What Doesn’t Work

Published December 1, 2000

The U.S. Department of Education was identified nearly a decade ago, in 1993, as a troubled agency in need of significant reform. Yet problems continue to riddle the agency, according the October 2000 Crossroads 2000 report from the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee.

The report highlights egregious examples of dubious management at the department and discusses the conditions that allow them to proliferate. The report includes extensive evidence of waste, fraud, and abuse, as well as several accounts of regrettable, damaging, and embarrassing incidents resulting from bad management:

  • A department contractor erroneously sent notices to graduate fellowship applicants informing them they had won the awards when in fact they had not.
  • A “Mars Millennium Project,” inviting students to imagine and design a village on Mars, was staffed by six full-time employees at the Office of the First Lady, at a cost of $2.7 million.
  • Some 3.5 million incorrect financial aid forms were mailed, costing $720,000 to correct and resend.