Department of Education:

Information Needs Are at the Core of Management Challenges Facing the Department

T-HEHS-98-124: Published: Mar 24, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 1998.

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Carlotta C. Joyner
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GAO discussed the challenges the Department of Education faces in carrying out its mission efficiently and effectively and in improving its accountability for the results of its efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) while the Department has developed and submitted to Congress its 5-year strategic plan and 1999 performance plan as required by the Government Performance and Results Act, much additional work needs to be done; (2) GAO's work indicates that the Department's management has three major challenges: (a) with respect to preschool, elementary, and secondary education area, the need to balance the competing objectives of collecting uniform program information to assess performance while giving states and localities the flexibility to implement their unique programs; (b) primarily in the preschool, elementary, and secondary education area, the difficulty of assessing overall effectiveness of similar education programs that are scattered among multiple agencies and departments; and (c) problems associated with the Department's ability to collect, maintain, and use reliable information on its postsecondary programs to protect the federal government's financial interests; (3) in GAO's view, the Results Act provides a framework for Education to address these challenges; and (4) moreover, the extent of its success in overcoming these challenges will in turn determine its success in implementing the requirements of the Results Act.

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