What We Do


The Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) is a strategically designed group of program offices, each serving specific education constituencies with grants, services and information. More than 20 competitive grant programs are administered by five program offices. Additionally, OII also serves as the Department’s liaison and resource to the nonpublic education and military communities through the Office of Non-Public Education and Military Affairs. Lastly, OII is home to ED’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives team.

Students raising hands

Office of Education Innovation Programs

The Office of Education Innovation Programs administers four grant programs:

Student at computer

Parental Options and Improvement

The Office of Parental Options and Improvement (POI) oversees activities that support arts education and alternatives in education including full-service community schools, magnet schools, and public school choice. It also supports community organizations that work with schools and the community to meaningfully engage parents in their children’s education. The Office is responsible for:

Charter Schools Programs

The Charter School Programs (CSP) supports the creation and development of a large number of high-quality charter schools that are free from State or local rules that inhibit flexible operation, are held accountable for enabling students to reach challenging State performance standards, and are open to all students. The purpose of the CSP is to increase national understanding of the charter schools model and to expand the number of high quality charter schools available to students across the nation by planning, program design, and initial implementation of public charter schools; evaluation of the effects of charter schools; and dissemination of information about charter schools and successful practices in charter schools. The Office is responsible for:

Office of Non-Public Education

Liaison to the non-public school community for the U.S. Department of Education

ONPE Mission and Activities

The Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE) fosters maximum participation of non-public school students and teachers in federal education programs and initiatives. Since the initial passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965, private school students and teachers have been eligible to participate in certain federal education programs. ONPE’s activities reflect this mission and direction by:

  • Representing the U.S. Department of Education to the non-public school community;
  • Offering advice and guidance within the Department on all matters affecting non-public education;
  • Communicating with national, state and local education agencies and associations on non-public education topics;
  • Communicating the interests and concerns of the non-public school community to the Department;
  • Providing parents with information regarding education options for their children; and
  • Providing technical assistance, workshops and publications.

Teacher Quality Programs

Teacher and Principal Quality Programs (TQP) oversees activities that support and test innovations in the area of teacher and principal recruitment preparation, and professional development. It has lead responsibility for the following discretionary programs: