When President Obama issued as his first executive act the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, ED took it to heart. We worked hard in 2009 to become more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. Here are highlights of our efforts.
Inviting Comments: Listening Tour and More
Secretary Duncan and senior staff visited all 50 states on a Listening and Learning Tour to hear from parents, teachers, students, and citizens about No Child Left Behind and education reform. Americans were invited to join the discussion online.
Similarly, the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Brenda Dan-Messier, held a series of conversations with stakeholders about reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act. Meeting summaries were posted online, and the public was invited to comment.
Meetings with Stakeholders
ED held seven meetings with stakeholders to discuss topics related to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other issues. Transcripts and videos of the meetings were posted on the web.
Conference Calls with Reporters
Secretary Duncan and senior staff held conference calls with reporters. Transcripts and audio files of those calls were routinely posted on the web. Examples include calls on...
- budget and ESEA reauthorization
- 2011 budget
- H1N1 flu
- Race to the Top and charter schools
- opening of the Race to the Top competition
Student Aid Conference and Data Center
For the first time, every session at one of our biggest annual eventsthe Federal Student Aid Conferencewas videotaped and posted. This includes nearly 40 sessions total.
The Federal Student Aid Data Center was created to provide a centralized source for information and data related to the federal financial assistance programs. Data that the Center publishes are selected based on requests for information from the press, congressional staff, and the higher education community. Data are posted in spreadsheets and updated quarterly.
Recovery Act Implementation
ED went beyond ARRA reporting requirements by posting data each week about how much money was awarded and spent. These data can be viewed by program and by state. We also posted information about programs, technical assistance materials, staff contacts with lobbyists, and more.
Race to the Top
The grant process for this $4 billion program has been strengthened to ensure maximum integrity and transparency.
Race to the Top Assessment Program
State education department staff from 37 states and nearly 700 members of the public attended seven public input meetings to hear experts make presentations on a range of assessment topicshigh school assessment, the role of technology in assessment, assessing students with disabilities, assessing English language learners, and more. Experts' presentations were posted online along with meeting transcripts and public comments.
State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
Applications that states submitted in order to receive funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund were posted online.
Video Contest: I Am What I Learn
Secretary Duncan invited students to create videos on how education can help them achieve their dreams. The public helped select the three winning videos, which were featured at ED.gov.
Summer Reading Initiative
Officials from other federal agencies participated in our Read to the Top summer reading initiative. Highlights from these events were posted online.
Blog: What's Happening at ED
The ED.gov blog became a place where citizens can see a wide range and representative sampling of ED activitiesfrom the Secretary's budget briefing to his appearance on the Colbert Report, interviews with reporters, video messages, and more.
Top Tasks at ED.gov
A new element was added to the navigation on ED's main website: citizens' top tasks. This new element makes it easier for ED.gov visitors to do what they came to our website to do. (See "How do I find" in the top right at www.ed.gov.)
FOIA reports, plans, and backlog reduction goals are available on the FOIA web page.
A new online forum was established for ED employees to suggest ideas to the Secretary and senior staff. (Note: It is available on the ED intranet to ED staff.)
The FREE website makes it easier to find teaching and learning resources across the federal government. It is the result of a collaborative effort begun over 10 years ago with 30-some federal agencies and federal organizations.
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2009 Year in Review
2009 Year in Review tells about ED's goals and accomplishments in 2009, including the Recovery Act and its impact on education and the effort for America to become number one in the world in high school and college graduation rates, school readiness, and overall academic achievement.
This bi-weekly newsletter reports on news, activities, and developments at ED.