Many teachers would say, “And that rhymes with eww!” in reaction to the announcement that the executive branch of the federal government proposes to merge the Departments of Education and Labor into a single department to be known as the Department of Education and Workforce.
Today I don’t want to opine about the consolidation move, but to note that it is part of a greater effort to reorganize government. I am reading through the report, but for a start, quoting from the report, these are the proposals:
MISSION ALIGNMENT IMPERATIVES A. Organizational Realignments to Enhance Mission and Service Delivery
1. Merge the Departments of Education and Labor into a single Cabinet agency, the Department of Education and the Workforce, charged with meeting the needs of American students and workers from education and skill development to workplace protection to retirement security. As part of the merger, the Administration also proposes significant Government-wide workforce development program consolidations, streamlining separate programs in order to increase efficiencies and better serve American workers.
2. Move the non-commodity nutrition assistance programs currently in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service into the Department of Health and Human Services—which will be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare.
Also, establish a Council on Public Assistance, comprised of all agencies that administer public benefits, with statutory authority to set cross-program policies including uniform work requirements.
3. Move the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works out of the Department of Defense (DOD) to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of the Interior (DOI) to consolidate and align the Corps’ civil works missions with these agencies.
4. Reorganize the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the food safety functions of HHS’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into a single agency within USDA that would cover virtually all the foods Americans eat.
5. Move USDA’s rural housing loan guarantee and rental assistance programs to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allowing both agencies to focus on their core missions and, over time, further align the Federal Government’s role in housing policy.
6. Merge the Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) National Marine Fisheries Service with DOI’s Fish and Wildlife Service. This merger would consolidate the administration of the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act in one agency and combine the Services’ science and management capacity, resulting in more consistent Federal fisheries and wildlife policy and improved service to stakeholders and the public, particularly on infrastructure permitting.
7. Consolidate portions of DOI’s Central Hazardous Materials Program and USDA’s Hazardous Materials Management program into the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund program. This consolidation would allow EPA to address environmental cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA) on Federal land regardless of which of these agencies manages the land, while DOI and USDA would maintain their existing environmental compliance, bonding, and reclamation programs for non-CERCLA sites.
8. Optimize Department of State (State) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) humanitarian assistance to eliminate duplication of efforts and fragmentation of decision-making. A specific reorganization proposal will be submitted by State and USAID to OMB as part of their FY 2020 Budget request to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal Government’s humanitarian assistance across State and USAID, establish unity of voice and policy, and optimize outreach to other donors to increase burden-sharing and drive reform at the UN and in multilateral humanitarian policy.
9. Consolidate the U.S. Government’s development finance tools, such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Development Credit Authority (DCA) of USAID, into a new Development Finance Institution in a reformed and modernized way to leverage more private- sector investment, provide strong alternatives to state-directed initiatives, create more innovative vehicles to open and expand markets for U.S. firms, and enhance protections for U.S. taxpayers.
10. Transform USAID through an extensive, agency-driven structural reorganization of headquarters Bureaus and Independent Offices as a foundational component of USAID’s overall plans to better advance partner countries’ self-reliance, support U.S. national security, and ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of foreign assistance.
11. Move the policy function of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) into the Executive Office of the President, and elevate its core strategic mission while devolving certain operational activities –
the delivery of various fee-for-service human resources, IT services, and background investigations – to other Federal entities better aligned to provide non-strategic transaction processing services that meet 21st Century needs. This new structure would better accommodate an overhaul of the Federal civil service statutory and regulatory framework.
12. Transfer responsibility for perpetual care and operation of select military and veteran cemeteries located on DOD installations to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration. This transfer assures these cemeteries will be maintained to national shrine standards to continue the recognition of service of those interred therein, gains efficiencies, and limits mission overlap based on a common-sense approach to good government.
13. Reorganize the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics under Commerce to increase cost-effectiveness and improve data quality while simultaneously reducing respondent burden on businesses and the public. Together, these three agencies account for 53 percent of the U.S. Statistical System’s annual budget of $2.26 billion and share unique synergies in their collection of economic and demographic data and analysis of key national indicators.
14. Consolidate the Department of Energy’s (DOE) applied energy programs into a new Office of Energy Innovation in order to maximize the benefits of energy research and development and to enable quicker adaptation to the Nation’s changing energy technology needs.
B. Changes to Refocus, Reduce, or Expand the Mission
15. Devolution of Activities from the Federal Government a) Sell the transmission assets owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Power Marketing Administrations within DOE, including those of Southwestern Power Administration, Western Area Power Administration, and Bonneville Power Administration, to encourage a more efficient allocation of economic resources and mitigate unnecessary risk to taxpayers.
b) Restructure the U.S. Postal System to return it to a sustainable business model or prepare it for future conversion from a Government agency into a privately-held corporation. The President’s Task Force on the United States Postal System will make recommendations on reforms towards this goal in August 2018.
c) Reorganize DOT to better align the agency’s core missions and programmatic responsibilities, reduce transportation program fragmentation across the Government, and improve outcomes. Changes would include spinning off Federal responsibility for operating air traffic control services, integrating into DOT certain coastal and inland waterways commercial navigation activities and transportation security programs, and reassessing the structure and responsibilities of DOT’s Office of the Secretary.
