Yesterday, a Daily Caller story cited an internal GAO self-evaluation document that catalogued what went wrong during the development of the GAO’s report on the career college sector.
Later in the day, Senator Harkin, who requested the original GAO report, that was later heavily revised, released what appears to be the internal GAO document reference in Daily Caller story.
The e-mail, which Senator Harkin’s office describes as coming "from one member of GAO’s FSI team to another", demonstrates the rushed, haphazard and flawed process through which the original GAO report was developed. It also suggests that additional documents exist and that they may provide clarity on the process through which the GAO report was developed.
Despite Senator Harkin’s attempts to spin the internal GAO document in a favorable light for him and GAO, the document is a complete condemnation of the process through which the GAO report was developed.
Below are 11 direct quotes from the internal GAO document. Particularly appalling is the admission in the document that, “because a summary of X of 15 schools was requested, we then went back and stretched whatever we could find to come up with a number for the testimony.
This was done in haste and is where most of our corrections come from.” Repeatedly the term “15 out of 15 schools” has been cited as justification for the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment regulation, as well as referenced in media coverage and editorials, and used as the basis of legal action by state Attorneys General. It is now clear that “15 out of 15” was manufactured by stretching whatever the GAO could find.
The full memo, released by Senator Harkin, is available online: http://ed-success.org/pdf/FSImemo.pdf
About the Coalition for Educational Success
The Coalition for Educational Success includes many of the nation’s leading career colleges, serving more than 350,000 students at 478 campuses in 41 states. Career colleges provide training for students in 17 of the 20 fastest growing fields. The Coalition advocates for policies that support wider access to higher education, particularly for non-traditional students including full-time workers, workforce returners, working parents, minorities and veterans.