The federal Education Department plans to intensify its civil-rights enforcement efforts in schools around the country, including a deeper look at issues ranging from programs for immigrant students learning English to equal access to college preparatory courses, reports the Associated Press. Education Secretary Arne Duncan plans to outline the department’s plans in a speech delivered March 8 in Alabama to commemorate the 45th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” in which several hundred civil-rights protesters were beaten by state troopers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge during a voting rights march in 1965. “For us, this is very much about working to meet the president’s goal that by 2020, we will regain our status in the world as the No. 1 producer of college graduates,” said Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights. The department is expecting to conduct 38 compliance reviews around 40 different issues this year, Ali said. In his prepared remarks, Duncan highlights several jarring inequities: At the end of high school, white students are about six times more likely to be college-ready in biology than black students, and more than four times as likely to be prepared for college algebra…

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staff and wire services reports