U.S. Department of Education Plain Writing Initiative
The Plain Writing Act of 2010 [PDF, 153KB] requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing "a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his Jan. 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.
We at the U.S. Department of Education are committed to writing new documents in plain language by October 2011, using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines.
We need your help to comply with the act. Let us know if you have trouble understanding our documents or the pages on our website (see "Add new comment" below).
Jacquelyn Zimmermann, director of the Editorial Policy, Publishing and Printing branch, in the Department's Office of Communications and Outreach, has oversight responsibility for our plain language efforts. While we prefer that you comment on this page below to communicate with the Department of Education about the clarity of its products, you may also contact Jacquelyn at Jacquelyn.Zimmermann@ed.gov.
We're training our employees and strengthening our oversight process to ensure that you—the reader—will benefit from our products and services. To this end, we intend to use plain language in any document that:
- is necessary for obtaining any federal government benefit or service;
- provides information about any federal government benefit or service; or
- explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces.
Please let us know if we haven't written a document in plain language by writing your comments below.
Publishing clear, useful information about our programs and services is one of our top priorities and an ongoing effort. As a user of our website, you may already be familiar with some of our publications and know that they cover a broad swath. Are you looking for information about federal student aid? What U.S. K-12 students should know and be able to do in major academic subjects? Notices inviting grant applications? Research-based tips to help your children learn? You can find all this and more at www.ed.gov and at http://www.edpubs.gov as well as at http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
As mentioned above, we invite your help in ensuring our information is clear and accessible to you, our customers. Please let us know if you find any of our documents or Web pages hard to understand. Simply click on "Add new comment" below, type your comments in the box and click on "Save." Be sure to give the title of the publication or URL if you're referring to a particular publication or Web page. Thank you in advance for your help in making us better at serving you.
You'll find on this Web page "U.S. Department of Education Plain Writing Act of 2010 Compliance Report, July 2012" [MS Word, 45KB]. We'd welcome your comments on this report as well via the "Add new comment" box below.