Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.

Federal

Why Federal Agencies With a Hand in K-12 Must Work Together

By Andrew Ujifusa — February 01, 2021 1 min read

When Dan Gordon was an attorney in the Justice Department’s civil rights division for education during the Clinton and second Bush administrations, much of the time he felt like he was in a silo.

He didn’t feel very connected to the U.S. Department of Education, aside from the times when he and his colleagues were referred cases from the agency’s office for civil rights. But Gordon said it doesn’t have to be that way, and that it’s not necessarily how the federal government operates all the time.

When the federal government examines education policy from the perspective of different agencies, he said, the goal ultimately is to help children by thinking about the various forces that impact their lives. One test for President Joe Biden’s team on this front will be how the agencies actually implement his new executive order to prioritize racial equity in policy decisions across agencies, he said.

“When you don’t communicate and collaborate and think in systems, I think the natural result is a less- efficient government, a less-effective government,” said Gordon, who is now the senior legal and policy adviser for EducationCounsel, an education consulting firm.

See Also

Image of President Biden.
iStock/Getty + Jeff Roberson/AP<br/>

That goes for Democrats and Republicans alike, he stressed, irrespective of their different philosophies about the federal role in education.

GOP officials, he said, should think across government agencies to avoid confusion and waste. Democrats who focus on priorities such as regulations and guidance, he said, need to make sure different cabinet-level departments are in sync during that proactive process.

It’s also worth keeping in mind the size and complexity of the overall operation.

“The entire federal government is not like a speed boat,” Gordon said. “It’s a cruise ship.”

Related Tags:

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Opinion Education Outlets Owe Readers More Than the Narratives They Want to Hear
It's vital that serious news organizations challenge runaway narratives and help readers avoid going down ideological rabbit holes.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal As GOP Leaves K-12 Out of Its Infrastructure Plan, Advocates Look For Alternatives
The GOP is proposing $1 trillion in federal dollars for the nation's infrastructure, but school buildings aren't part of their proposal.
6 min read
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C..
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C.
Alex Boerner for Education Week
Federal Biden Pick for Education Civil Rights Office Has History With Racial Equity, LGBTQ Issues
Biden selected Catherine Lhamon to lead the Education Department's civil rights work, a role she also held in the Obama administration.
2 min read
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Lawmakers Press CDC About Teachers' Union Influence on School Reopening Guidance
Republican senators asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about reports a teachers' union had input on guidance for schools on COVID-19.
3 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce then-President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Susan Walsh/AP