Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Over at South Bronx School there's been a series of pieces featuring what a cursory Google search would indicate to be a diploma mill doctor with some exalted title or other in the DoE. This person, apparently, not only observes teachers in NYC, but helps rate them unsatisfactory. Were I holding a dubious degree like that, I'd probably sing their praises, wear a floppy hat and dark glasses, and hope for the best.

Things that seem too good to be true usually are, and it's tough to imagine being taken in by an outfit offering a bogus degree. How often do you get spammed by diploma mills? I've seen things in my inbox for years offering me degrees by mail. I've yet to respond, having already frittered away thousands of dollars and countless hours on a master's. Who knows? Perhaps I could've gotten an equally practical diploma simply by opening the right box of Captain Crunch.

The other problem, for me at least, is I've never had much ambition to get that PhD or whatever. NYC doesn't pay teachers for doctoral degrees, and prestigious though they are, it hardly seems worth chasing the title unless you want to become superintendent or a college professor. I'd just as soon work for a living.

It gives you pause, though--if the need for advanced degrees leads to this sort of thing, what sorts of fresh corruption would merit pay bring?

I'll never forget walking in on a former supervisor and seeing her erasing and correcting a stack of standardized tests. After all, how else could she show what a great job she was doing? As Arne Duncan, Al Sharpton, and Newt Gingrich traipse around the country demanding higher test scores, you have to wonder just what new and innovative shortcuts people will devise to achieve them.
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