U.S. Department of Education
|Department of Education|
|Deputy Secretary:||Tony Miller|
|Annual budget:||$65.7 billion (2013)|
|Total employed:||4,400 (2013)|
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Legislation
- 4 Education in the 50 states
- 5 Issues
- 6 Analysis
- 7 Recent news
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The department employed 4,400 employees in 2013. The operating budget for fiscal year 2013 was $65.7 billion. Although its staff is the smallest of all the Cabinet-level departments, the department has the third largest budget. The United States education industry was estimated at about $1.15 trillion in 2011-2012. Federal contributions to elementary and secondary education come to about 10.8%, including the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services' Head Start and the Department of Agriculture's School Lunch program. The rest of the funding comes from state, local and private sources.
Education in the U.S. is primarily the responsibility of states and local districts. This is according to the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, United States Constitution because the United States Constitution does not mention any role for the federal government in education. The federal department is intended to assist the states and was originally was created in 1867 to help the states set up school systems by gathering information about teaching, schools and teachers. The current Department of Education was established by Congress in 1980. It united several existing offices across different agencies into a Cabinet level agency located in the executive branch. Over the years the location of the department in the government and its name has changed several times, and its scope, number of personnel and budget greatly increased. The department's mission of fostering educational excellence and equal access arose out of the cultural and political events in the post World War II era. The National Defense Education Act (NDEA), the first comprehensive federal education law, was passed by Congress in 1958 in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik during the Cold War. The department added its "public access" mission in response to anti-poverty and civil rights legislation of the 1960s and 1970s.
The number of employees and budget grew from 2,100 employees and a budget of $1.5 billion in 1965 to 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget in 2013. Although the federal government provides only about 12 percent of the overall education spending of $1.15 trillion, the role of the federal government in setting education policy has grown considerably over the last several decades. The department implements laws passed by Congress and administers grants to states for certain programs, such as the No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and Title One School Improvement Grants. The following is a list of important dates in the history of federal role in education in the United States:
- 1862: First Morrill Act provided the first federal aid for higher education by donating land for setting up colleges 
- 1890: Second Morrill Act gave the Office authority to establish a support system for land-grant colleges and universities
- 1896: U.S. Supreme Court case, Plessy v. Ferguson, legalized segregation in "separate but equal" schools
- 1917: Smith-Hughes Act extended federal aid to vocational education programs
- 1944: GI Bill authorized assistance to veterans for postsecondary schools
- 1946: Georgia-Barden Act established agricultural, industrial and home economics classes
- 1954: U.S. Supreme Court case, ''Brown v. Board of Education'', outlaws segregation precedent set in Plessy v. Ferguson
- 1958: National Defense Education Act (NDEA) supported loans for college students, improved science, technology and foreign language support in elementary and secondary schools and provided fellowships in response to the Cold War
- 1964: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination based on race, color or national origin in public schools
- 1965: Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act gave federal aid to schools in poor rural and urban areas
- 1965: Higher Education Act authorized federal aid for poor postsecondary students
- 1970: Standardized tests were given to public schools and the results are reported to the government and public in an effort to hold educators accountable
- 1972: Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibited discrimination based on sex in public schools
- 1973: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibited discrimination based on disability in public schools
- 1980: Congress passed the "Department of Education Organization Act," (Public Law 96-88 of October 1979)
- 2001: No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) increased education funding and established standards-based testing reforms
- 2010: Race to the Top program encouraged states to compete for federal grants in education
The official department mission statement is as follows:
|“||to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.||”|
—Department of Education
According to the Department of Education website, the department is committed to:
—Department of Education
The current secretary of education is Arne Duncan.
|Recent Secretaries of Education|
|Secretary of Education||Years in office||Nominated by||Confirmation vote|
|Lamar Alexander||1991-1993||George H.W. Bush||N/A|
|Richard Riley||1993-2001||Bill Clinton||N/A|
|Roderick Paige||2001-2005||George W. Bush||N/A|
|Margaret Spellings||2005-2009||George W. Bush||N/A|
|Arne Duncan||2009-Present||Barack Obama||N/A|
|Historical Secretaries of Education|
|Secretary of Education||Years in office||Nominated by||Confirmation vote|
|Shirley Hufstedler||1980-1981||Jimmy Carter||81-2|
|Terrel Bell||1981-1985||Ronald Reagan||90-2|
|William J. Bennett||1985-1988||Ronald Reagan||93-0|
|Lauro Cavazos||1988-1990||Ronald Reagan||94-0|
Note: Votes marked "N/A" represent voice votes or unrecorded votes.
