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United States Department of Education

Created in 1979, and officially established in May 1980, the primary mission of the Department of Education is to ensure equal educational opportunity for all; and to improve the quality of that education through federal support, research programs, and information sharing.

History

Congress authorized a Department of Education in 1867, to collect and disseminate information on education. The department was abolished about a year later, however, and its functions transfered to an Office of Education in the Department of the Interior. The office became part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953.

Over the years, the Office of Education acquired responsibility for aiding public and private schools at all levels. In 1979, Congress, at the urging of President Jimmy Carter, split the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare into two separate departments -- the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Purposes

The primary mission of the department is to ensure equal educational opportunity for all; and to improve the quality of that education through federal support, research programs, and information sharing. To that end, it oversees a variety of financial-aid programs, including support to states and local school districts to assist underprivileged and disabled students, provide vocational education, and promote bilingual education.

For colleges and universities, the department provides money for programs in international studies, adult education courses, grants to improve instruction, assistance in building facilities, and financial aid to students.

The Department of Education also enforces civil rights and school desegregation, and conducts research and gathers educational information.

Organization

Office of the Secretary
Chief of Staff
Senior Counselor
Management Improvement Team
Office of Communications and Outreach
Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development
Budget Service
Policy and Program Studies Service
Office of Educational Technology
Performance Information Management Service
Office of the General Counsel
Office of Inspector General
Institute of Education Sciences
Office for Civil Rights
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Office of Management
Office of the Chief Information Officer
Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
International Affairs Office

Office of the Deputy Secretary
Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Office of Innovation and Improvement
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Office of the Under Secretary
Federal Student Aid
Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Office of Postsecondary Education
White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities

Secretaries of Education

Name Term President(s)
Shirley Hufstedler 1979-1981 Jimmy Carter
Terrel Bell 1981-1985 Ronald Reagan
William J. Bennett 1985-1988 Ronald Reagan
Lauro Cavazos 1988-1990 Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush
Lamar Alexander 1991-1993 George H.W. Bush
Richard Riley 1993-2001 Bill Clinton
Roderick Paige 2001-2005 George W. Bush
Margaret Spellings 2005-2009 George W. Bush
Arne Duncan 2009- Barack Obama

The official website of the Department of Education is www.ed.gov.


President Jimmy Carter

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This page was last updated on September 21, 2015.

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