Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Amazing Wasser: Now You See Him, Now You Don't

After the Freehold Regional High School District accepted James Wasser’s resignation in the wake of embarrassing revelations that he purchased his doctorate from a diploma mill, Lucille Davy has declared the retirement deal “null and void.” Apparently the local School Board violated a state mandate by not holding a public hearing on the resignation deal. Maybe they were the ones trying to hide their red faces: the golden parachute offered in the buy-out included full pay of $210,000 per year for the remaining two years of his contract, plus another $200K in accrued sick leave and vacation days, in spite of the fact that the State recently capped sick leave pay-outs at $15K. He was going to have to give back his SUV, though. That's a blow.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Okay... so here's a guy who clearly just purchased a bogus degree in educational leadership from a non-accredited institution. The bigger problem however, may be that there are in fact many "accredited" institutions that hand out graduate degrees of little or no greater credibility. But those count, even though they should probably be scrutinized similarly. I have written two recent articles on this topic - one on the dramatic expansion of institutions offering doctorates, including institutions that lack appropriate resources to grant doctoral degrees.

see: http://eaq.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/43/3/279

The other is on the preparedness of faculty who grant these doctorates.


(I can send to anyone who wants a copy)

Okay, so these are somewhat self-serving articles since I'm lucky enough to have taught at major research universities (University of Kansas and Rutgers). However, from my self-acknowledged ivory tower perspective, it might actually be useful for doctoral level students in educational leadership to gain substantial insights into such topics as finance and economics in education and education law and ethics(including relevant areas of constitutional law as well as more "practical" stuff like employment and contract law). You can't skip the finance classes in a Wharton MBA (last I checked), or the public finance courses in a Maxwell School Masters or Doctorate in Public Admin. (Syracuse, #1 in Public Admin./Public Budgeting and Finance). But sidestepping these areas is all too commonplace in Educational Administration programs that lack core faculty to teach them. (note that there are equal or greater numbers of schlock-filled MBA programs out there these days - so MBA programs are not generally a model to aspire to)

When looking for district level leaders, Boards of Education should perhaps more carefully consider the academic as well as professional preparation of candidates. Even if only because other studies show that good people tend to hire other good people (the inverse also being true).


I think its fair to say that... when running a school of all places, academic preparation matters (at least to some extent). Boards of Ed and other school leaders - if they don't already - need to understand that there are lots of ways to gather "valid" minimum credentials. Being a good or great school leader is not about minimum credentials.

Boards of education should be willing to favor candidates who, if nothing else, have greater respect for their own personal pursuit of knowledge and disfavor those who clearly do not.