Office of the Secretary of Education
According to the department's official website, the Office of the Secretary:
—Department of Education
Race to the Top
- See also: Race to the Top
Race to the Top was the seminal policy of Secretary Arne Duncan's Department of Education term. It was a reform designed to induce competition among states and school districts for federally allocated grants. Duncan argued that the incentive to attain Federal grant money and the resulting competition would spur innovation and improve student achievement. The program was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and had an initial budget of $4.35 billion. To become eligible, states needed to satisfy a "Common Core" of achievement standards. States proposed sweeping reform objectives and then submit grant proposals for programs they believe would achieve the objectives outlined. Proposals were measured against a scoring criteria, and grants were awarded. The Department of Education then measured states' progress towards their target objectives as the grant renewal process proceeded. Several states were unable to meet proposed targets in Race to the Top funded programs. As a result, grant allocation slowed significantly after three initial rounds. In 2012, the Department of Education began a new grant allocation round -- Race to the Top-District -- in which school districts, rather than state school systems, may apply for Race to the Top program grants.
- See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative
The Race to the Top Common Core Standards were developed by the National Association of Governors and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They were "informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn" in order to "provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce." Forty-five states and the District of Columbia, along with four territories, adopted Common Core Standards. Developed specifically for English Language Arts and Mathematics instruction, "the Standards are (1) research and evidence based, (2) aligned with college and work expectations, (3) rigorous, and (4) internationally benchmarked."
Grants are rewarded based on these scores and subsequent rankings:
- A. State Success Factors (125 points)
- (A)(1) Articulating State’s education reform agenda and LEAs’ participation in it (65 points)
- (A)(2) Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans (30 points)
- (A)(3) Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps (30 points)
- B. Standards and Assessments (70 points)
- (B)(1) Developing and adopting common standards (40 points)
- (B)(2) Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments (10 points)
- (B)(3) Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments (20 points)
- C. Data Systems to Support Instruction (47 points)
- (C)(1) Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system (24 points)
- (C)(2) Accessing and using State data (5 points)
- (C)(3) Using data to improve instruction (18 points)
- D. Great Teachers and Leaders (138 points)
- (D)(1) Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals (21 points)
- (D)(2) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance (58 points)
- (D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals (25 points)
- (D)(4) Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs (14 points)
- (D)(5) Providing effective support to teachers and principals (20 points)
- E. Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools (50 points)
- (E)(1) Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs (10 points)
- (E)(2) Turning around the lowest-achieving schools (40 points)
- F. General Selection Criteria (55 points)
- (F)(1) Making education funding a priority (10 points)
- (F)(2) Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charters and other innovative schools (40 points)
- (F)(3) Demonstrating other significant reform conditions (5 points)
The goals of the Race to the Top reforms were:
- to use data to inform instruction
- to raise achievement standards and graduation rates
- to turn around historically low-performing schools
- to improve teacher and principal quality.
- Critics argued that the Race to the Top funding model would take resources from already struggling school systems and create vast disparities in achievement. Supporters maintained that only a "small but significant" portion of Race to the Top funds would go to states with the "best, homegrown plans for education reform," and that absent these incentives, the status-quo Federal funding model would continue to fail students by ignoring innovation.
- Other opponents questioned whether these reforms could adequately induce innovation. They saw Race to the Top as evidence of "cartel federalism" in line with the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind policy. They did not believe reform would be achieved by further centralization of standards because “the ends of the educational system are still set by the same small group of officials, who are protected from competition.”
- American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten supported Race to the Top, but in May of 2013, she called for a moratorium on full implementation:
|“||Done right, Common Core standards will 'lead to a revolution in teaching and learning' that puts critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork ahead of rote memorization and endless test-taking, Weingarten said. Done wrong, 'they will end up in the overflowing dustbin of abandoned reforms, with people throwing up their hands, believing that public schools are too broken to save.||”|
—American Federation of Teachers
- Supporters also pointed out that Race to the Top incentivized states to design and pursue serious reforms before any money was handed out. The competition for potential grants induced reforms to improve instruction in both quality and kind across the board, not just among states who ultimately receive grants.
- Round 1 (March 29, 2010): Delaware, Tennessee
- Round 2 (August 24, 2010): Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, District of Columbia
- Round 3 (December 23, 2011): Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Race to the Top grant allocations slowed significantly after the first three rounds as many states faced delayed implementation of promised reforms.
In 2012, the Department of Education announced a new round of grant allocation -- Race to the Top-District -- in which individual school districts and charter school programs would be eligible for grants. Sixteen grant winners were selected in 2012. A second round of Race to the Top-District grants will be allocated, and in October 2013, 16 finalists for were announced.
