An Overview of the U.S. Department of Education
September 2010

PDF (365 KB)

A Message From the Secretary

Education is my life’s work. When I was young, I learned the difference a quality education can make. My mother and father were educators who knew the extraordinary potential of children. Today, I am honored to serve as the U.S. secretary of education and be part of such an amazing team of people. We are all proud of the services the Department provides, and we are dedicated to improving our nation’s education system.

This booklet will give you the big picture of the Department’s functions, mission and goals. If you value education—as a student, parent, teacher or community member—you are key to the success of our nation. Quality education is the civil rights issue of our generation. Excellence and equity in education are essential to achieving social justice and ensuring that our nation can compete in a global economy.

We are at a unique moment in our work to create world-class schools in America. Governors and chief state school officers are working together to raise the bar and create common standards that prepare students for success in college and careers. In districts across the country, unions and community leaders are working together to turn around schools, create new evaluation systems, and partner for performance pay plans. They are moving beyond the battles of the past and finding new ways to work together. States are creating bold plans to reform their schools so their children are prepared for success in the 21st-century workforce. This is a quiet revolution that is taking hold in communities across the country.

As you will learn in this brochure, education at the federal level represents only a small part of the entire education enterprise. Our role is to be an engine of innovation, supporting the great work that is happening in schools across the country.

In this booklet you will find out how the U.S. Department of Education is working to fulfill these goals, and you will find out how to contact the various offices for more information. If you have questions or ideas about what we can do to better fulfill our mission, please let us hear from you by visiting our website at www.ed.gov. Now, let’s get to work to help our children.

Arne Duncan

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Last Modified: 10/09/2015