duplication of data."
But critics say it is part of an effort by the Biden administration at appeasing teachers' unions.
"This is the ultimate act of bowing to the teachers' unions," Kimberly Richey, who served as acting assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights in the Trump administration, told the Beacon. "Through this proposal, the Biden administration is actively helping schools cover up these incidents, which we were intentionally shining a light on."
American Enterprise Institute research fellow Max Eden said: "Teachers' unions have a structural interest in protecting all of their members — including alleged pedophiles. Data suggesting systemic nonchalance about child sexual abuse in public schools would be quite politically inconvenient for teachers' unions. Now the data won't be collected."
The Education Department's proposal has a 60-day period for public comment.
Between 2015-2018, sexual assault reports sharply increased at K-12 schools, numbering nearly 15,000, Education Department data showed, according to a report in The Washington Post last year. The Education Department said reports of sexual violence at schools rose from about 9,600 in the 2015-2016 school year to almost 15,000 in the 2017-2018 school year.
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