But while people debate and predict what a reauthorized ESEA will bring, the U.S. Department of Education has been steadfastly chugging along. Known as ED, or just the Department (not DOE), it’s the agency that makes sure that, amidst the political bickering, the day-to-day implementation of federal education programs still happens. There’s a serious team of people working to make sure it does. I spoke with Danielle Smith to learn more about what that work actually looks like.
Danielle is a management and program analyst in the newly-formed Office of State Support (OSS). OSS was created to give states one coordinated touch point for the various federal programs in which they participate. Before OSS, Danielle worked in the Implementation Support Unit (ISU), where she managed technical assistance for Race to the Top grantees. Danielle was a program manager at Mass Insight Education before she went to the Department and started her career in education as the director of the Ward 7 Initiative at Georgetown University, which connected university resources with the community and schools to support PK-16 education.
I talked to Danielle about the federal role in education, pushback against Common Core, and an embarrassing photo shoot. Read more below.