The Department of Education should take steps to monitor whether federal money is getting disbursed to charter schools quickly and ensure that the funds are being used effectively, the Government Accountability Office recommends.
The full report, “Charter Schools: To Enhance Education’s Monitoring and Research, More Charter School-Level Data Are Needed,” is available online, as well as highlightsof the report. ()
Among other recommendations in its Jan. 13 report, the investigative arm of Congress says the department should require states receiving money through the federal charter school program to provide more details on how the money is being used.
The program, which received $217 million in the fiscal 2005 federal budget, provides start-up funding for the independently run public schools.
But the GAO says that the Education Department does not require states to say how many schools the money has been used to launch. In the department’s response to the report, outgoing Deputy Secretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok said the agency would start directing states to provide that information.
The GAO report also calls on the department to expand an upcoming federal study of charter school performance to analyze how student achievement is affected by the type of entity that authorized the schools and what those authorizers did to oversee them. Mr. Hickok said the department would examine whether to expand the study in that way.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week