October 19, 2006
3. Describe how your agency's information dissemination activities
are coordinated with its FOIA operations in order to improve both access to the
dissemination of government information to the public. Your description must include
a link to your agency's FOIA Improvement Plan.
1. Provide a brief overview of your agency's implementation of the Act including a description of an internal agency-specific E-Government initiative
Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN)
Provide a brief overview of your agency's implementation of the Act including
a description of an internal agency-specific E-Government initiative. The description
of the initiative must:
a. The Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) and EDFacts, the Department’s reporting and analysis tool for K-12 education data and other education-related data, enable Internet data transactions between states and the Department. EDEN is the technical “engine” created to eliminate duplicative K-12 data collections occurring across the Department in favor of a single collection method. As part of the new process, the capabilities of EDFacts are being extended to provide access to the data to Department analysts and state providers. The EDEN engine went into operation October 2005. Mandatory data submission to EDEN is anticipated in November 2007, when pending regulations are expected to be effective.
b. As part of the implementation process, project staff meets regularly with states and Department Program Offices.
c. Our external partners are state and local education agencies, Council of Chief of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and other education groups.
d. For the transition period, our measures focus on achieving the full transition to the EDEN collection. A successful transition to EDEN and EDFacts will result in increased effectiveness in achieving two of the Secretary’s key policy priorities for FY 2007 and FY 2008:
e. The Department estimates that the elimination of other IT investments could save $74 million over time (before EDEN costs). The Department anticipates the K-12 programs could enjoy as much as 5% more "bang for the buck." This is not cost savings or avoidance, but better use of existing funds through improved decision-making.
f. As the intermediary collection system of K-12 education data for program and policy offices of the Department, EDEN's customer base is limited to those program and policy interests of the Department that require the data and the states, districts and schools that provide the data. In the very rare instances where data providers do not have Internet access (not the case at the state education agency level), EDEN provides a Partner Support Center that can accept paper-based data submissions for entry at the support center's site. For data providers who are disabled, EDEN's systems are compliant with Section 508 accessibility standards.
With respect to analysis and reporting of collected data through EDFacts, the major customers are program and policy offices of the Department that then prepare publications for Congress and the general public. Again, for the disabled, EDFacts is Section 508 compliant.
2. Describe your process for determining which information will be made available on your agency’s public website and the Internet as required in Section 207(f)(2) of the Act
Describe your process for determining which information
will be made available on your agency's public website and the Internet
as required in Section 207(f)(2) of the Act.Your description must:
a. and b. The Department of Education has created an inventory of the information it posts to the public website and Internet as required in Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act. The inventory is based on the Department's "Management and Publishing Policies" which is publicly available at: http://www.ed.gov/internal/wwwstds.html, a review of the information with the Office of Communication and Outreach (OCO), and by soliciting input from other key Department content owners and websites.
c. This inventory was normalized into the common format that was agreed upon by the Interagency Council on Government Information, Web Content Standards (now known as the Web Managers Advisory Council). The inventory was published on ED.gov for a 30-day public review & comment period on December 12, 2004.
d. The current inventory is publicly accessible at: http://www.ed.gov/notices/egovinventory.html, and is updated on a regular basis. The last update to the inventory was on June 20, 2006.
e. Search functionality has been available on ED.gov since 1997. To achieve additional value to our users, during the 2002 redesign, the search functionality was expanded to include cross-site indexing of other major Department websites. The search engine, underlying metadata, searching heuristics, etc. are continuously reviewed and improved upon to provide the most relevancy and utility to the Department's website users and visitors. Responses of the ED.gov search engine are delivered in less than 2 seconds, on average. This is equivalent to industry best practices and user expectations.
3. Describe how your agency's information dissemination activities are coordinated with its FOIA operations in order to improve both access to the dissemination of government information to the public.
Your description must include a link to your agency's FOIA Improvement Plan.
Describe how your agency's information dissemination activities are coordinated
with its FOIA operations in order to improve both access to the dissemination
of government information to the public. Your description must include a link
to your agency's FOIA Improvement Plan.
The Department of Education implemented an aggressive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Improvement Plan, available at:
This Plan focuses on:
In compliance with Executive Order 13392, "Improving Agency Disclosure of Information," during FY2006, the Department appointed a Chief FOIA Officer, FOIA Public Liaisons, established a FOIA Requester Service Center, developed and implemented a FOIA Improvement Plan (mentioned above) that continues through FY2007. This includes providing documents to more than 1200 requesters. Aiding the FOIA dissemination of information is a dedicated electronic mail address for requesters seeking to make a FOIA request or inquire as to the status of their FOIA request. The FOIA website also provides an interactive FOIA request form to aid requesters describe the documents they are seeking and formulate their FOIA request.
a. The Department's goal is establish and implement, for FY 2007, multi-tracks for processing FOIA/PA requests across the Department. The following tracks have been defined:
Simple Track: Requests that can be completed in 1 to 5 workdays from the date of receipt of the request. Simple requests are those for which there are no responsive records or responsive records are available from prior requests. Simple requests are usually focused and limited in scope.
Routine Track: Requests that can be completed within 20 workdays from the date of receipt of the request. Routine requests are those for which responsive records can be located and obtained quickly. Routine requests do not require extensive consultation with other entities to finalize a release determination and response. Routine requests are usually focused and limited in scope.
Complex Track: Requests that require more than 20 workdays to process from the date of receipt. Complex requests are those that involve an extensive search, a lengthy review process because of the volume of records, and/or the need for numerous consultations. Complex requests are sometimes broadly focused and possibly historical in nature and, therefore, not limited in scope. Because complex requests exceed the statutory time limit for a response, the requester will be notified in writing that their request has been placed in the complex track, and they will be provided all other information as required by statute and regulations.
Expedited Track: Requests that meet the statutory and regulatory requirements to be granted expedited processing and placed in this track (in lieu of being placed in the simple, routine, or complex track). This is not a new track, but is affected by the implementation of the three additional tracks described above.
b. The Department is establishing internal protocols to identify and post documents likely to be of public interest and appropriate for disclosure would preclude the need for numerous FOIA requests and the ensuing searches, document reviews, redactions, copying and fees. Making greater use of information technology advances would provide a cost-effective tool to facilitate the public's instant access to the information.
The Department's FOIA Website was recently re-designed to incorporate the requirements of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments (E-FOIA) Amendments of 1996 (e.g., the handbook for requesters, the E-FOIA Reading Room, and on-line annual reports). The Department populated the FOIA home page with ED-specific materials and links to other important FOIA Websites; and the ed.gov home page includes a prominently displayed "FOIA" button for easy customer navigation and retrieval of FOIA information. The current user-friendly format and the benefits of ongoing information technology improvements offer additional advantages for upgrading the E-FOIA Reading Room to accommodate an increasing volume of information anticipated through the various improvement initiatives. The format and utilities of the website also provide outreach possibilities for customer feedback questionnaires, web-based FOIA status reports, and recent FOIA news.
c. The Department's primary website, ED.gov, hosts a portal page, http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/landing.jhtml that serves as the starting point to ED research and statistics information. The main ED organization that supportes ED research and statistics is the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and their website is at: http://ies.ed.gov.