Functional Statements > Office of Communications and Outreach


Media and Customer Relations plans, develops, and executes ED’s public affairs strategies to support the goals and objectives of the Department of Education. The office serves as the central channel for information to ED’s various publics and the media. The office also coordinates public affairs media efforts with ED Headquarters and Regional officials and, manages and directs these functions.

The office, in coordination with other OCO components, originates and develops news products for the media and the general public; arranges news/press conferences, interviews, radio and television appearances; responds to media requests and maintains continuous media relations; issues a daily digest of relevant education news; and provides close, continuing contact with the Principal Offices. The office also fields calls from the public in response to public affairs outreach and manages individual calls from the press. The Office is headed by the Press Secretary.

Press Office

The Press Office develops and maintains productive working relationships with national and local media, with the Press Secretary as ED’s primary spokesperson.  The Office

  • Works closely with assigned Principal Offices in planning and developing new communications strategies and activities.
  • Creates and disseminates news releases and media advisories.
  • Provides advance news notification to the general media and specialized education press on programs and events involving ED executives and/or issues.
  • Coordinates the planning, execution of, and messaging for, special events involving the Secretary or key staff from Principal Offices on critical department issues, designed to create media interest to inform the public, education groups, and others and to enlist participation in Department programs and education reform efforts.
  • Provides a regular news monitoring service for the department.
  • Develops and executes comprehensive public affairs media campaigns designed to keep the generalized and specialized publics informed of the activities and interests of ED.
  • Performs research on education-related news articles appearing in the media for OCO and other offices within the Department as requested.

Information Resource Center

The Information Resource Center is the national voice of the Department as it interacts with people from all across the country. The Center coordinates and operates a citizen contact center to provide access to information, referrals, and in-depth assistance on all aspects of Federal education law and policy as well as nationally focused Departmental initiatives. Services are provided via a toll-free telephone number (1-800-USA-LEARN), email, and written correspondence. The Center provides regular feedback to senior officers concerning citizen contacts and also manages the ED locator and ensures that it is an effective service to the general public and the Department.