Conclusion

At the U.S. Department of Education, we view transparency, participation, and collaboration as vital to the success of our mission to improve the quality and accessibility of education in the United States. These are goals in and of themselves, inasmuch as we understand clearly that our stakeholders deserve an education agency that serves the people as efficiently, openly, honestly, and collaboratively as possible.

In writing this plan, we have addressed the requirements of the President and his staff for developing the Department's Open Government Plan. While doing this, we have uncovered limitations to our existing transparency, participation, and collaboration work. Some of these limitations arise from internal processes (e.g., challenges in data management and technology processes); others are not (e.g., privacy regulations and laws that limit how much data can be shared). These limitations represent challenges to the process of governing, and we at the Department are now, thanks to the process initiated by the Open Government Directive, fully engaged and committed to resolving these limitations wherever the law allows, and clarifying the limitations where it does not.

Transparency, participation, and collaboration are the keys to ensuring that we can continuously serve the public better. Applying them as values to our business of supporting the education community will enable the Department to institutionalize transparency, participation, and collaboration; in effect, we will write these values on the "DNA" of our institutional culture, memory, and knowledge. By doing this, we believe we will be laying the groundwork for transforming the Department to meet the requirements of the President and the needs of the people.

We look forward to the public's feedback on how to improve our Open Government Plan. The plan is still developing, and it will be improved significantly by the public's suggestions. To provide comments, please visit our open government initiative website at www.ed.gov/open or send us an e-mail at opengov@ed.gov. We also welcome specific questions, and we will do our best to respond as quickly and thoughtfully as possible. Please understand that this plan is just the first step in enhancing transparency, participation, and collaboration at the U.S. Department of Education. We look forward to taking additional steps with public input and support, and we intend to take the public's comments into account when updating this plan.

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