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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4842 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 473 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 13 of 13 Recommendations, including 1 Priority Recommendations

Indian Education: Schools Need More Assistance to Provide Distance Learning

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should work with Indian Affairs' Office of Information Management Technology to develop and implement written policies and procedures for collecting timely information on BIE-operated schools' technology needs. (Recommendation 2)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. In December 2021, BIE reported that it will work with Indian Affairs' Office of Information Management Technology to develop a uniform policy and procedures for identifying and addressing schools' distance education IT needs. In August 2022, BIE reported that OIMT had taken the lead in developing a program for gathering and assessing information on BIE schools' IT needs. However, BIE did not provide documentation that OIMT had developed written policies and procedures for collecting information on schools' IT needs, as we recommended. We will continue to

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should provide comprehensive guidance to schools on distance learning to ensure they have the information to create and maintain effective distance learning programs during extended school building closures. (Recommendation 1)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. In December 2021, BIE reported that it will work to establish guidance and provide schools with technical assistance to support schools' distance learning programs. In August 2022, BIE reported it took steps to support Bureau-operated schools' access to software systems to facilitate distance learning. However, BIE did not provide documentation it had developed and distributed guidance for all schools, including those operated by tribes, on how to create and maintain effective distance learning programs during school closures, as we recommended. We will

Native American Youth: Agencies Incorporated Almost All Leading Practices When Assessing Grant Programs That Could Prevent or Address Delinquency [Reissued with revisions on Aug. 27, 2020.]

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Education The Director of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Education should develop a process to assess the quality and reliability of a sample of grantee performance data for the Native Language Immersion Cooperative Agreement. (Recommendation 3)
Open

: In April 2021, Interior officials sent GAO the 180-day letter that included a summary of actions taken or planned to implement the recommendations. For this recommendation, the letter stated that the BIE "Performance Office will be tasked with assisting the SIE Office in inventorying, reviewing and improving data collection and analysis. As part of this work, the BIE anticipates that the Native Language Immersion Cooperative Agreement program will develop a process to assess the quality and reliability of data." The letter included an estimated implementation date of September 30, 2022

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Education should take steps to alert grantees of the Native Language Immersion Cooperative Agreement when they are late in submitting performance reports. (Recommendation 2)
Open

In April 2021, Interior officials sent GAO the 180-day letter that included a summary of actions taken or planned to implement the recommendations. For this recommendation, the letter stated, "as the Native Language Immersion Cooperative Agreement program matures and the SIE Office continues to fill critical positions, the BIE anticipates that the issue of timely and regular performance reporting will be addressed." The letter included an estimated implementation date of September 30, 2022. Since the 180-day letter, we have followed up for status updates in November 2021 and April 2022 but are

Indian Education: Actions Needed to Ensure Students with Disabilities Receive Special Education Services

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6 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Education
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Director of BIE should establish consistent requirements for schools on making up missed special education and related services and monitor schools to ensure that they follow these requirements. (Recommendation 1)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. BIE acknowledged that it must refine the guidance provided by its special education subject matter experts to ensure that guidance on missed special education related services is consistent. In May 2021, BIE reported that it planned to implement the recommendation by the end of 2022 but provided no new information on how it would address the recommendation. In January 2022, BIE reported it was developing policy and guidance for schools that would include requirements on making up missed special education and related services. In March 2022, BIE reported

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should work with knowledgeable stakeholders in Indian education to establish a community of practice or other formal mechanism to identify and disseminate promising practices for schools—especially those in remote locations—on recruiting, hiring, and retaining special education teachers and contracting with providers. The Director of BIE could consider conferring with BIE's special education advisory committee, OSEP, and relevant tribal and state education officials in addressing this recommendation. (Recommendation 2)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. The agency plans to work collaboratively with all of its special education stakeholders to build on its internal human capital capabilities, Strategic Workforce Plan and other human capital improvements. In May 2021, BIE reported that it planned to implement the recommendation by the end of 2022 but, as of July 2022, provided no new information on how it would address the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's efforts to implement the recommendation.

