What does the United States Department of Education do?

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  • Written By: Constance Simmons
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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The United States Department of Education is a cabinet-level organization in that country's government, which is responsible for creating educational policy on a federal level. It does this by collecting information from the nation’s schools to distinguish what areas of need. Once these are identified, it is the job of the department to bring national attention to them. In addition to this, the department of education is also responsible for disbursing federal funds that are allotted for education, and enforcing federal education laws.

Compiling data and carrying out research in schools all over the country is one of the most important duties of the United States Department of Education. This is because, before policy is created and funds are disbursed, clearly defined goals must exist, and the creation of these goals is dependent upon areas of need.

Once data has been collected this organization must then find the areas where federal help is needed. Once these are identified, it is the job of the organization to bring national attention to them. This awareness is important because, in a democracy, public interest is required to create laws. The department typically draws attention to the issues through the media. Articles are written, speeches given, and national conferences are held to attract public interest.


In the U.S., the president’s cabinet is a group of advisers who help him create the public policy that will be associated with his administration. Since the United States Department of Education is a cabinet-level organization, it must shape the nation’s educational policy based on its research and data. The policies created are then used to shape federal educational law and programs.

Another important duty of the Department of Education is to enforce federal laws associated with education. These focus primarily on discrimination by school districts that is based on race, nationality, sex, disabilities, and age. If anyone is denied equal educational services because of one of these factors, it is the duty of the federal government to step in.

Although this department was created to aid states in improving student achievement, it also has limitations. The tenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that all powers not mentioned in that document are reserved to the states. Since education is not listed there, it is left up to each state to develop its own educational standards. This includes creating curricula, schools, administrations, enrollment requirements, and much more. The United States Department of Education is only to provide assistance where needed and enforce federal laws, unless otherwise permitted by federal or state law.


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