"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Archive for September, 2007

Angelina Jolie Promotes Distance Learning for Displaced Children

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Angelina Jolie, actress and humanitarian, has announced that a new partnership between UNICEF, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and IRC will provide distance learning and other educational solutions to displaced children of the conflicts in Iraq, Palestine, and Darfur.

Jolie spoke at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on behalf of the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. She stated that over 4,000,000 people have been displaced by recent world conflicts and that the education needs of refugee children should be addressed.

The Clinton Global Initiative, a non-profit, non-partisan organization formed in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, has over 1,000 members who are committed to finding, funding and acting upon solutions for significant global problems.  Targeted areas of concern include the alleviation of poverty and hunger in the world, global health concerns like malnutrition and inadequate drinking water,  the protection of the environment against global warming and education for children in developing countries.

Angela Jolie, the significant other of Brad Pitt,  has adopted children from third-world countries and continues to publicize the plight of children in war-torn areas of the world.

distance learning, Angela Jolie, Clinton Global Initiative, education, refugee_children, Brad Pitt, Darfur, UNICEF

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Harvard and the University of Phoenix: Common Ground

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Believe it or not, there still remain a few folks who are blind to the value of distance learning.

When someone mentions the University of Phoenix within earshot, they begin their tirade against online schools.  Never mind that the University of Phoenix is the largest university in the United States, with over 300,000 students on 250 campuses, or that employers widely recommend it.

The naysayers also blatantly ignore the abundance of traditional universities that have poured millions of dollars into state-of-the-art distance education to compete for students who are tech savvy and who are enrolling in online classes in droves.

For example, Harvard Extension School — the continuing education arm of Harvard University — just spent over $1 million to fit its new distance education production facility with the latest in technical equipment. These new technological tools allow online students to view on-campus lectures in real time and to participate in the classes.

Armed with the finest distance learning technology, Harvard Extension School utilizes its facilities to serve on-campus Harvard students as well as several hundred online students. Over 100 courses are offered via computer, with sophisticated video streaming, two-way video conferencing and studio-quality audio raising the bar in educational excellence.

US News & World Report just ranked prestigious Harvard University as #2 among America’s Best Colleges of 2008. And e-learning is important enough for Harvard to invest over $1 million more in its distance learning program.

Online colleges, like the University of Phoenix, have invested their millions in distance learning technology in order to offer online college degrees that can be completely solely via computer.

To the naysayers of online education, I will let those facts speak for themselves.

distance learning, University of Phoenix, online schools, Harvard, online classes, distance education, online students, e-learning, online degrees

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Math and Reading Scores of U.S. Students are Up

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Math and reading scores among 4th and 8th grade students across the U.S. have increased, according to a report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Although most gains were small, the National Assessment of Educational Progress report confirmed that the additional directives aimed at schools via No Child Left Behind are producing positive results. The largest gains among test scores appear to be among the lower-performing students.

Still, controversy has already begun to surround the discussion of the NCES results, which were released to the public today. Some feel that the gains were too small to justify the huge federal expenditures that have been earmarked to improve the test scores of America’s students. Others are concerned that a significant number of teachers in the classroom focus only material that may matter on the tests. And still others ruminate on the cheating that has taken place by an increasing number of schools and teachers who are motivated by either incentives offered or by the consequences of not meeting the standards and test scores that are required according to No Child Left Behind.

Of course, there is still a long way to go; and a great divide continues to exist between schools in non-Asian minority and economically disadvantaged communities as compared to the abundance of resources and funding that exists in wealthier neighborhood schools. Schools that are predominantly non-Asian minority are more likely to receive less qualified teachers and fewer educational resources, according to the National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future. Until all of the issues surrounding these and other inequities are addressed, there is little hope that every young student in America will receive a quality education.

Homeschooling and online schools have improved education choices for some parents and students; but others are unable or unwilling to travel this educational route. They are dependent upon the education system to make things right.

Remember, the issue of education affects all communities. Those who are uneducated or poorly educated are more likely to require public assistance, commit crimes and abuse drugs. Families and children who are affected by any of these situations continue to perpetuate similar behavior and are less likely to attend college.

