N.J. Educators Free to use Diploma Mills

Jason Morris

I guess you can’t technically call this resume fraud? This is a terrible and negligent practice by educators, but isn’t prevented by the NJ Department of Education.  A degree with no academic value gives educators and administrators a nice pay raise.  The only chance of this practice coming back to haunt them is a quality background check when they go to find their next job.

N.J. Educators Free to use Diploma Mills

Taxpayers foot the bill for tuition

By ALAN GUENTHER • Gannett New Jersey • August 17, 2008

Psst . . . Wanna buy a degree from a diploma mill and stick taxpayers with the bill?

If you’re a public school educator, New Jersey won’t stop you.

State Education Commissioner Lucille Davy said she is powerless to prevent local school boards from handing out tax money to administrators who boost their pay by obtaining degrees with little or no academic value.

When it issued a nine-page report last week, the department entered a growing national controversy about the value of online degrees. But instead of announcing tough new standards, the department made only a few suggestions.

“I feel sorry for New Jersey. Here they had an opportunity to step up to the plate, and they opted not to,” said former FBI agent Allen Ezell, who investigated diploma mill fraud for 11 years, then wrote three books on the subject. “I would have thought New Jersey would have had a little more brass than that.”

Freehold Regional High School District became the epicenter of the diploma mill controversy in New Jersey when the superintendent and two top administrators obtained degrees from an online school that has been deemed an “apparent diploma mill” by Alabama officials.

After completing an investigation into the administrators’ degrees, the education department’s report stated there was “no sustainable evidence” that the administrators “possessed the prerequisite intent to deceive when they obtained the degrees” from Breyer State University, which has been chased out of two states and an African country.

The education department report suggested — but did not require — that high school administrators, in the future, earn college degrees from reputable, accredited schools.

None of the three administrators investigated — Superintendent H. James Wasser, Assistant Superintendent Donna Evangelista and recently retired Assistant Superintendent Frank Tanzini — was required to pay back the $10,750 they received in taxpayer money to obtain degrees from Breyer State.

The board gave raises — $2,500 each per year — for their advanced degrees.

More

Follow Me

Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
Follow Me
Tweet
Share
Email
Share