25 Facts on the United States Department of Education

October 22nd, 2015

education

The Presidential candidates running for 2016 elections from both parties continue to offer statements that lend themselves to material for our blog. This week we’ll concentrate on a statement made by Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who in an interview on October 18, 2015 on “Fox news Sunday,” said he would eliminate the Department of Education if he becomes President.

Here’s what Trump said: “No, I’m not cutting services, but I’m cutting spending. But I may cut Department of Education. I believe Common Core is a very bad thing. I believe that we should be — you know, educating our children from Iowa, from New Hampshire, from South Carolina, from California, from New York. I think that it should be local education…so the Department of Education is one.”

In light of the above, we thought we turn the spotlight on the Department of Education and share with you a few facts about its history, function, and how it spends allocated funds.

1. The United States has no federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country.

2. The U.S. Department of Education is referred to as ED, DoED, or as the ED for (the) Education.

3. The Department of Education is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government. It assists the president in executing his education policies for the nation and in implementing laws enacted by Congress.

4. The current Secretary of Education is Arne Duncan who recently announced that he will be resigning from his position in December 2015 and in his stead, John King will serve as Acting Secretary.

5. The U.S. Department of Education is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers and coordinates most federal assistance to education.

6. The Department’s mission is to “serve America’s students-to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

7. Unlike the systems of most other countries, education in the U.S. is highly decentralized, and the federal government and Department of Education are not involved in determining curricular or educational standards (with the exception of the recent No Child Left Behind Act).

8. According to the USDE: “Education is primarily a State and local responsibility in the United States. It is States and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrollment and graduation.”

9. The U.S. Department of Education has no direct public jurisdictional control over quality of educational institutions and their degrees which is maintained through an informal private process known as accreditation.

10. The original Department of Education was created in 1867, when President Andrew Johnson signed it into legislation. The main purpose of the Department of Education was to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems.

11. In the 1860s, a budget of $15,000 and four employees handled education fact-finding.

12. In 1868, the new Department was demoted to an Office of Education due to concerns that the Department would exercise too much control over local schools. Congress created the Department in 1979.

13. The passage of the Second Morrill Act in 1890 gave the then-named Office of Education responsibility for administering support for the original system of land-grant colleges and universities.

14. Vocational education became the next major area of Federal aid to schools, with the 1917 Smith-Hughes Act and the 1946 George-Barden Act, focus was directed to vocational education by dedicating Federal aid to agricultural, industrial, and home economics training for high school students.

15. The Lanham Act in 1941 and the Impact Aid laws of 1950 allowed for Federal aid to be directed toward education by making payments to school districts and easing the burden on communities affected by the presence of military and other Federal installations.

16. In 1944, the “GI Bill” authorized postsecondary education assistance that would ultimately send nearly 8 million World War II veterans to college.

17. The Cold War set the stage for the first example of comprehensive Federal education legislation, when in 1958 Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik. The NDEA included support for loans to college students, the improvement of science, mathematics, and foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools, graduate fellowships, foreign language and area studies, and vocational-technical training. The goal was to help ensure that highly trained individuals would be available to help America compete with the Soviet Union in scientific and technical fields

18. The passage of laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibited discrimination based on race, sex, and disability, respectively made civil rights enforcement a fundamental and long-lasting focus of the Department of Education.

19. In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act launched a comprehensive set of programs, including the Title I program of Federal aid to disadvantaged children to address the problems of poor urban and rural areas. And in that same year, the Higher Education Act authorized assistance for postsecondary education, including financial aid programs for needy college students.

20. By 1965, the Office of Education had more than 2,100 employees and a budget of $1.5 billion.

21. Congress created the Department in 1979.

22. The Department has the smallest staff of the 15 Cabinet agencies, even though its discretionary budget alone is the third largest, behind only the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services.

23. The Department makes over $120 billion in new loans annually.

24. As of mid-2010, the Department has nearly 4,300 employees and a budget of about $60 billion.

25. The Department limits administrative costs to approximately 2% of its discretionary budget and only about 1% of all grants and loans made by the Department. This means that ED delivers about 99 cents on the dollar in education assistance to States, school districts, postsecondary institutions, and students.

In our humble opinion, it doesn’t look like the ED has mismanaged its budget or is spending allocated funds frivolously. The Department delivers 99 cents on the dollar in education assistance to States and their schools districts and students. So, why is Donald Trump targeting the Department of Education and threatening to cut its spending?

SOURCES:
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Data from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey for the 2007-08 school year; the 2007-08 Private School Universe Survey; and the 2007-08 National Postsecondary Aid Study. For the most current data visit http://nces.ed.gov.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Filed under Education, History, Politics

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