After the politically tumultuous and scandal-plagued 1970s, Congress passed the Inspector General Act of 1978, which created an independent investigative office in all 12 major federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education. The mission of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to “promote the efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity of the [Education] Department’s programs and operations.” It primarily fulfills that mission as an investigative body and completes about 25 audits and 250–300 investigations each year. Not every investigation leads to criminal charges, though; many OIG reviews are focused on ensuring accurate data reporting and efficient fidelity to the goals of federal programs. To learn more about what the OIG is and how it works, read “Inspecting the Inspector General” by Jason D. Delisle and Nat Malkus on

—Education Next

Last updated June 22, 2018