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US Dept of Education - A Guide Even Betsy DeVos Can Understand

Introduction to US Dept of Education

While researching the US Dept of Education, I learned quite a bit. I was surprised to see many people having the same basic questions. There are lots of articles that involve vague answers filled with education and political jargon that simply don't really answer the main points. After experiencing my own frustration with these types of articles, I thought I would leave out the jargon and answer the questions as if I had to explain it to the current US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Through my research I found DeVos is a very unlikable character by the majority of individuals involved in journalism, late night television, politics, and in the education industry. Many of which at the least find her not qualified for the job. Below is a video by the National Educational Association about Betsy DeVos and record on public education. Please don't view Betsy DeVos' poor choices as a reflection of the US Dept of Education. This government entity is better than that and is quite useful. Keep reading to see what I mean.

The irony of the headline for this article is comical because I came to learn through not just this HuffPost article, but other sources as well, that DeVos is considered to be among the least popular Cabinet members, and this same woman was barely confirmed to her position. In the clip below from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she flunked Her '60 Minutes' Test.

Some of DeVos latest controversies can be found in this article from Politico where it elaborates on the issue involving DeVos in violating a judge's order and DeVos now held in contempt of court with an imposed $100,000 for failing to forgive student debt. If that's not bad enough there's always this little nugget from Business Insider showing her confirmation hearing in 2017 when asked about her thoughts on guns in school, DeVos expressed the need to protect students from grizzly bears. Still need more? In the clip below from the The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, thanks to Betsy DeVos fraudulent for-profit schools are now making a comeback.

Now that we had our fun explaining the incompetent person currently heading the US Dept of Education, let's answer your questions in a way where even Betsy DeVos could understand the answer.

A quick bonus (because you are cool like that and you scrolled more): here's a video from the National Education Association about 3 Reasons Betsy DeVos is Unqualified to be Secretary of Education.


What does the US Dept of Education do?

Simply put, the US Dept of Education is responsible for maintaining policies related to education and improving the educational system. The US Dept of Education is responsible for providing financial aid, collecting educational data, and identifying various educational issues. Particularly noted, the US Dept of Education is a great resource for student loans, grants, laws, and data.

With the US Dept of Education, you can get all the information you need to apply for or manage repayment of your federal student loans. You can learn more about grant opportunities, applications, and details about grants awarded. You can find federal education legislation, regulations, guidance, and other policy documents. You can also explore and download data and learn about education-related data and research.

If you have a spare 5 and a half hours to kill, you can always sit and watch the Examining the Policies and Priorities of the US Dept of Education video shown here.


How do I contact the US Dept of Education?

US Dept of Education Phone Number

(202) 401-2000

US Dept of Education Address:

400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20202

If you plan on taking public transit then take the Metro Orange/Blue or Green/Yellow Lines to L'Enfant Plaza: Follow signs to for 7th St., Maryland Ave., Smithsonian Museums exit, follow escalator to Maryland Ave, and continue NE on Maryland Ave (toward US Capitol) for approx 1 1/2 blocks, to 400 Maryland Ave on right-hand side.

US Dept of Education Hours:

Sunday Closed

Monday 9 AM – 5 PM

Tuesday 9 AM – 5 PM

Wednesday 9 AM – 5 PM

Thursday 9 AM – 5 PM

Friday 9 AM – 5 PM

Saturday Closed

US Dept of Education Website:


US Dept of Education Milestones

September 23, 2011

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility package was announced by President Obama, allowing states to implement their own plans to raise standards, improve accountability and undertake essential reforms to improve teacher effectiveness.

July 24, 2009

President Obama announces “Race to the Top,” a competition to get states to implement school reforms that produce real results. The $4.35 billion fund will reward eligible states for their accomplishments, and create incentives for future improvements.

February 17, 2009

President Barack Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; this bill includes $100 billion for education.

November 2002

President George W. Bush signs the Education Sciences Reform Act, which creates an Institute of Educational Sciences, headed by a presidentially-appointed director for a six-year term.

January 8, 2002

President George W. Bush signs No Child Left Behind Education Bill

The No Child Left Behind Act supports standards-based education reform and requires that all government-run schools receiving federal funding administer a state-wide standardized test annually to all students.

March 31, 1994

President Bill Clinton's Goals 2000 initiative becomes law, establishing a framework to identify world-class academic standards, to measure student progress, and to provide the support that students may need to meet the standards.

June 27, 1991

The U.S. Department of Education creates the National Council on Education Standards and Testing under President George H.W. Bush.

April 26, 1983

This report on the quality of education in America was a product of President Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education. The Commission sought to define the problems afflicting American education and to provide solutions.

August 13, 1981

President Ronald Reagan signs the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act, giving states more control over fund allocations.


Who is the Head of the US Dept of Education?

The United States Secretary of Education is the head of the United States Department of Education.

What does the US Secretary of Education Do?

The secretary advises the president of the United States, and the federal government, on federal policies, programs, and activities related to all education in the United States.

Who is the US Secretary of Education?

The current US Secretary of Education is Betsy DeVos.

