Departments of Education

Find departments of education (DOE) and boards of education. Departments of education provide information on K-12 schools, secondary education and high school, and higher education including colleges and universities.

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About Departments of Education

What is the Department of Education?

A Department of Education is a state or federal agency whose mission is to provide leadership, develop policy, and disseminate funding, information, and other resources in support of student achievement. While the missions of state Departments of Education are similar to the federal Department of Education, state Departments of Education play a substantially different role in achieving their missions.

The U.S. Department of Education is a cabinet-level department headed by the Secretary of Education. Unlike most state Departments of Education, the scope of the U.S. Department of Education extends beyond secondary school to include post-secondary education. It primarily influences education at the state and local level through the distribution of grants and by setting the conditions and requirements to qualify for federal funding. The U.S. Department of Education awards education block grants to states without an application process, which are based on student demographic and other factors. The largest of these grant programs are Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The U.S. Department of Education also awards competitive grants. Examples of these grants include the School Improvement Grants program, which helps states turn around their most underperforming schools, and the Teacher Incentive Fund, which helps districts develop performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems.

The U.S. Department of Education supports post-secondary education primarily through the Pell Grant program, a tuition assistance initiative for low-income students.

State Departments of Education are responsible for distributing federal education funds and state aid to local school districts, serving as the administrative arm of the State Board of Education, managing technical high school systems, and operating schools for the blind, deaf, and disabled.

Performance standards, curriculum requirements, and assessment requirements for local districts are defined at the state level through the State Board of Education. The states also accredit local districts and approve courses and professional programs for teachers and school administrators. In most states, a separate department is responsible for post-secondary education.