Federal agencies play an important role in US education policymaking, and provide funding for programs that relate to their mandates. The National Science Foundation funds numerous research projects and educational programs related to science. Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government, passes legislation that directly impacts education. But what exactly is the federal role in US education? And who is in charge of education policy in the US? Read on to learn more.
The federal government controls education in the US through the Department of Education. The department is governed by the United States Secretary of Education and employs approximately 4,400 people. The department has a budget of approximately $68 billion per year, and the President’s 2023 budget calls for an additional $83.3 billion. The budget includes funds for children with disabilities, pandemic recovery, Title I, Pell Grants, and energy.
The Department of Education is one of the few Cabinet-level agencies that oversees education. Although the Department of Education is relatively new among cabinet-level agencies, it was first established in 1867 by Andrew Johnson as an office. Its primary purpose was to track education statistics. In 1868, it was downgraded to an “Office,” and operated under various names and housed in different agencies. Ultimately, the federal government began to play a more active role in education policy in the US in the mid-1960s.
Today, the Department of Education is headed by Betsy DeVos. She was confirmed to her position by the U.S. Senate in February 2017. She is an experienced education policymaker who has spent over 30 years working in education policy. She is committed to improving opportunities for underserved children and helping parents make wise choices for their children. So what’s in a job for the secretary of education?