The watershed for the new direction of reform came with publication of A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, the report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCE), a blue-ribbon commission appointed by President Ronald Reagan's secretary of education, Terrel H. Bell. Carter had created the Department of Education (DOE) as a cabinet-level department with the purpose of giving public education a more prominent position in the nation's agenda. The Reagan administration's domestic policy goals were to reduce the federal budget deficit, attack inflation, cut taxes, and decentralize and deregulate a wide array of federal social programs. The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest and most powerful teachers union, was one of the first groups to criticize the report, and viewed it as an attack on teachers and public schools.