June 25, 2010
President Obama is committed to the principles of open government: transparency, participation, and collaboration. On his first day in office, the President sent a memo directing all federal agencies to create unprecedented levels of openness in government. The team at the U.S. Department of Education took it to heart.
We are committed to unprecedented transparency as we administer the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We posted on the Department's website all the applications we received from States under the Recovery Act's State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, as well as detailed reports on jobs saved.
For Race to the Top, the State education reform program, we provided a detailed description of the process we would use to review and select the winners. For the first round, we posted reviewers' scores and comments so that everyone could see and learn from reviewers' work, and we will do the same for the second round.
A year ago, as we began preparing for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, members of the senior staff and the Secretary visited all 50 States on a listening and learning tour to hear Americans' ideas about No Child Left Behind and education reform. We also invited people to share their ideas on the Web.
In March, we posted our draft National Education Technology Plan on the Department's website. We invited people to share their comments, videos, and examples of how technology is changing and improving education.
To help spur innovation, our Investing in Innovation team created an innovation portal—a website where education innovators can share ideas and collaborate, where funders and educators can point out needs, and where people can gather to propose, develop, fund, implement, and improve education solutions in and outside of the classroom.
We also posted on the Web names of political appointees working at the Department. We encouraged Department employees to offer their ideas on how to make our work more effective and efficient.
These are just a few of the ways the Department of Education is committed to open government.
We have plans to extend transparency to other areas. Our goal is to make transparency, public participation, and collaboration with partners "the way we do things" across Department programs and throughout our organization.
Right now, by releasing more data than ever before, we are supplying parents and students with vital information to empower them to make the best decisions about their education. We invite teachers, administrators, local and State officials, parents, and students to participate in our decision-making and hold us accountable. When we collaborate with the American people, we increase opportunities to identify novel and imaginative ways to meet the President's goal that, by 2020, the United States once again will lead the world in college completion.
We will be shining a light on data and information that show where we are as a nation and what we must do to reach the President's goal. We will be encouraging States, communities, and schools to do likewise so that all education stakeholders—educators, parents, students, and the public—have the information they need to make good decisions for children.
We look forward to hearing from you and from all others who have a stake in education about what we can do to improve this plan.
Anthony W. Miller