What Does the United States Department of Education Do?


Quick Answer

The United States Department of Education plays a role in the development and implementation of programs that help students succeed or contribute to the funding of schools. The department also administers programs that cover all areas of education in grades pre-k through 12 as of 2015.

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Full Answer

In 2001, the Department of Education implemented the No Child Left Behind Act, which authorized the government to spend money on k-12 programs. This meant that the department had a say in how schools operate, generally in federal standardized testing. Schools that don't meet the required testing minimums could lose federal funding, which in turn impacts students and communities.

The original Department of Education was created in 1867 and collected information on schools and teaching to help states set up effective education systems. The early emphasis on collecting information and working with both teachers and administrators still continues as of 2015. When it comes to the funding provided to schools, the estimated $1.15 trillion dollars spent nationwide for the 2011-2012 school year came mostly from state, local and private sources. Approximately 87.7 percent of the money funded to schools came from non-federal sources, with the federal government contributing only 10.8 percent of the funding.

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