Oregon Limits Educational Choice

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by russ, Feb 11, 2005.

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  1. russ

    russ New Member

    As an Oregonian who disagrees with the whole concept that the Oregon Department of Degree Authorization (ODA) is protecting us from anything, I find it very disturbing that ODA has signed an agreement with Kennedy Western University that prevents Oregonians from obtaining their degrees from KWU thereby limiting the educational choices of Oregonians because of their petty dispute with KWU.

    As you have all probably heard, Oregon had to settle out of court with KWU because they were maligning the university due to it's 'unaccredited' status. That's right, in Oregon if you attend a unaccredited university that they have not put their stamp of approval on, they will force you to go to court to allow you to use your degree on your resume. Three graduates had to pay attorney fees to allow them to use their degrees that they had legitimately earned and paid for. Naturally, the great state of Oregon said that they would now allow KWU graduates to use their degrees but any other unaccredited university graduate who happens to live in Oregon will have to take them to court as well.

    Here is the highlight to the settlement.

    Oregon officials are also obligated under the settlement agreement to refrain from characterizing KWU as a diploma mill or substandard school on the Office of Degree Authorization website or elsewhere. The Attorney General's office also agreed to provide ODA personnel with a training session on defamation law.

    Yes, a training session on defamation law would be good for anyone who trashes unaccredited colleges just because they are unaccredited. As mentioned before, accreditation is voluntary, not mandatory. A state school can still provide a good education without accreditation. Whether your employer would reimburse you, a company would accept your degree, a licensing organization would accept your degree or any other situation is not important if you chose to get the degree for personal reasons. Nonetheless, there is no reason you cannot include the degree on your resume if you earned it and paid for it. I am not talking about diploma mills, I am talking about unaccredited colleges like the one that Oregon defamed.

    I would request that ODA remove any restrictions from Oregonians attending KWU if they choose to do so. There is absolutely no reason for them to prevent any Oregon resident from getting their degree there if they wish to. It is just another petty turf battle.
  2. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    As some one from amother state I wish our state did the same
    what ODA is doing.

    I do think they protect the public from practitioners with substandard and fake degrees.

    ODA keep doing the good job more power to you.

    Noting wrong with limiting the use of degrees of unknown quality.

  3. galanga

    galanga New Member


    I notice the use of the words "education" and "degree" in a single post on this subject.
  4. plcscott

    plcscott New Member

    Posted by russ:
    If you are not talking about diploma mills then how do you separate the unaccredited schools from the diploma mills? Where do you draw the line?

    Is a diploma mill just a school that sells degrees in your opinion, or do the degrees have to be comparable to the majority of other schools? If, for example, a school awards a bachelors degree to someone shouldn't that degree be at the same minimum level as other schools? If not, isn't the school that is far below the level at best substandard and awarding degrees that are misleading? Most people think that a bachelor degree is a 4 year degree, but some schools are awarding them for taking a few exams and/or writing a paper. Should these schools be allowed to just award degrees, and should their customers just be able to use them without ANY regulation?
  5. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Russ, please don't repeat Kennedy-Western University lies. It has already been shown that KWU was making false statements when they stated that the ODA couldn't tell the truth about KWU.
  6. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    The last time that I checked, there were over 2,000 regionally accredited institutions of higher education and dozens of nationally accredited ones. If you count community colleges, the number is over 4,000. As far as I can tell, residents of Oregon can enroll in any of them. According to Bears' Guide, there are a few hundred colleges and universities offering thousands of degrees that can be pursued via distance learning.

    Just because Oregon places restrictions on one unaccredited school does not signal the death of educational choice for Oregonians. I live in Illinois, teach online courses for an RA university located in California and have students located all over the U.S. and in Canada. I have even had students from Oregon!

    Tony Pina
    Administrator, Northeastern Illinois University
  7. russ

    russ New Member

    Bill, I am not familiar with Kennedy Western lies if you can point me to the posting that proves they have lied, I would appreciate it.

    Just for the record, I have not taken any courses or have any involvement whatsoever with KWU. To me it is more of a principle issue where I believe Oregon ODA has taken the position of being the sole arbiter of what constitutes a true post-secondary education. A role, by the way, that they are not only not suited for but simply acts as a police force for the regional and formal accreditation bodies with Oregon taxpayers (like myself) footing the bill.
  8. russ

    russ New Member

    First, I would prefer that the line not be drawn by a couple of people in a state office in Oregon who have already demonstrated their overwhelming bias against any unaccredited schools simply because it has chosen not to be accredited. Accreditation does not equal education. The two words are not synonymous.

    If anyone can provide proof that you cannot get an education at an unaccredited school I will drop this whole discussion and agree with you that without accreditation any post-secondary school is worthless.