16. Transform the way the Federal Government delivers support for the U.S. housing finance system to ensure more transparency and accountability to taxpayers, and to minimize the risk of taxpayer-funded bailouts, while maintaining responsible and sustainable support for homeowners. Proposed changes, which would require broader policy and legislative reforms beyond restructuring Federal agencies and programs, include ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reducing their role in the housing market, and providing an explicit, limited Federal backstop that is on-budget and apart from the Federal support for low- and moderate-income homebuyers.
17. Rethink how the Federal Government can drive economic growth in concert with private-sector investments in communities across the Nation by coordinating and consolidating Federal economic assistance resources into a Bureau of Economic Growth at Commerce, producing a higher return on taxpayer investment on projects that are transparent and accountable.
18. Transform the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps into a leaner and more efficient organization that is better prepared to respond to public health emergencies and provide vital health services, including by reducing the size of the Corps and building up a Reserve Corps for response in public health emergencies.
MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT AND EFFICIENCY OPPORTUNITIES 19. Establish an accelerated process for determining whether one or more of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Centers should be converted to, or host, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). FFRDCs can potentially allow the agency to be more agile in rapidly responding to changing needs and in recruiting and retaining scientific and technical expertise.
20. Consolidate the administration of graduate fellowships for multiple Federal agencies under the National Science Foundation in order to reduce the total cost of administering those fellowships.
21. Optimize the Federal real property footprint by making smart investments in renovations and new facilities, driving down lease costs, and disposing of unneeded real estate through a streamlined process that results in the greatest return to the taxpayer.
22. Consolidate and streamline financial education and literacy programs currently operating across more than 20 Federal agencies to ensure effective allocation of Federal financial literacy resources and avoid unneeded overlap and duplication.
23. Strengthen the Small Business Administration (SBA) as the voice of small business within the Government by consolidating small business focused guaranteed lending and Federal contracting certification programs at SBA.
24. Consolidate protective details at certain civilian Executive Branch agencies under the U.S. Marshals Service in order to more effectively and efficiently monitor and respond to potential threats. Threat assessments would be conducted with support from the U.S. Secret Service.
25. Consolidate the small grants functions, expertise, and grantmaking from the Inter-American Foundation and U.S. African Development Foundation into USAID beginning in FY 2019. The consolidation would be a significant step to reduce the proliferation of Federal international affairs agencies that are operating today, while also elevating community-led, “local works” small grants as a development and diplomacy tool for the U.S. Government.
26. Transition Federal agencies’ business processes and recordkeeping to a fully electronic environment, and end the National Archives and Records Administration’s acceptance of paper records by December 31, 2022. This would improve agencies’ efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness to citizens by converting paper-based processes to electronic workflows, expanding online services, and enhancing management of Government records, data, and information.
TRANSFORMATION URGENCY – NEW CAPABILITY REQUIREMENTS 27. Transform the way Americans interact with the Federal Government by establishing a Government-wide customer experience improvement capability to partner with Federal agencies to help them provide a modern, streamlined, and customer-centric experience for citizens, businesses, and other customers, comparable to leading private- sector organizations.
28. Pursue a Next Generation (Next Gen) Financial Services Environment as a new approach to Federal Student Aid (FSA) processing and servicing with a modernized, innovative, and integrated architecture. Next Gen will save taxpayers millions of dollars and will create an improved, world-class customer experience for FSA’s more than 42 million customers, while creating a more agile and streamlined operating model.
29. Solve the Federal cybersecurity workforce shortage by establishing a unified cyber workforce capability across the civilian enterprise, working through DHS and OMB in coordination with all Federal departments and agencies. The Administration will work towards a standardized approach to Federal cybersecurity personnel, ensuring Government-wide visibility into talent gaps, as well as unified solutions to fill those gaps in a timely and prioritized manner.
30. Establish a Government Effectiveness Advanced Research (GEAR) Center as a public-private partnership to help the Government respond to innovative technologies, business practices, and research findings that present opportunities to improve mission delivery, services to citizens, and stewardship of public resources.
31. Transfer the National Background Investigations Bureau from OPM to DOD, providing the opportunity to achieve an efficient, effective, fiscally viable, and secure operation that meets all agencies’ needs.
32. Expand upon existing agency evaluation capabilities and push agencies to adopt stronger practices that would generate more evidence about what works and what needs improvement in order to inform mission-critical decisions and policies. These changes will help to address the large gaps and inconsistencies across Government in Federal agencies’ ability to formally evaluate their programs.
There is much to digest. If you want to look at the entire report, here is the link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Government-Reform-and-Reorg-Plan.pdf
While this extends beyond education, more than one proposal affects children in schools and so, at times, it is appropriate for sites devoted to educational issues to take a broader look.