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Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories
NFES 2008-802
October 2008

Chapter 2. Setting the Stage: Developing Policies and Procedures

Success in implementing the new race and ethnicity categories requires that ED, states, and school districts work together at all levels of data collection. The new aggregated reporting categories are used for reporting data about students and staff. It is ED's responsibility to provide clear expectations of how race and ethnicity data will be reported under each of the federal education programs, and to provide leadership in guiding states and school districts as they meet these requirements. The federal role does not end with the publication of the Final Guidance. Ongoing involvement extends to addressing the impact of changing race and ethnicity categories in ED's accountability systems, and providing guidance and technical assistance to states and school districts as they revise their data systems and reports.

States and districts are responsible for implementing the changes in their own data collection and reporting systems. To ensure the quality and comparability of data within these state and local systems, a thoughtful approach involving all of the key players—including data users and providers—is essential. The authors of this guide estimated that it would take about 3 years to implement the changes throughout a state: to train all parties involved, set up the data systems, conduct a re-inventory of data, and convert and prepare data for submission to the state and to ED. This section follows that 3-year schedule as it proposes steps to assist with this implementation process.


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