List of US Secretaries of Education

  • Betsy DeVos served as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education from February 7, 2017 - present under President Donald Trump.

  • John King, Jr. served as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education from March 14, 2016 - January 20, 2017 under President Barack Obama.

  • Arne Duncan served as the 9th U.S. Secretary of Education from January 20, 2009 - December 31, 2015 under President Barack Obama.

  • Margaret Spellings served as the 8th U.S. Secretary of Education from January 20, 2005 - January 20, 2009 under President George W. Bush.

  • Roderick Paige served as the 7th U.S. Secretary of Education from January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2005 under President George W. Bush.

  • Richard Riley served as the 6th U.S. Secretary of Education from January 21, 1993 - January 20, 2001 under President Bill Clinton.

  • Lamar Alexander served as the 5th U.S. Secretary of Education from March 22, 1991 - January 20, 1993 under President George H. W. Bush.

  • Lauro Cavazos served as the 4th U.S. Secretary of Education from September 20, 1988 - December 12, 1990 under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

  • William J. Bennett served as the 3rd U.S. Secretary of Education from February 6, 1985 - 1988 under President Ronald Reagan.

  • Terrel Bell served as the 2nd U.S. Secretary of Education from January 22, 1981 - January 20, 1985 under President Ronald Reagan.

  • Shirley Hufstedler served as the 1st U.S. Secretary of Education from November 30, 1979 - January 20, 1981 under President Jimmy Carter.


US Dept of Education History:

The original Dept of Education was created in 1867 in order to collect information on schools and teaching that would help out the States in order to establish effective school systems. However, it wasn't until October 1979, when Congress passed the Department of Education Organization Act whereby as a result from combining offices from several federal agencies, that the US Dept of Education began operations in May 1980 with Shirley Hufstedler serving as the first U.S. Secretary of Education. (I'll admit, timelines are a little confusing, so bare with me with this synopsis.)

You can learn more about the US Dept of Education's History using the link below.


US Dept of Education Loans:

Maybe you are considering a Pell grant, direct loan, Parent PLUS loan or other federal aid, if so you must check out the US Dept of Education Student Loans page.

Interested in finding the right repayment plan for you? Learn how to make payments, get help if you can’t afford your payments, and see what circumstances might result in a loan being forgiven, canceled, or discharged then head over to the US Dept of Education Repaying Loans page.

Don’t ignore your student loan payments or you’ll risk going into default. Your loans must be repaid. Check out the US Dept of Education Defaulted Loans page to learn more.

In certain situations, you can have your federal student loan forgiven, canceled, or discharged. To find out whether you qualify due to your job or other circumstances head over to the US Dept of Education Loan Forgiveness page.

Do you need someone to help you manage the repayment of your federal student loans for free? If so, hop over to the US Dept of Education and learn more about their Loan Servicers which can handle the billing on your federal student loan. They can help with repayment plans and loan consolidation related to your federal student loan.


US Dept of Education Grants & Programs:

Did you know, The US Dept of Education offers 3 different types of grants: Head over to the US Dept of Education Grants & Programs page to learn in more detail. They deal with:

  1. Discretionary grants: awarded using a competitive process.

  2. Student loans or grants: to help students attend college.

  3. Formula grants: uses formulas determined by Congress and has no application process.

You can also look into these grant topics from the US Dept of Education as well:


US Dept of Education Laws & Guidance

Want to know more about the US Dept of Education's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which provides equal opportunity for all students? Check out that hyperlink then.

Are you a parent interested in protecting the privacy of your students' education records? You and the students have rights. Check out the US Dept of Education's The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FERPA to brush up on this Federal law.

Perhaps you are interested in laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, sex, disability, and on the basis of age. If so the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights page is for you. These laws extend to all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries, and museums that receive U.S. Dept of Education funds. Click that link to learn more about it.

Whether you are a student, parent, educator, service provider, or grantee, you can visit the US Dept of Education’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act New IDEA Website here if you care about children with disabilities and their families and want to find information and explore resources on infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.


US Dept of Education Data & Research

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the main federal entity that collects and analyzes education related data. Use the resources below to find all kinds of custom tables, charts, maps for all you data-driven individuals.


What is the education budget for 2019?

$59.9 billion in discretionary appropriations. And because at the time of writing this, 2020 is sneaking up fast, here is the 2020 President’s Budget Amendments specific to the Department of Education.

If you want to find the latest news on funding of the U.S. Department of Education programs, including congressional action on appropriations you can always visit and click around like I did.



Although Betsy DeVos is a lobbyist and political donor with no public education experience of any kind, you might as well have a chance and nab the title of US Secretary of Education for the US Dept of Education now that you have more knowledge thanks to this awesome article.

Final words of encouragement.

Best of luck to you. You got this! If DeVos can get this title you sure as heck can too, because well, you are awesome and now more qualified since you made it all the way to the bottom of this page. Thank you so much for sticking with us. Hope you learned something. I sure have. If you're interested in learning more about education, I have an awesome website for you to check out. It's It showcases the latest technology used on school buses to keep your kids safe. I would love it if you would check it out and share with your school.

We hope to work with your school in the very near future.

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