Back to the Background Check
August 26, 2008
Another story about schools failing our children by not conducting proper background checks.
By Eric Ringham
Every once in a while, you see a mistake repeated often enough that you wonder whether there’s business opportunity at hand. Case in point: a Sunday Star Tribune story by Jim Walsh and Patrice Relerford about yet another executive whose personal information went unchecked before hiring.
This situation involves the administrator who is the focus of an investigation into $160,000 missing from a Minneapolis charter school. Joel Pourier signed on six years ago to be the finance director at Heart of the Earth/Oh Day Aki charter school. He had been an unlicensed math teacher at another school — a situation that begs another set of questions. But he told a Heart of the Earth staffer he had an MBA, with an emphasis in finance. He was hired, then promoted to executive director. No one bothered to see if he really had an MBA from Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb. — which would have taken a simple phone call to the school. No one verified two other false claims: that he had a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Schenectady County Community College in New York, or an associate’s degree from a Kansas school. The bachelor’s degree claim alone should have been a red flag: a two-year college had a granted a four-year degree? Possible, but unusual.
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