How to Succeed in Education Without Really Studying

Superintendent Roger Cuevas and a few dozen of his top administrators received graduate degrees from diploma mills. No wonder Dade's schools are in such great shape.

The state legislature passed the proposed restrictions and also began requiring that all schools apply to an agency called the Council of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education for approval to operate. Pacific Western's application was denied. The school appealed the decision but was shut down for several months last year before being allowed to reopen and offer bachelor's and master's degrees in business, public administration, and management, as well as Ph.D.'s in business administration. No graduate programs in education, however, were approved.

Like Fraind, James Monroe has a doctorate from a nonaccredited California institution: Columbia Pacific University. Like Fraind, Monroe attended no classes, according to his 1979 transcript, which is on file in Tallahassee. The school required 35 credits for a doctorate and awarded Monroe the following: 10 credits each for two independent study projects performed at Dade County Schools, 5 for a year of work experience as a Dade administrator, and 10 for a graduate course in public administration he took at Nova. The transcript does not indicate whether Monroe wrote a dissertation. But it does list his extensive military experience, including his tour as a medical administrator and field operations assistant in Vietnam, as well as his authorship of eight papers about educational planning and resource-organization issues, though he was not issued credits for any of those.

This past summer, California's education council denied Columbia Pacific's application to operate, citing 25 findings that the school failed to meet standards. "Particularly disturbing is CPU's granting of Ph.D. degrees to students who have not done the kind of scholarly research and analysis expected at that level of study," council officials noted.

The school has remained open while it appeals the council's decision. "Our status is a question mark at this point," admits Mariam Baker, the school's director of project development. "We are working with the State of California -- there are some serious differences of opinion.

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