Despite 45 states and four territories formally adopting Race to the Top's Common Core, public backlash against the new standards became a frequent occurance. On September 19, 2013, a group of parents in California protested the state's adoption of Common Core when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited their city. Duncan later drew criticism in November 2013 when he described the opposition to Common Core as "white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were," to a group of state school superintendents. On November 18, 2013, parents in South Carolina and New York chose to keep their children home from school as part of a "National Common Core Protest Day" to demonstrate opposition to Common Core's "one-size-fits all curriculum" and standardized testing methods. On December 8, 2013, the Buffalo Teachers Federation protested outside the residence of a state education regent in response to Common Core implementation and its emphasis on continually testing students.
In response to the public outcry, several states delayed implementation or rescinded adoption of the standards entirely. The Alabama state school board voted to revoke their agreement to adhere to the Common Core standards on November 14, 2013. However, their existing state standards were still in line with Common Core. Alabama is the only state to pull away entirely from its commitment to the Common Core standards. However, others such as Pennsylvania and Indiana have chosen to halt implementation. Louisiana chose to delay Common Core's accountability measures for two years, while Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Georgia and Michigan chose to delay or abandon Common Core testing.
Additionally, both Utah and Florida withdrew from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium, although both states plan to continue Common Core implementation. In Ohio, Representative Andrew Thompson introduced House Bill 237 to the Ohio House of Representatives in order to prevent the state from implementing Common Core.
Education in the 50 states
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education over Common Core standards. The governor alleged the department broke federal law and violated the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution because he argued the administration essentially forced the Common Core standards on states. On the lawsuit, Jindal explained, "The proponents of Common Core will tell you that it’s simply about one test and about standards, but that’s a ruse. Common Core is about controlling curriculum. Educators know that what’s tested is what’s taught. Make no mistake — Common Core tests will drive curriculum. Common Core supporters should own up to this fact and finally admit they want to control curriculum. These are big government elitists that believe they know better than parents and local school boards."
Union calls for Duncan resignation
A July 4, 2014 vote by members of the National Education Association called for Secretary Arne Duncan's resignation. A majority of the 9,000 delegates attending the convention in Denver, Colorado made the vote because "the Department's failed education agenda focused on more high-stakes testing, grading and pitting public school students against each other based on test scores." The vote originated from the California Teachers Association after Duncan commented on the court case Vergara v. California, which dealt a blow to tenure rules in the state. Motions calling for Duncan's resignation have been raised at each of the NEA's annual meetings since 2010, but none had received the majority vote for passage. Then-NEA President Dennis Van Roekel defended the vote, claiming the union would continue to push the administration to put forward policies "that are influenced by those who know best— educators working in our classrooms and in our schools — rather than profiteers." When asked to for Duncan's comments on the vote, a department spokesperson stated, "Secretary Duncan looks forward to continuing to work with NEA and its new leadership."
Another union, the American Federation of Teachers, passed a resolution on July 13, 2014, calling for Secretary Duncan's resignation if he didn't show improvement under a plan proposed by President Barack Obama. The resolution urged the department to move away from No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top's "test-and-punish" tactics to move toward a system of supporting teachers and students. AFT President Randi Weingarten claimed the vote represented the union saying, "'Enough is enough.' Teachers are evaluated and their future livelihoods are linked to that. And when they fall short, they should have a chance to improve. And that’s what this special order represents." A department spokesperson said of the vote, "the transformation that educators and policymakers are leading to prepare all students for college and careers is incredibly difficult, and too often the adults fight about how to best help the kids."
College loan rates
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of Education will make $127 billion in profit from higher education student loans. Higher rates were expected to begin with the 2015-2016 academic year. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued, "It’s actually neither accurate nor fair to characterize the student loan program as making a profit," in July 2013, claiming the funds are used to lower the department's cost to taxpayers.
Racial inequality patterns
The department's Office for Civil Rights conducted research on all 97,000 public schools in the United States and discovered several racial disparities ranging from preschool through high school. According to the study the following findings were made:
—U.S. Department of Education
In President Barack Obama's 2015 budget request, a new $300 million competition was added to the Race to the Top program rewarding schools using data-driven and creative solutions to improve their failing status.
|U.S. Department of Education Annual Budget|
|Year||Budget (in billions)||% Difference from previous year|
- Note: 2014 only represents the Department's budget request, not an enacted budget.
The Best Places to work in the Federal Government is a website that tracks workforce trends in federal agencies. According to their analysis, from 2005-2011, the Department of Education has gained an average of 26 jobs per year.
