Dep’t Of Ed Shake-Up

A lot of buzz about the changes at the Department of Ed. A key aide in the special education office is leaving, sparking paranoia in that community. But there is a lot more. Here’s the memo from Spellings outlining the changes, they sound bureaucratic, but are significant if they’re carried out. Skip to the bottom if you want some names…

What does it mean? Power consolidation. Spellings is going to make sure that she’s got her thumbs on the right stuff or that people she trusts do to ensure that she doesn’t have an Armstrong Williams-style episode on her watch.

—–Original Message—–
From: Spellings, Margaret
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 4:03 PM
To: All Exchange Users
Subject: Proposed US Department of Education Coordinating Structure
Importance: High

March 4, 2005

FROM: Secretary Spellings
SUBJECT: Proposed US Department of Education Coordinating Structure

Today I am pleased to announce a new coordinating structure that focuses the resources of the Department on the people we primarily serve and aligns our leadership with the results we all seek in educational excellence in K-12 education and postsecondary education.

I have spent the past six weeks reviewing the operations of the Department, listening to senior officers and meeting with employees in an effort to ensure that we are serving constituencies through the most effective alignment of the leadership and talent of the Department. I believe this proposed structure will add great value in the way we do business and how we serve our customers. The details are still being determined, but I thought you would be interested to see the overall “big picture” in the meantime. The new structure sets a high priority on clarification of roles, responsibilities, processes and the key integration that needs to occur between policy development, program implementation and communication.

The first changes involve the portfolios of the Deputy Secretary (ODS) and Under Secretary (OUS). In simple terms, ODS will focus on K-12 policy: No Child Left Behind, the President’s High School Initiative, and IDEA; OUS will focus on higher and adult education policy: postsecondary policy, college aid, and the President’s financial aid reforms for the Pell Grant program. Thus, the various Principal Offices that oversee those policies and programs will coordinate their efforts through ODS or OUS as follows:

· Coordinating through ODS: the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS). In addition, the High School Initiative, the Mathematics and Science Initiative, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and the Office of Indian Education will be integrated with the efforts to raise the visibility of the elementary and secondary focus and will be housed in OESE.

· Coordinating through OUS: the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) and Federal Student Aid (FSA). In addition, the functions of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities will be integrated with the efforts to raise the visibility of the postsecondary focus and will be housed in OPE.

I am also proposing a new office called the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD), which will be led by an Assistant Secretary who will report directly to me. OPEPD will integrate and coordinate the policy development process across the Principal Offices. This office will supervise the functions of the Budget Service, Strategic Accountability Service and Policy and Program Studies Service. The office will also coordinate the efforts of the Office of Educational Technology.

In addition, I am proposing a new office to consolidate and better coordinate the communication functions of the Department to ensure clear, consistent communications across the Principal Offices. The new Office of Communications and Outreach (OCO) will include the functions of the former Office of Public Affairs (OPA), most of the functions of the former Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs (OIIA) and the function of internal communications. An Assistant Secretary who will report directly to me will lead OCO. The Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs (OLCA) will acquire the function of state legislative outreach from the former OIIA.

A Senior Advisor reporting directly to me in the Office of the Secretary will facilitate the reorganization and oversee the transformation of other critical processes to ensure enterprise-wide effective investing and risk management of the Department’s grants, loans, contracts and related services.

The Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) will coordinate the functions of the Office of Management and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

And finally, the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the International Affairs Office will remain part of the Office of the Secretary and their functions will be coordinated through the Deputy Chiefs of Staff.

In terms of a timeframe for these changes, we anticipate that the process will be conducted at a constructively aggressive pace in the coming weeks. Some of the changes will progress quickly whereas other changes involving movement of functions from one Principal Office to another will take longer.

During this brief period of change, I ask that all staff continue to focus on serving the American people by doing the great work of this Department. In short, there is no doubt these changes will result in a better workplace and continue the success of the agency. I thank you for your continued commitment to the Department’s mission, and for your continued support as we move ahead with these improvements.

That’s the end of the memo, as for possible personnel moves: Smart money figures current Asst. Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Ed Ray Simon for the Deputy Secretary job and Sally Stroup for the Under Secretary slot.

Hot rumor is that Tom Luce, Texan and honcho at National Center For Education Accountability, is coming up to take the new policy job.

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