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The Objective of the Education Department in Providing Quality Education to All Children

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Department of Education

The founding fathers questioned the role of federal government in education. They believed the role was to make sure that the citizens were educated in order to promote the principal of democracy. The idea of the federal role in education has evolved over time. The Department of Education (ED) is a regulatory agency with a mandate of making sure children have a right to quality education. This agency created many burdens and benefits. The Department of Education is considered a client-based agency.

Brief Description of the Department of Education

The Department of Education was officially established during the Carter administration as a result of growing inequality. The ED published an article a Nation at Risk about the inequality that existed in the country. It faced opposition from different communities, such as civil rights groups, teachers unions, and other special interest groups who believed that government used education as a way to make policy decisions for the entire nation. The ED was criticized because states felt they became powerless as a result of intensive regulation from the mandate.

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When the ED was created it became known to be a regulatory agency because of its responsibility and accountability over education. The main mandate of the ED is to have a unified standard on all schools across the nation, yet this overrides states’ rights. The ED is currently working on improving schools that are failing or closing them down if they do not improve over a certain period of time. This is the impact that the No Child Left Behind created which was about improving failing schools. This correlates with the main mandate of the ED that is to provide a quality education to children in this country. It is also focusing on different programs by allocating large sums of money to the Race to the Top program as well as Title 1 School Improvement Grants. These mandates were established as a result of educational inequality and that lead to supporters of the agency as well as opponents who were critical of the agency.

Currently, the ED is focusing on the Race to the Top competition that allows the states to compete for money that they need to reform their schools. In addition to the Race to the Top competition, the ED invested $3.5 billion in Title 1 School Improvement Grants with a goal of improving failing schools. The Innovation Fund received $650 million dollars for programs that will help with education reform. The ED is also investing that same amount of money into investing in technology in different educational settings that will improve the learning of students. The Teachers Incentive Fund will receive about $200 million dollars in order to support teacher performance in schools with a high need. Finally, $300 million dollars will be used to help states with creating data systems that will be a part in creating education reforms.

Distribution of benefits created by the ED

The National Teaching Standards is considered a benefit of the ED because it allows for high quality teaching standards and a rigorous assessment process. The students and the teachers benefit from these standards. The teachers benefit from the National Teaching Standards because once they become certified they usually become school leaders according to the National Research Council of the National Academies. The students benefit from the National Teaching Standards because it allows for them to receive quality education. The benefits of the National Teaching Standards are concentrated among a few actors because it impacts students and teachers. The per capita benefits as a result of the National Teaching Standards are high because higher investments in teacher quality lead to better academic achievements of the students. The group that lobbies on the behalf of National Teaching Standards is the National Research Council of the National Academies because they published a report that supports the National Teaching Standards that is a part of the Board of Education.

Burdens Created by the ED

The No Child Left Behind created burdens which were highly controversial such as the closing down of schools that were failing. School closings had a negative impact on students because most of their schools were close to home and since the school closed down they would have to commute longer to another school. The per capita burdens are high because school closings also hurt the student’s relationship with staff. There are several interest groups that are against school closings such as the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools. The coalition found that the school closings lead to fewer opportunities for students of color, low-income students, and students with disabilities as well as English language learners. School closings not only impact the students but also communities. This leads to questioning on whether the federal government should be involved in states decisions of closing down failing schools. The opponents believe that the federal government should not make decisions for the states because they may not be aware of what is occurring in the community and that the school is probably a vital source for them. Another burden that the ED created was building a federal data system in keeping track of children. The reason it is a burden is because it infringes on an individual’s rights because of privacy concerns of the young children. In addition, it leads to further distrust in the federal government.

ED as a Client-Agency

The ED is a client-politics agency because according to Wilson this agency benefits a few people but puts a burden on many people. This created a benefit to a few people such as the teachers and the students because they are the main actors in the ED when it comes to their mission statement. However, despite the benefits the ED had created numerous burdens such as the cost of closing down failing schools. For example, the cities that experienced the most school closures have been Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. The ED has also created another burden that involved creating a data system that led to different individuals questioning the invasion of privacy by the federal agency.

Since the ED is a client based agency, the teachers and the students are in the forefront of implementing its mandates. This federal agency serves them and creates mandates and policies that surround their mission statement in making sure to have quality teachers for better student achievement. The ED has public support when it comes to funding of public schools and providing programs. However, they can become vulnerable when opposition arises such as the closing of schools and the distrust in the government. Many people do not trust the government with personal information because some believe that it can infringe on individual rights.

Implications of the ED

Most of the states’ rights advocates are against the ED because they believe that the government should have a limited role rather than an extensive one. The National Education Association is considered a friend of the ED because they support teachers and Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools is an enemy of the ED because they are more focused on states’ rights in education rather than the federal governments. The ED has a very large budget of $10 billion that is going to be used to support education through a variety of grants. States received $3.5 billion in order to improve schools that are considered failing schools under the No Child Left Behind. The two major programs of the ED are the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

From the very beginning till today there has been opposition to the federal government role in education and in the ED. With its long history it has struggled to appeal both sides which were people who supported and those who opposed the organization. Race to the Top is one of the primary focuses of the ED even though it focuses on other aspects such as providing technology in the classroom. Today, the ED is considered a client-politics environment because it benefits a few people and it creates a burden on many. The goal of the ED is to level the playing field for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.


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