It’s October 17, and President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act on this date in 1979. You might think that Cabinet-level departments are all quite old and have been a part of American government since 1776, but some of them are newer, and the Department of Education is one of the newer ones. Today is a good occasion to review what the Department of Education does and what it doesn’t do. The Department of Education is primarily concerned with financial aid, collecting data, focusing attention on key educational issues and prohibiting discrimination while ensuring equal access to education. The Department of Education does not accredit or recognize schools, nor does it establish curriculum or set graduation requirements for a high school diploma program. Those responsibilities fall with individual states. Because we are located in Illinois we follow the guidelines of the Illinois State Board of Education for our middle school program and high school program, but we welcome students from all 50 states. Thank you to all of the various organizations including the United States Department of Education which work hard to ensure that all students receive the best education possible.