The New York State Education Department is a part of the University of the State of New York, which is one of the most interconnected educational service systems in the United States. The department is responsible for increasing knowledge and skills and providing educational and career opportunities for the state's citizens. It operates through several divisions that are under the direction of the Commissioner of Education. The New York State Education Department's elementary, middle, secondary and continuing education division oversees pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educational programs, as well as maintains learning and curriculum standards. Its higher education division is responsible for the supervision of colleges, universities and proprietary schools. Additionally, the department functions through various offices, including cultural education, innovation, and operations and management services.