Since President Bush took office in 2001, the U.S. Department of Education has taken aggressive and sometimes creative steps to promote its agenda, including its support for school choice options and the No Child Left Behind Act. Some of these promotional efforts, such as the payments through a public relations firm to the commentator Armstrong Williams, have caused controversy and led to investigations by federal officials. But the department's public relations efforts have taken a number of other routes as well, including outside contracts for print advertisements, radio spots, and Web sites.
How effective have the Education Department's efforts to promote its agenda been? Are they in keeping with the agency's role? How best can the public learn about the No Child Left Behind Act and other federal education priorities?