About the U.S. Department of Education

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About ED

Overview and Mission Statement

ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. ED's 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget are dedicated to:

  • Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
  • Collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research.
  • Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
  • Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Overview and Mission Statement

The mission of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is to empower States, districts, and other organizations to meet the diverse needs of every student by providing leadership, technical assistance, and financial support.


Excellence and equity for all students.

Core Values

OESE recognizes that effective organizations are shaped by key enduring values that, when widely shared, believed in and followed, shape our attitudes, decisions and actions.  OESE’s core values are:

  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Excellence

The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education serves as a principal adviser to the Secretary of Education on everything related to elementary and secondary education.  OESE is responsible for directing, coordinating, and recommending policy for programs designed to:

·Help State and local educational agencies improve the achievement of preschool, elementary, and secondary school students;

·Support equal access to services to help every child achieve. Congress has directed us to pay particular attention to children who are from low-income families, have disabilities or developmental delays, are educationally disadvantaged, or are English Learners, Native American, migrant, homeless, or in foster care;

  • Advance educational improvement at the State and local levels; and
  • Provide financial assistance to local educational agencies whose local revenues are affected by Federal activities.

Well-Rounded Education Programs Division

About WRE

The Well-Rounded Education Programs Division administers discretionary grant programs that support activities designed to advance literacy skills, provide professional learning opportunities to teachers, support arts education, and identify and meet the special educational needs of gifted and talented students.


The office administers programs that are designed to:

  • advance literacy skills for students from birth through grade 12, including limited-English-proficient students and students with disabilities;
  • develop and enhance effective school library programs, which may include providing professional development for school librarians, books, and up-to-date materials to high-need schools;
  • build and enhance the ability of elementary schools and secondary schools nationwide to identify gifted and talented students and meet their special educational needs; and
  • support national-level arts education projects and services for children and youth, the implementation of model professional development programs for arts educators and other instructional staff, and the development and dissemination of accessible instructional materials and arts-based educational programming.