The Department of Education is administered by the United States Secretary of Education. It has approximately 4,400 employees and an annual budget of $68 billion (2016). Its official abbreviation is "ED" ("DOE" refers to the United States Department of Energy) and is also often abbreviated informally as "DoEd".
The primary functions of the Department of Education are to "establish policy for, administer and coordinate most federal assistance to education, collect data on US schools, and to enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights." The Department of Education does not establish schools or colleges.
Unlike the systems of most other countries, education in the United States is highly decentralized, and the federal government and Department of Education are not heavily involved in determining curricula or educational standards (with the recent exception of the No Child Left Behind Act). This has been left to state and local school districts. The quality of educational institutions and their degrees is maintained through an informal private process known as accreditation, over which the Department of Education has no direct public jurisdictional control.
The Department of Education is a member of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, and works with federal partners to ensure proper education for homeless and runaway youth in the United States.
Opposition to the Department of Education mainly stems from conservatives, who see the department as an undermining of states rights, and libertarians who believe it results in a state-imposed leveling towards the bottom and low value for taxpayers' money.