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should update the agency's workforce plan to include a strategy and timeframe for filling vacant staff positions responsible for overseeing and supporting schools' special education programs. (Recommendation 4)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation and plans to update and expand its Strategic Workforce plan to include new function areas. They expect to update it in the coming months to include special education and Johnson O'Malley functions. In May 2021, BIE reported that it planned to implement the recommendation by September 30, 2023 but, as of July 2022, provided no new information on how it would address the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's efforts to implement the recommendation.

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should fully implement the agency's high-risk monitoring policy for IDEA and other federal education programs, including requirements for agency-wide coordination, and ensure that schools selected for such monitoring receive reports and technical assistance plans within 30 days of agency on-site visits, as required by BIE policy. (Recommendation 5)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. Based on lessons learned in its first two years of implementation, the agency plans to make targeted refinements to the policy and process of high-risk monitoring. Regarding the timeliness of report submission and technical assistance delivery, the agency began a targeted reform designed to address this structural weakness, namely, the need to centralize the administrative functions of its oversight activities. The newly established Performance Office will assume the administrative and management oversight of the high-risk fiscal monitoring policy and

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should establish special education training requirements for staff in the agency's Education Resource Centers who are responsible for supporting and overseeing schools' special education programs, and ensure that staff complete those training requirements. (Recommendation 6)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. The agency will ensure that special education training and professional development requirements are identified as part of its planned Strategic Workforce Plan update and expansion. In May 2021, BIE reported that it planned to implement the recommendation by September 30, 2023 but as of July 2022, provided no new information on how it would address the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's efforts to implement the recommendation.

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of BIE should take steps to ensure that all of the agency's Education Resource Centers conduct outreach with schools to inform them of their new roles in overseeing and supporting schools' special education programs under BIE's reorganization. (Recommendation 7)
Open

BIE agreed with this recommendation. As BIE makes targeted reforms to improve the delivery of special education services, it will ensure that the roles and responsibilities of Education Resource Centers (ERC) are clearly identified and communicated to responsible BIE personnel. Specifically, as it updates and expands the Strategic Workforce Plan, it will clearly and directly define the role of ERC personnel with respect to special education services. In addition, as the new Performance Office establishes timely and routine technical assistance plans, the agency will operationalize the day-to

Bureau of Indian Education: Actions Needed to Improve Management of a Supplemental Education Program

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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Education The Director of the Bureau of Indian Education, in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as needed, should establish a process to track and monitor the timeliness of JOM disbursements to non-tribal contractors, including identifying a target date for disbursing funds to these contractors. (Recommendation 2)
Open

Interior concurred with this recommendation. The BIE, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and other partners will work collaboratively to publish and implement a policy and procedure that accurately tracks and monitors timely disbursement of JOM funds to these contractors. As of December 2021, BIE has not provided an update on these efforts.

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of the Bureau of Indian Education should develop a timeline to assess the usefulness of the information they are collecting from JOM contractors and update JOM information collection forms, including converting them to an electronic format to reduce the burden on contractors to complete them. (Recommendation 3)
Open

Interior concurred with this recommendation. In November 2021, BIE reported that they have updated a JOM form used to collect information on how many students JOM contractors serve. The agency did not provide an update on their progress in developing a timeline to assess the usefulness of other information they are collecting from contractors. We will continue to monitor the progress of this effort.

Bureau of Indian Education The Director of the Bureau of Indian Education should clearly define the roles and responsibilities and identify the staff necessary for conducting critical JOM functions, including administering contracts, reviewing the appropriateness of contract types, and overseeing those contractors that are subject to BIE oversight. (Recommendation 5)
Open

Interior concurred with this recommendation. The BIE, BIA and other partners plan to work collaboratively to develop an inter-bureau policy that clearly identifies each agency's roles and responsibilities. They are also developing a data-informed workforce analysis for the JOM program. They will continue to develop and implement a data-informed workforce strategy to identify human capital needs and clearly identify and assign critical JOM-related functions among BIE divisions, offices and staff. In November 2021, BIE reported that they are working on completing a JOM policy handbook that will

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For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.