It is great that test scores have improved; but let’s not rest on our laurels. Legislators need to dig deeper and work toward equality in education for all students.

online schools, education, students, math and reading, test scores, schools, No Child Left Behind, college

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Presidential Candidate John Edwards Outlines New Education Reform Plan

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Presidential candidate John Edwards has outlined a sweeping education plan he calls, “Restoring the Promise of America’s Schools”.

The highlights of the plan include:

  • a radical overhaul of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation,
  • an expansion of early education programs to prepare children for success in school,
  • an investment of substantial funds into teachers’ training and salaries,
  • the establishment of a ‘School Success Fund’ to help struggling schools.

Edwards emphasized that poor and rural schools would be of the highest priority in these broad education reforms, with the goal being that children from 4 years of age and older would receive a quality education in excellent schools from the best teachers. He has also proposed initiatives to provide adequate health care to children and to make college affordable for the majority of students.

Read more about John Edwards’ education plan.

John Edwards, Restoring the Promise, education, No Child Left Behind, children, schools, teachers, teacher training, college, education reform

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Three Federal Agencies Help Employers Uncover Bogus Workplace Credentials

Friday, September 21st, 2007

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Education (DOE) have joined their voices in warning employers to use all available resources to detect diploma mill fraud in the hiring of new employees.

These 3 agencies also advise employers to verify the credentials of employees who have been promoted or are being considered for positions of authority and responsibility, whether in small businesses, medium companies or large corporations. Accredited online degrees should be distinguished from fake online diplomas purchased from websites.

Potential damage to businesses, to other employees and to clients is a real concern and should not be minimized. Dishonest, unqualified personnel leave the employer and the company wide open to scandal, lawsuits and subsequent financial ruin. Once the credibility of a company or its product has been compromised, it could take years to rebuild it.

The Federal Trade Commission’s aim is to prevent ”fraudulent, deceptive and unfair practices in the workplace”. They provide helpful information to employers about how to detect and uncover fake college degrees. The FTC also enters fraud-related complaints into a database that is available to hundreds of U.S. and international law enforcement agencies. Resources for employers also include information on how businesses can comply with the law.

In 2004, the Office of Personnel Management found several employees of its own who were hired based on fake college degrees. Subsequently, they hired additional personnel to handle background checks and to verify the college education and credentials of job candidates. Their website provides information about current jobs (including federal jobs), salaries, benefits, government retirees and veterans.

The Department of Education provides information about diploma mills and provides a database listing all of the accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. They also collect a myriad of information relating to education — including elementary schools and high schools.

diploma mills, fake college degrees, online schools, high schools, FTC, jobs, employment, resources for employers, employer resources, Department of Education, Office of Personnel Management, college, education

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

NYC Firemen Fined for Using Fake College Degrees

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

The Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) has fined 14 firemen a total of $135,000 for using fake college degrees to meet educational requirements to either secure a job or to be promoted on the job.

This esteemed fire department, highlighted in the news for heroic efforts on and after September 11th, 2001, is determined to maintain the high standards for which it is known.  Coursework in fire science, business law and business administration was listed on the resumes of the fined firefighters; but the classes were never taken.

Prompted by findings revealed in a January report by the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), the FDNY discovered that the degrees claimed by the 14 firefighters were purchased from Internet diploma mills. The firemen attended no classes and completed no coursework. These degree mills simply faked the diplomas and transcripts for work that was never done; and in some cases even backdated the degrees to meet specific job requirement dates.

Many of the firemen purchased their diplomas from Saint Regis University, which was recently shut down by authorities. It was based in Liberia and had no campus, no curriculum and no professors. Those operating the phony school have since been indicted for mail and wire fraud.

This illegal business should not be confused with Regis University, which was established in 1877 by the Jesuits and is an accredited university based in Denver, Colorado. Diploma mills often choose business names that are almost identical to the name of a reputable college. They are banking on the fact that people will not notice the slight name differences.

