This category covers government establishments primarily engaged in central coordination, planning, supervision, and administration of funds, policies, intergovernmental activities, statistical reports and data collection, and centralized programs for educational administration. Government scholarship programs are classified here. Included are federal and state education departments, commissions, and similar educational organizations. Schools and local and state school boards operating schools are classified in educational services industries. Human resource training is classified in SIC 8331: Job Training and Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and administration of such programs is classified in SIC 9440: Administration of Social, Human Resource and Income Maintenance Programs.
Administration of Educational Programs
Virtually all of the functions conducted by the educational programs administration industry were connected in one way or another with the U.S. Department of Education, which administers more than 150 educational programs and guidelines for the nation's more than 119,000 schools. Despite carrying a legacy of controversy as old as the U.S. Constitution, the Department of Education grew from a meagerly funded agency charged with a single task—the gathering and dissemination of educational data—into a $56.2 billion federal program with widely varied responsibilities that changed with each presidency. In recent years, much of the debate about the department's authority and goals has centered on the question of state versus federal rights. So widespread was past resistance to a powerful, centralized department of education, not until 1979 was the century-old office granted cabinet-level status. Even then its survival was far from secure, for in Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign, he threatened to abolish the department, saddled as it was with charges of mismanagement and ineffectiveness.
From the early 1980s forward, the education debate was shaped by a national call for fundamental reform, particularly at the elementary and secondary levels, where approximately half of the department's spending went. The Department of Education only contributed around 6 percent of revenues to schools across the country, whereas the remaining 94 percent was divided between local and state sources. The Department of Education served as both mediator and scapegoat for a debate that showed no signs of ending.
When, where, and how meaningful and widespread reform would take place—and what role the department would assume—were questions that would take years to answer. Private schools, small companies specializing in educational administration, and select public schools were paving the way. In doing so, they heightened public discussion of school choice, school vouchers, and a return to core curricula. President Bill Clinton's Goals 2000: the Educate America Act, criticized for its occasionally vague language, nevertheless gave clarity to the debate in 1994 and authorized the initial release of $647 million for experiments in reform. In 2001 President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act resulted in what some considered to be the most dramatic reform to the educational system in many years. Effective in the 2002-03 school year, the legislation focused on improving student achievement standards and increasing accountability for states, school districts, and individual schools.
During the latter half of the 1990s, statistics from the National Center for Education (part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress) indicated that academic achievement in the nation's schools had steadily turned upward. However, during the early 2000s a host of challenges remained for educators. This was especially true in poverty-stricken schools, where as many as 66 percent of fourth graders did not have adequate reading skills. Schools in poorer districts also continued to struggle with funding inequities, in comparison to schools in more privileged districts. Given these circumstances, it was readily apparent that no single solution would or will continue to turn achievement levels around for all students.
The Department of Education includes: the Secretary (OS), Deputy Secretary (ODS), Under Secretary (OUS), Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs (OIIA), Inspector General (OIG), General Counsel (OGC), Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA), Human Resources and Administration (OHRA), Legislation and Congressional Affairs (OLCA), Civil Rights (OCR), Elementary and Secondary Education (OBESE), Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Postsecondary Education (OPE), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and regional offices.
Although no overall plan or consistent philosophy for the federal government's education programs exists, they are divided into four general categories. The first is promoting equal educational opportunities for students. The Chapter 1 program under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was the largest federal program promoting equal educational opportunity. The 2002 Department of Education budget for Title I was $9.9 billion for disadvantaged students under the program. This number was expected to increase toward the mid-2000s, reaching $11.4 billion in 2003 and $12.4 billion in 2004. These included low-income children, migrant children with special needs, and children needing help with school readiness. Also included under the category of equal educational opportunity was funding for immigrant education, bilingual education, and Native American education grants.
Programs stimulating education reform are included in the second category of federal education programs. The Chapter 2 program of Title I of ESEA, blocking grants to state and local private and public educational authorities for improving schools, is included in this category. Also included are Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities grants, Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education programs, and the Magnet Schools Assistance Program for desegregating schools.
The third category, general support, covers funding for school districts affected by federal activity, which limits the property tax revenues that go to schools in that area. In recent years, about 16 percent of the nation's school districts received the federally legislated...