With the 2002 enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA), GAO was mandated to review the Troops-to-Teachers program, which provides financial assistance and counseling to help military personnel obtain their teacher licenses, especially in priority subject areas, such as math and science, and find employment in high-need districts and schools, as well as public charter schools. The U.S. Department of Education oversees the program, which received nearly $15 million in fiscal year 2004. This report identifies (1) the number and characteristics of program participants and factors affecting participation; (2) the recruitment and retention of participants in high-need districts and priority subject areas; and (3) the steps Education has taken to facilitate program management.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Education||1. To assist with the identification of eligible high-need schools and to help direct participants to them, the Secretary of Education should assess the reliability of the data the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) uses to determine a "large percentage" of students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and periodically review existing guidance to ensure that the eligibility threshold related to the IDEA criterion reflects the changing conditions in schools.|
|Department of Education||2. To better link programs that serve the military population and that relate to teacher recruitment and retention overall, the Secretary of Education should consider reconvening teacher policy groups or otherwise developing a plan to coordinate the use of existing departmental resources and staff assigned to monitor similar programs.|
|Department of Education||3. To better exercise its discretion for grant-making to state placement offices and to ensure that budgets are created to reflect success in facilitating teacher placement, the Secretary of Education should consider data that DANTES collects on placement offices' cost per hire ratios, or develop other measures of efficiency, and take action when offices are deemed ineffective at helping participants find employment.|