The United States Department of Education, also referred to as ED or the ED for (the) Education Department, is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government. Created by the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88) and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 17, 1979, it began operating on May 16, 1980.
The Department of Education Organization Act divided the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Education is administered by the United States Secretary of Education.
It is by far the smallest Cabinet-level department, with about 5,000 employees. The agency's official acronym is ED (and not DOE, which refers to the United States Department of Energy). It is also often abbreviated informally as DoED.
A previous Department of Education was created in 1867 but soon was demoted to an Office in 1868. As an agency not represented in the president's cabinet, it quickly became a relatively minor bureau in the Department of the Interior. In 1939, the bureau was transferred to the Federal Security Agency, where it was renamed the Office of Education. In 1953, the Federal Security Agency was upgraded to cabinet-level status as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Upgrading Education to cabinet level status a century later in 1979 was controversial and opposed by many in the Republican Party, who saw the department as unconstitutional, arguing that the Constitution doesn't mention education, and deemed it an unnecessary federal bureaucratic intrusion into local affairs.
On March 23, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 584, which designates the ED Headquarters building as the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building.
Full article ▸