Department of Education FY 2011 E-Government Act Report
October 14, 2011
Archived Information

Section 1 - Innovation and Transparency

Describe your top three E-Government IT accomplishments related to Open Government and innovation from this year and provide any related URL(s). You are encouraged to confer with your Open Government Senior Accountable Official. If you have questions on who is your agency’s Senior Accountable Official, please see http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/documents/open-government-directive/working-group/
ED Data Express

Since its initial August 2010 launch, ED Data Express (http://eddataexpress.ed.gov) has been serving the public by providing access to high-value education data in an easy-to-use, interactive format. This year, ED Data Express expanded the data visualization tools, enhanced documentation, and provided social networking options for users.

Version 2.0 of ED Data Express offers a new visual layout and provides the public with more dynamic tools to interact with the data such as: a mapping feature that allows users to view the data displayed on a map of the United States; a trend line tool, which displays a data element graphed across multiple school years; and a conditional analysis tool, which allows users to view one data element based on conditions set by another data element.

In addition, the site has improved documentation and added the ability to share information from the site using social networking tools, such as Facebook or Twitter.

The Department is committed to continually updating the data and enhancing the tools available to users. Version 3.0 of ED Data Express will include a redesigned State Snapshots section that is under development and is scheduled to launch this winter.

Data Strategy Team

The Department has placed a high priority on making more data publicly available and using data to inform education decision-making. Over the past year, we have successfully formed a Department-wide Data Strategy Team to collaborate across offices on a wide-range of issues related to making data available to the public. This team, as well as its sub-groups, meets frequently to discuss open data formats, examples of public websites created from open data, public interaction and other open government topics. These workgroups have elevated awareness of open data needs in the Department and will continue to have an impact on the future data set releases and related initiatives.

Section 2 - Compliance with Goals and Provisions of the Act

A. Your agency's Information Resources Management (IRM) Strategic Plan and Enterprise Architecture (EA) Plan;

Information Resources Management Plan
download files MS Word (1.3M)
download files PDF (1M)

Enterprise Transition Strategy Plan
download files MS Word (3.2MB)
download files PDF (1.3KB)

B. For each E-Gov initiative, provide final determinations, priorities, and schedules. Also include your agency’s information dissemination product catalogs, directories, inventories, and any other management tools used to improve the dissemination of and access to your agency’s information by the public;

ED.gov offers regularly updated information on the administration’s priorities as well as Department grants and contracts, federal student financial aid, education research and statistics, agency policy and programs and visitors top tasks (in the How do I find? section). The Department developed an inventory of website content, http://www.ed.gov/notices/egovinventory.html, as required by Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002.

The Department is committed to providing its full range of information to the public. A primary vehicle for doing so is the Department's main website, ED.gov.

The Department offers a one-stop system for ordering its publications (http://edpubs.ed.gov/), RSS feeds (http://www.ed.gov/news), and a new e-newsletter management system, GovDelivery, that allows citizens to subscribe to ED newsletters on more than 20 topics, is integrated with social media, and provides reports on how many emails are opened and what links the reader clicks (https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/subscriber/new?topic_id=USED_5). The Department also uses social media sites to help communicate the Secretary's message and priorities. A complete list of the agency’s social media pages, feeds, and channels is at: http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/focus/social-media.html.

C. Your agency’s FOIA handbook, the URL of your agency’s primary FOIA Web site, and the URL where frequent requests for records are made available to the public;

Freedom of Information Act

Making a Request

FOIA e-Reading Room

The Department provides a link from its primary FOIA website to the Department of Justice FOIA Guide:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/foiatoc.html. The Department provides information to assist requesters to "make a FOIA request." The web address for "How to Make a Request" is:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/request.html. The Department's "frequently requested records" web page is:

D. A list of your agency’s public Web sites disseminating research and development (R&D) information to the public, describing for each whether the website provides the public information about federally funded R&D activities and/or provides the results of Federal research;

Research and Statistics

Institute of Education Sciences

The Department's primary Web site, ED.gov, hosts a portal page that serves as the starting point to ED research and statistics information (http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/landing.jhtml). The main ED organization that supports ED research and statistics is the Institute of Education Sciences (http://ies.ed.gov/).