While Secretary Duncan suggested the cuts would result in furloughs, a May 10, 2013 memo stated no furloughs were necessary.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term U.S. + Department + Education
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Official Department of Education website
- Department of Education blog
- Official Facebook page
- Official Twitter page
- Official Youtube channel
- U.S. Department of Education, "ABOUT ED: OVERVIEW AND MISSION STATEMENT," accessed October 2, 2013
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- U.S. Department of Education, "The Federal Role in Education," accessed September 30, 2014
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- U.S. Department of Education website, "The Federal Role in Government," accessed on January 20, 2014
- U.S. Department of Education, "Policy Overview," accessed January 20, 2014
- Today, "Timeline: Moments that changed public education," accessed October 3, 2013
- ourdocuments.gov, "Morrill Act (1862)," accessed April 18, 2014.
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- U.S. Department of Education, "US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements," accessed October 2, 2013
- Huffington Post, "Race To The Top For Districts Piques Interest Of Chicago And Los Angeles Mayors," March 3, 2012
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "About the Standards," accessed December 10, 2013
- ED.gov, "Race to the Top Executive Summary," accessed December 10, 2013
- NPR, "The New Republic: Defending Obama's Education Plan," July 29, 2010
- FEE, "Common Core: A Tocquevillean Education or Cartel Federalism?" May 14, 2013
- AFT, "AFT calls for moratorium on Common Core consequences," May 1, 2013
- Christian Science Monitor, "As Race to the Top competition intensifies, so do education reforms," July 27, 2010
- ED.gov, "Delaware and Tennessee Win First Race to The Top Grants," accessed December 10, 2013
- ED.gov, "Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants," August 24, 2010
- ED.gov, "Department of Education Awards $200 Million to Seven States to Advance K-12 Reform," December 23, 2011
- Huffington Post, "Race To The Top State Reports: New York, Florida, Hawaii Backtracked On Reform Commitments," Jauary 10, 2012
- ED.gov, "2012 Race to the Top—District Awards, Grantee Applications, Peer Reviewer Scores and Comments," accessed December 10, 2013
- ED.gov, "Race to the Top- District," December 23, 2011
- Susan Luzarro, San Diego Reader, "Chula Vista parents protest switch to Common Core State Standards," September 19, 2013
- Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Arne Duncan: ‘White suburban moms’ upset that Common Core shows their kids aren’t ‘brilliant’," November 16, 2013
- Allie Bidwell, U.S. News, "South Carolina Parents Remove Children From School to Protest Common Core," November 18, 2013
- Diane C. Lore, Staten Island Advance, "Some Staten Island parents planning to keep their children home from school Monday for National Common Core Protest Day," November 15, 2013
- Denise Jewell Gee, The Buffalo News, "BTF, parents picket Regent’s home in protest over state standards, tests," December 8, 2013
- AL.com, "Common Core: Alabama votes to distance itself from controversial standards (week in review)," November 16, 2013
- The Patriot-News, "Corbett orders delay in Common Core academic standards' implementation," May 21, 2013
- Indiana Public Media, "House Bill 1427: What 'Pausing' The Common Core Means For Indiana Schools," accessed December 10, 2013
- The Times Picayune, "Louisiana announces major changes to how students, schools held accountable under Common Core," November 21, 2013
- Education Week, "Two-Year Transition to Common-Core Tests Approved in Massachusetts," November 19, 2013
- Education Week, "Tech Challenges Lead Oklahoma to Opt Out of PARCC Exams," July 3, 2013
- Heartland, "Common Core Testing Costs Increase; Georgia Withdraws," July 22, 2013
- CBS Detroit, "Michigan Gives Final OK To Common Core Standards," November 2, 2013
- The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah drops out of consortium developing Common Core tests," August 4, 2013
- Khristopher J. Brooks, The Florida-Times Union, "Common Core still moving ahead in Florida," October 16, 2013
- Lancaster Eagle Gazette, "Ohio Republicans target Common Core," November 29, 2013
- Politico, "Bobby Jindal sues federal government over the Common Core," August 27, 2014
- Education Week, "NEA Calls for Secretary Duncan's Resignation," July 4, 2014
- Politico, "Arne Duncan dismisses union call for resignation," July 7, 2014
- Politico, "Another teachers union ding for Arne Duncan," July 13, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Student Loan Borrowers' Costs To Jump As Education Department Reaps Huge Profit," April 15, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Federal Student Loan Profits Help Duncan Cut Education Spending To Lowest Level Since 2001," November 18, 2013
- Wall Street Journal, "Suspensions More Likely for Black Students, Report Finds," March 21, 2014
- ED.gov, "Expansive Survey of America's Public Schools Reveals Troubling Racial Disparities," March 21, 2014
- U.S. Department of Education, "Department Budget History," accessed February 7, 2014
- Best Places to Work in the Federal Government, "Department of Education," accessed October 2, 2013
- Govovernment Executive, "Furlough Watch: Agency-by-Agency Impacts of Sequestration," May 30, 2013