Teacher Training:

Over $1.5 Billion Federal Funds Invested in Many Programs

T-HEHS-99-117: Published: May 5, 1999. Publicly Released: May 5, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its work concerning federally funded teacher training programs, focusing on the: (1) number of agencies and the programs they administer that support teacher training, along with some general characteristics of these programs; and (2) funding provided by these programs.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO's preliminary results indicate that 13 agencies administer 87 programs, which support teacher training to varying degrees; (2) the Department of Education administers the majority of these programs; (3) the programs support training in a variety of ways, including paying for training-related materials, such as books on teaching strategies, and teachers' travel expenses associated with attending conferences; (4) federal funding for teacher training is estimated to exceed $1.5 billion during fiscal year 1999; (5) Education's programs account for 86 percent of total funding; (6) over $579 million will be provided by programs that agencies classified as focusing exclusively on supporting teacher training; (7) about $933 million will be provided by programs that agencies classified as supporting teacher training to a significant degree; (8) for example, according to Education, teacher training is an important activity of the title I program, but the program's primary purpose is broader--to provide services to educationally disadvantaged children; (9) funding estimates are generally unavailable for programs where teacher training is an allowable but not a significant activity; (10) the number and diverse nature of programs--as well as the number of agencies responsible for administering them--create challenges in determining whether the programs are achieving national goals; (11) coordination among programs and agencies as well as the conduct of program evaluations are essential, given the diversity of existing programs; (12) the Government Performance and Results Act can provide a structured approach to such coordination and evaluation activities and help measure progress toward achieving national goals; and (13) agencies' annual performance plans can provide important information on how agencies are tracking and evaluating program results.

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