E. An inventory describing formal agency agreements (e.g., contracts, memorandum of understanding) with external entities (e.g., partnerships with State and local governments, public libraries, industry and commercial search engines) complementing your agency’s information dissemination program, briefly explaining how each agreement improves the access to and dissemination of government information to the public;
  1. http://edpubs.ed.gov/webstore/Content/search.asp and http://www.fsapubs.gov/
  2. http://eric.ed.gov/
  3. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/
  4. http://dww.ed.gov/
  5. http://www.college.gov/
  6. https://answers.ed.gov/
  7. http://www.teach.gov/
  8. http://free.ed.gov/,
  9. http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/opportunity/questions.html

The Department has contracted for the following to complement its information dissemination program: 1) EDpubs and FSAPubs, 2) the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) for free access to bibliographic records of journal articles and other materials, 3) the What Works Clearinghouse for scientific evidence of what works in education, 4) Doing What Works for effective teaching practices and ways to implement them, 5) College.gov for information about planning, preparing and paying for college, 6) Frequently Asked Questions, and 7) Teach.gov, which aims to increase the number, quality, and diversity of people seeking to become teachers. The Department has the following cooperative agreements: 8) Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) for teaching and learning resources and 9) Opportunity.gov highlighting education and training opportunities for unemployed Americans.

F. An inventory that describes your agency’s NARA-approved records schedule(s) or the link to the publicly-posted records schedule(s), and a brief explanation of your agency’s progress to implement NARA Bulletin 2006-02. For the brief explanation please report the number of systems for which a record schedule was submitted to NARA in FY 2011 and the number of systems still requiring records schedules.

ED's Records Disposition Schedule

Of the 107 electronic information systems containing Federal records, all are covered by a NARA-approved or NARA-submitted records retention schedule. Schedules for 26 new systems identified in FY11 will be completed in FY12.

G. A description of how your agency has implemented the use of electronic signatures for appropriately secure electronic transactions with Government and established a framework to allow efficient interoperability.

The Department has an ongoing Email Encryption/Digital Signatures Project that will enable users to encrypt email that contains sensitive information prior to sending. This project will also allow users to attach a digital signature to an email prior to sending. As part of the project, the Department has created a key management infrastructure that will enable the Office of Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights to decrypt encrypted emails to meet investigative requirements and to support legal and Freedom of Information Act requests in a timely manner. This project is scheduled to be completed by March 30, 2012.

H. A description of how your agency has enhanced public participation in Government by electronic means for development and issuance of regulations. (Ex: regulation.gov)

The Department continues to seek greater and more useful public participation in our rulemaking activities through the use of transparent and interactive rulemaking procedures and new technologies.

The Department participates in www.regulations.gov (Regulations.gov), an electronic, single, Government-wide access point that enables the public to submit comments on Federal regulatory documents and to read and respond to comments from other members of the public during the comment period. The Department accepts public comments on all of its proposed and interim final regulations, as well as a limited number of other regulatory documents, through Regulations.gov.

In addition to using Regulations.gov, the Department has sought to use blogs to obtain input from the public on regulatory documents. Notably, in 2011, the Department invited public participation as it developed an approach to the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge competition (RTT-ELC). Although the Department was waiving notice-and-comment rulemaking in establishing the priorities and requirements for this competition, we invited the public to provide general input on the ED.gov Blog. In response to this invitation, we received 199 responses, which we considered in our development of the RTT-ELC grant competition notice. We subsequently posted on the Department’s website a draft Executive Summary of the competition and invited public input on draft competition priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. Through the Department’s website, members of the public could submit comments directly on one or more of the key competition elements. We received 349 responses, which we also considered in developing the final competition notice.

I. Performance measures that demonstrate how electronic government enables progress toward agency objectives, strategic goals, and statutory mandates, as identified in conformance with the implementation of the GPRA Modernization Act (including, but not limited to, your agency's performance.gov links at http://goals.performance.gov/agencies), including a description of how your agency has linked performance goals to key stakeholders, private sector, other agencies, and internal operations in delivering information and services through use of IT.