With over 9,000 accredited online degree programs available, these firemen had a myriad of educational choices. Through distance learning, an online associate degree (AA) could have been completed in two years; and an online bachelor’s degree (BA) in four years from schools approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

But perhaps some good has come out of all of this. The FDNY has tightened up their employment procedures so that phony degrees can be spotted early in the hiring process. No diploma mill degrees will be accepted; and that is great news.

online bachelors degree, online associates degree, FDNY, NYC Fire Department, firemen, fake college degrees, online schools, online degrees, diploma mills, phony degrees, fire science, college degrees, college, job, job promotion, Regis University, accredited online schools, employment, hiring process, distance learning, September 11th, 9-11

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Korea Diploma Mill Scandal Widens, 29 Indicted

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Since our previous blog about the diploma mill scandal in Seoul, Korea, the investigation has widened to include the indictment of 19 additional teacher at private educational institutes. Also, 10 others were indicted by the Seoul  Central Prosecutors Office for purchasing forged college diplomas and transcripts over the Internet.

Since the July scandal involving two prominent teachers, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has scrutinized over 48,000 diplomas to verify attendance and graduation. Those indicted recently had either used fake college degrees to gain employment in the prestigious private schools or had started their own schools. Two teachers used the fake diplomas to work for the largest online education company in Korea listed on the KOSDAQ stock exchange. Most had never even attended the schools from which they claimed to graduate.

The private educational institutes, called hagwon, are prevalent in Korea and offer accelerated training to students from elementary through high school and beyond. The schools supplement a number of subjects — including math, science, foreign language, art and English. For parents who can afford it, these schools are an important tool in preparing their children to gain entry into the most prestigious universities and colleges.  Parents are outraged and shocked that their children have been studying under these unqualified teachers.

Read full article.

diploma mills, Seoul, Korea, fake college degrees, students, teachers, private schools, private institutes, math, science, online education, education, KOSDAQ, hagwon, graduate

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mill Degree Taints New York Sheriff Candidate

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Nathan ‘Bud’ York appears to be an ideal candidate for Warren County Sheriff in New York.

He retired from the State Police after 30 years of service, primarily working as a senior investigator. He has worked as a road trooper in Warren County and experienced 7 years in the State Police Major Crimes Unit. York, the father of 7 children, decided to challenge the incumbent, Sheriff Larry Cleveland, after being encouraged by grass roots support.

However, Bud York has a glitch in his qualifications — he purchased a diploma mill degree rather than enrolling in an accredited online school or traditional college degree program. 

York’s bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from LaSalle University in 1995 is not from the highly esteemed school in Philadelphia, the private Catholic school founded in 1863 with a sprawling campus. Instead, it is from La Salle University in Louisiana, a notorious degree mill that was shut down by federal authorities after a raid of its offices in 1995. It’s founder, James Kirk, served more than four years in federal prison for mail fraud and tax evasion.

LaSalle University of Louisiana reportedly had only one faculty member for 15,000 students; and she did not even hold a bachelor’s degree. Also, the school was not accredited between 1992-2007, which includes the time when York received his diploma mill degree.

In addition, after the diploma mill was shut down, federal prosecutors sent letters to LaSalle students, advising them of the illegal degree scam and offering to reimburse them for their ‘tuition’ payments. Former students were asked to renounce their degrees and mail them back to Louisiana in exchange for the refund. York claims he did not receive such a letter.

John Bear, who has written a number of articles about diploma mills and who worked with the federal government as an expert on diploma mills, called LaSalle University the second worst diploma mill he has ever seen. Diploma mills require little or no college work and often advertise themselves as ‘life experience’ degrees.

Bud York may seem like an ideal candidate; but purchasing a diploma mill degree was dishonest. The 30-year police veteran claims that he did not know that LaSalle was an illegal diploma mill. He says that he did not mention the degree in his campaign for Sheriff, yet he apparently mentioned it in a flier mailed to voters and in a questionnaire filled out for the Post-Star newspaper.

Soon the voters of Warren County will decide whether they believe him or not.

diploma mill, LaSalle University, New York State Police, online degree, Warren County, bachelor’s degree, criminal justice, Louisiana, illegal scam, Post-Star, college

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mills Increase Financial Liability for Employers

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

By now, everyone should know that diploma mill degrees are bad news. But now employers have something else to be concerned about — liability.

