Observations on Management of Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

T-HRD-89-34: Published: Sep 7, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 1989.

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GAO discussed its management audit of the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), focusing on OSERS managers' and senior staff's and state special education and rehabilitative services directors' responses to a questionnaire concerning OSERS activities. GAO noted that: (1) OSERS managers and senior staff believed that the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services ineffectively established OSERS-wide goals, coordinated activities among OSERS components, and responded to senior officials', regional offices', and constituents' concerns; (2) OSERS components generally developed operational plans to support anticipated budget expenditures rather than multi-year strategic plans which could result in more effective organizational management and assessment; (3) excessive staff vacancies, staff in acting positions, and lack of appropriate training negatively affected OSERS ability to achieve program goals and objectives; (4) OSERS officials with grant responsibilities believed that such factors as limited staff resources and travel funds contributed to serious problems in evaluating and monitoring discretionary and formula grant performance; and (5) state directors were critical of OSERS program monitoring, national goal-setting, and limited technical assistance.

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