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Senate Committee: Improve Management of IT Projects<@VM>House Democrats Kill Science, Math Education Bill

Financial management, IT resources and security and data integration top the list of management challenges most often cited by agency inspectors general, according to a new report by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

In its report, the committee chaired by Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., recommended that the Office of Management and Budget clarify and strengthen enforcement of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1994, especially in the area of agency developing and reporting performance goals and measures.

Goals for major management challenges also should be incorporated into the performance agreements of agency leaders and program managers, according to the report, released in October.

"The success of the results act and performance-based management in federal agencies depends in large part on the extent to which agency officials and employees understand the goals set forth by the agency and are held accountable for achieving them," the committee wrote in its report.

The committee also wants the inspectors general and the General Accounting Office to follow up more on the recommendations they make to the agencies. A science and math education bill that sailed out of committee with bipartisan, unanimous vote died on the House floor after some its Democratic sponsors voted against it.

The National Science Education Act would have created a program to provide grants to state and local educational agencies and private schools for hiring science or math master teachers to lead instruction and manage hands-on resources in grades K-12. The National Science Foundation would have administered the program.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., but had 48 sponsors among the Democrats in the house. But as the bill neared a vote, many Democrats questioned whether it was constitutional to include private schools in the program.

The House voted 215-156 to approve the bill, but since it was being considered under suspension of House rules, a two-thirds vote was needed for passage. Fifteen Republicans joined 110 Democrats and one independent in voting against the bill.

"Opponents of the National Science Education Act apparently would rather not help any school kids rather than allow students whose parents decide to send them to private schools to benefit from better science and math education," said House Science Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis.

? Nick Wakeman

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