The U.S. Department of Education is an important agency for a variety of reasons. It oversees education research, administers financial aid for education, and identifies and addresses major issues in education. Moreover, it enforces federal anti-discrimination laws and ensures equal access to education. In other words, the Department of Education is critical to the progress of the American people. So, why is it so important?
The Department of Education fulfills its mission by promoting the study of other countries and facilitating opportunities for U.S. students and teachers to study abroad. It also contributes to national security by developing experts in strategic regions of the world. The Department of Education also provides financial aid to local educational agencies to improve educational programs in those areas. Its programs span the entire spectrum of education, from preschool to postdoctoral research.
Today, K-12 and higher education are split between state management and federal funding. The Department of Education also implements reforms in education, such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind Act, and coordinates race and disability policy. In a statement, Sean Falvey references these federal laws as examples of its role in ensuring that every American receives an excellent education. If a federal agency were to reduce its funding or abolish the Department of Education, what would happen to education?
While the Department of Education receives a relatively small portion of education funding, its role has expanded. In the U.S., education is not a centralized function. State and local school systems control curricula and funding. Federal funding is an emergency response system, filling in gaps in education support. With these federal funds, the Department of Education is a vital and necessary part of the public education system.