Multiple Teacher Training Programs

Information on Budgets, Services, and Target Groups Gao ID: HEHS-95-71FS February 22, 1995

As employment in the United States changes from low-skilled assembly work to occupations that require management of complex tasks and continual updating of job skills, schools and teachers are increasingly responsible for teaching students to learn and think critically. Congress has created many teacher-training programs that fund preservice (preparation for teaching) and in-service (continuing professional training for teachers) educational activities for the nation's teachers. Each program was created to meet a specific need; however, collectively they constitute a patchwork of programs that may not make the most efficient use of resources. This fact sheet discusses (1) the total number of federally funded teacher-training programs (excluding student loans and grants that could be used for teacher training), (2) total budget obligations for teacher-training programs, (3) the number of teachers trained by the programs, and (4) differences in services across the programs.

GAO found that: (1) in fiscal year (FY) 1993, the federal government funded at least 86 teacher training programs in nine federal agencies and departments; (2) 42 programs obligated $280 million for teacher training activities for over one million teachers in FY 1993; (3) the 42 programs funded services such as conferences, teacher salaries, travel, and materials; (4) while services were similar for many teacher training programs, target groups differed; and (5) the purposes of the teacher training programs and the mix of services provided to teachers varied widely.

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