At the launch of the Community Empowerment Network, a group set up to help ethnic-minority students, Gurbux Singh, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, said he saw education as a "running sore" and that it would be his top priority.
He said the Office for Standards in Education, in particular, refused to accept that black children were discriminted against in school exclusions.
But Mr Singh saw hope in the recent Human Rights Act and the forthcoming Race Relations Act, which will oblige public bodies such as OFSTED to monitor injustice and promote equality.
The network will train advocates to bring cases of exclusion and discrimination to tribunals. Gus John, adviser to the Home Office on race, said he hoped the network, which is focused on Greater London, would be extended throughout the country.