Employers who hire workers holding diploma mill degrees may open themselves up to hefty lawsuits if the employee makes a serious mistake that causes harm or significant loss to a customer or client. This scenario is not limited to the medical profession, but also affects those in a number of different industries or companies that provide services or products to the public.

In fact, the recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis initially focused upon the competence of workers on the bridge at the time. They were not found to be at fault; but their credentials and work were carefully scrutinized. Thorough screening of credentials for such jobs is paramount. Financial analysts, engineers, food inspectors, teachers and therapists are just a few fields that serve the public and could wreak havoc if armed only with  a fake college degree.

A diploma mill degree is a college degree that is generally purchased over the Internet for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Little or no schoolwork is required; and the ’school’ is not accredited by a recognized accrediting body. Some diploma mills deceptively duplicate diplomas from recognized universities and call them ‘novelty degrees’ to get around the laws of the states in which they are sold.

Accredited online schools are not diploma mills. They are colleges and universities that have undergone a rigorous accreditation process and are held to the same high standards as accredited traditional schools in the same region of the country.

Employees can help protect themselves from diploma mill liability in the following ways:

-Set up standard procedures to be followed by hiring personnel in checking the educational qualifications of applicants. In court, the presence of these procedures will help to show that due diligence was performed in the hiring process for all employees.

-Utilize the Department of Education website to find a listing of accredited colleges and universities in the United States. Carefully check the names; since diploma mills often choose names that sound like the names of accredited schools. For Ashwood University is a diploma mill, while Ashford University is a highly accredited university offering both online and on-campus degree programs.

-For industries that require professional certificates or graduation from vocational schools, employers should contact those who provide the particular industry certification and confirm the validity of the training programs listed on an applicant’s resume.

-Contact colleges and universities directly to verify that the job candidate actually graduated from that educational institution.

-Learn more about diploma mills and how they hurt employers and the public.

By blocking their entrance into the workplace, employers will help to discourage potential workers from using this type of deception to gain employment and will hit diploma mills where it hurts — their wallets instead of yours.

diploma mill, online schools, novelty degrees, employee, employer, workers, lawsuit, Minneapolis, Minnesota bridge, colleges and universities, college and university, job, accredited online school, hiring personnel, Department of Education, vocational training, job candidate, educational institution, students, profits, liability

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Star Wars Creator Highlights Ten Hot Education Topics

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

George Lucas, creator of the multimillion dollar Star Wars industry, has a philanthropic interest in improving public education and preparing children and teens to successfully navigate the technology-driven world of the future.

He particularly values and highlights teachers who creatively engage students, often with multimedia, in order to enhance learning. Lucas believes that children learn better when they are stimulated and interested in the subject matter.

So he put into print his ideas for the best ways to educate children. Edutopia, the magazine underwritten by the non-profit George Lucas Education Foundation, is a treasure trove of innovations in teaching and a rich resource for discovering new trends in education. Online education, interactive media and additional virtual tools are discussed in detail as ways of generating student interaction and focus.

The September 2007 issue talks about 10 hot topics in public education:

  1. No Child Left Behind and the need to transform it
  2. How to retain and attract highly-qualified teachers
  3. Alternative school schedules that improve student scores
  4. Distance-learning and its impact on students and teachers
  5. Why politics will definitely be a part of high school classrooms in this academic year
  6. The explosion of interest in teaching and learning the Chinese language
  7. Why oceanographer Robert Ballard believes that science really is fun and relevant for children
  8. Using the technology of MySpace/YouTube to create student online learning communities
  9. High school career academies that smooth the transition for graduates from school to the job force
  10. How the arts and music education vacuum in public schools is being filled by locals

George Lucas expects to see improvements in the way we educate children as the exciting growth in technology is intermingled with the creative skills of dedicated teachers.

Free subscriptions of Edutopia are available in print to teachers and other qualified persons; and the website includes relevant education articles, videos and teaching modules.

George Lucas, Star Wars, education, children, school, teens, high school, parents, technology, teachers, public school, multimedia, Edutopia, George Lucas Education Foundation, online education, community, information access, trends, Robert Ballard, distance learning, No Child Left Behind, My Space, music education, Ten Hot Education Topics

Popularity: 13% [?]

Posted by vida