Department-wide annual plans and performance reports, http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/index.html, describe the goals and intended outcomes of agency programs and initiatives. Annual strategies and targets are published in performance plans in advance of each fiscal year; results are reported in annual performance and accountability reports following the fiscal year end. In FY 11, the Department implemented several new strategies to facilitate transparency and improve stakeholder collaboration through improved use of technology. Specifically, the Department made significant progress in expanding access to education-related data, so that analysis of reports on education data can be done outside of the walls of the Department. This includes working to present data in formats that are easily accessed by the general public. These new tools allow users to track their state and the nation’s progress on key indicators for early learning, elementary and secondary, and postsecondary education on the U.S. Education Dashboard (http://dashboard.ed.gov) and at Ed Data Express ( http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov/). Performance.gov (http://goals.performance.gov/agency/ed) identifies the priority goals that will deliver improved educational outcomes for students.

J. A description of how your agency has reduced errors through use of electronic submissions.

In accordance with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, prior to FY 2011, agencies were required to submit contract data to the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS-NG) and separately submit the associated contract accounting information to USASpending.gov. At that time, FPDS-NG did not capture the accounting information, and ED’s Contracts and Purchasing Support System (CPSS) maintained it separately. Therefore, twice a month, ED ran a query to extract this data from CPSS and submit it directly to USASpending.gov in order to update ED contract information that was pre-populated from FPDS-NG. This process was cumbersome and required extra measures to ensure the quality of ED contract accounting data on the USASpending.gov site.

In November 2010, FPDS-NG was enhanced to capture the accounting data. In addition, ED’s CPSS was enhanced to require users to enter the accounting data in CPSS and automatically send the fields to FPDS-NG for approval at the time of contract award. As a result, contract accounting data is approved, completed and automatically transferred to the FPDS-NG system in real time. Today, the FPDS-NG system transmits all of ED’s contract accounting data to USASpending.gov, and the monthly query that ED submitted separately is no longer required. This improved process puts quality first and reduces the risk that ED contract data will be incomplete or inaccurate when viewed by the public.

K. A description of three key initiatives (provide specific examples) your agency is taking to improve compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The Department has embarked on an Accessibility Enhancement Program. This program is led by the Under Secretary and supported by the Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach. An Accessibility Task Force has outlined several key initiatives that make up this program: increasing awareness about accessibility and the importance of accessible websites and electronic documents posted on websites; establishing more robust accessibility policies and standards; developing tools, support and training for those responsible for developing and maintaining content; and establishing processes for periodic review and evaluation of accessibility policies, standards, and practices at the Department.

The Department has distributed an enterprise memo outlining the accessibility program, 504 and 508 information, and requesting an accessibility team lead from each major office; provided multiple presentations on accessibility to staff, including Senior Leadership; worked with the Office of General Counsel to develop ED accessibility policies; worked with Accessibility Task Force to draft Strategic Plan for Accessibility Improvement; and purchased Adobe Pro for those responsible for electronic content.

Efforts under way include: evaluating new tools that improve accessibility for social media; documenting ED requirements for electronic documents (Word, PowerPoint, PDF and Excel); developing and delivering accessibility training (Word, PowerPoint, PDF and Excel); and developing standardized contract language to ensure accessibility is considered for non-IT projects.

L. The quantified cost savings and cost avoidance achieved through implementation of IT programs.

The enterprise architecture segment modernization planning process has enabled line of business segment owners to increase the amount of development, modernization and enhancement funding across the IT portfolio from $45.17 million (10 percent of total IT spending) in FY 10 to $64.63 million (13 percent of total IT spending) in FY 11. The impact of these adjustments is that the Department has increased its spending for performance-improving IT innovations by $19.46 million. An example of the cost avoidance and cost savings that the segment modernization planning process has enabled can be found in our Grants segment. By opting to reuse the Grants Electronic Monitoring System developed by the Office of Postsecondary Education to support grants management operations in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department was able to avoid a onetime $300,000 charge for software development and save $10,000 a year in software licensing costs.

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 04/12/2013