School & District Management

Ed. Dept. Chided on Oversight of i3 Winners

By Michele McNeil — March 05, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In its effort to track implementation of programs funded by the 2009 economic-stimulus package, the U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general has reported potential problems with federal oversight of Investing in Innovation grants.

Auditors specifically questioned whether the Education Department held some grant recipients—including Teach For America and Johns Hopkins University, which got $50 million and $30 million, respectively—accountable for delays in responding to various requests. And they questioned whether the department’s office of innovation and improvement could handle an increased workload.

That said, the auditors praised the office and its program officers overall for regularly engaging with and monitoring the winners—which were collectively awarded $650 million in 2010.

Department officials responded to the auditors, according to the report, by maintaining that the program officers were in constant communication with grant recipients over delays and did not find the delays to be significant. The department, however, said it would standardize its response to delays and provide more clear documentation about them in grant files.

The audit did not examine how i3 grant recipients used their money, but how the department is doing handling implementation and oversight.

Each of the department’s nine program officers handles eight grants, and an office of innovation and improvement official said that’s about the maximum that the officers can handle. The auditors raised red flags about any future grant competitions (and department officials said they would pay close attention to workload issues).

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was asked more generally about department capacity during a round-table discussion with national reporters last week. The department’s portfolio of grants is quite extensive, from i3 to Race to the Top to Promise Neighborhoods. And that’s not counting the monitoring of waivers granted to states from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Mr. Duncan seemed to deflect discussion of oversight capacity, instead taking the opportunity to warn about the potential impact on the department from the continuing federal budget crisis.

A version of this article appeared in the March 06, 2013 edition of Education Week as Ed. Dept. Chided on ‘i3' Oversight

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion ‘This Is Not What We Signed Up For’: A Principal’s Plea for More Support
School leaders are playing the role of health-care experts, social workers, mask enforcers, and more. It’s taking a serious toll.
Kristen St. Germain
3 min read
Illustration of a professional woman walking a tightrope.
Laura Baker/Education Week and uzenzen/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Letter to the Editor Educators Must Look to History When They Advocate for Changes
Educators and policymakers must be aware of the history of ideas when making changes in education, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Letter to the Editor Reconsidering Causes of Principal Burnout
The state and federal governments are asking us to implement policies that often go against our beliefs, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management From Our Research Center Just How Widespread Are the Threats to Educators Over COVID Policies?
An EdWeek Research Center survey asked district and school leaders if they, or anyone on their staff, had faced threats.

3 min read
Seminole County, Fla., deputies remove a parent from a school board meeting during a heated discussion about mask mandates in September.
Seminole County, Fla., deputies remove a parent from a school board meeting during a heated discussion about mask mandates in September.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP