Department of Education seeks tweeted feedback

Have something you’d like to say to the Department of Education? Tweet it – perhaps during one of their Twitter Town Hall meetings.

One of the DOE’s initiatives are these regular meetings, at which the D.O.E asks Twitter users to send their questions relating to the meeting’s topic.

During the week of February 6, for example, Twitter users sent questions to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about education issues in the Latino community, using the hashtag #HispanicEd. Then, staff searched the tagged tweets for common themes and topics and selected about 20 questions. The chosen questions were answered by Duncan and José Rico, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, via Twitter and through a streaming video.

The goal of the initative is not to drive policy, but rather to gauge the public’s opinions on education policy, as well as to encourage teachers, administrators, parents, and students to play a more active role in the nation’s education system.

“We’ve found Twitter to be a really effective mode for two-way communication—where it’s not just [the Department of Education] putting out a press release or statement, but … something that’s soliciting feedback from everyone—teachers, students, [and] parents,” D.O.E. deputy press secretary Daren Briscoe told

“One of the good things about Twitter is that it’s instantaneous,” Briscoe said. “You don’t have to wonder what people are thinking. They’re able to reach out in real time and respond to what we’re putting out there.”