    Remember that Oregon once called CCU "substandard" and would probably come knocking on your door if you dared to put the degree on your resume. Then, in one day, they became DETC accredited and all of a sudden Oregon feels their degrees are as good as any other accredited school and takes them off the list. Can Oregon or anyone else make the statement that CCU was not providing a good education the day before they became accredited? I don't think so.
  9. plcscott

    plcscott New Member

    Changing the subject rather quickly? Let's not talk about standards or how to separate the diploma mills from the legitimate schools, let's complain about the bias of the ODA. Do you have proof that any school that applied to the ODA for approval did not get fair treatment?

    Who says that accreditation = education? Accreditation = oversight and meeting MINIMUM STANDARDS. The education may vary from school to school, but accredited schools share standards.

    You can get a very good education from your local library, but they do not give out degrees. MANY of the schools that are awarding degrees are doing so for money and are far from being a legitimate degree granting institution.

    There are two ways to be legal in Oregon: 1) Go through the approval process 2) Become accredited by a recognized accreditor. CCU was removed from the list because they did not right thing. The others on the list can do either of the two as well, but we all know that many on the list could not cut it with either 1 or 2.
  10. russ

    russ New Member

    No school should have to apply to the state of Oregon and pay to be reviewed.

    Accredited schools pay someone to say they meet standards in order to enhance the marketability of their degrees.

    Every school is doing this for money. Education is not an altruistic venture.

    CCU did this to make their degrees more marketable, not to satisfy the ODA. No one should have to jump through arbitrary hoops that each state can require. Once the other states see Oregon making some money on this, they will want to start their own department (some already have) and charge their fees as well.

    I do agree with you that you need to be able to separate diploma mills from legitimate unaccredited schools but the last thing I would want is to have a bureaucratic system in each state doing it.

    I think the framework of the system should be private very much like the consumer credit bureaus where an employer can pay to have a check ran on a degree against a database. Rather than 50 bureaucratic states, schools can qualify with that private agency whose reputation would be at stake if they allowed diploma mills to have legitimacy.

    Anyone want to invest?
  11. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member


    KWU is an insidious degree mill. In my opinion it is an excellent example as to why state licensed schools are a joke and will likely continue to exhibit failure in the future as it has in the past. It is also an example of how the ODA has helped protect the Oregon public.
  12. plcscott

    plcscott New Member

    So, you do or do not have PROOF that the ODA is not objective, or has not treated a school fairly that APPLIED for approval?
    Any odds on whether the subject is changed instead of a straight answer?

    Yes they do, but they have to meet the standards to get the endorsement. If payment alone would get them many of the unaccredited schools would be coughing up the dough.

    Good I hope they do, and then the good unaccredited schools will have to step up, and maybe the bad ones will shut down. CCU avoided jumping through hoops in each state by becoming accredited, and that is why I said they did the right thing.

    Then how would you do it without accreditation? In fact, how would you separate them period. Where should the line be drawn?

    Sounds like a good idea, but I think the accreditors beat you to it. Isn't that what they do?
  13. russ

    russ New Member

    I went to the link you provided (thank you) and found no proof that KWU is a degree mill. What I did find was a lot of angry posts by Alan C. of our Oregon ODA who is obviously so disappointed by this lawsuit that he erroneously accuses one of the posters on this site of being a KWU plant (for which he does not apologize but does correct himself). He refuses to call KWU a school (even after the lawsuit states he is not to make disparaging comments about KWU) but refers to them as an "entity."

    I really don't know much about KWU other than going to their website but, as an Oregonian, I find this behavior by our ODA to be childish and immature. My understanding of the lawsuit is that it is clear not only is Alan C. required to have defamation training but he is also to stop referring to education provided by KWU as "substandard." In addition, KWU can continue their lawsuit if Oregon does not change their statutes to reflect the agreement between KWU and ODA. This is clearly not a win for ODA.

    I have no sympathies for diploma mills but I also feel that just because a college is unaccredited does not automatically classify it as a diploma mill. If there was no substance to KWU's lawsuit why did it get this result?
  14. russ

    russ New Member

    Yes, I have proof that ODA is not treating an unaccredited school fairly and that is the KWU lawsuit where ODA clearly lost and yet they are still disparaging the university.

    In your opinion, not mine. A school should not have to "step up" for accreditation if they already know they have a quality institution. Again, it is voluntary, not required.

    No, the accreditors have not created a national database and do not include any information about unaccredited schools or even diploma mills. The private system would also have no vested interest (in contrast to the accreditors) in qualifications and therefore be a independent and objective source of information which is exactly what its paying clients would want.
  15. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member


    SO much misinformation it is hard to keep it straight! Russ as a fellow Oregonion let me state I am GLAD the ODA is doing good work keeping degree mills at bay. Are they perfect? No. Have they done a good enough job to scare sub-standard and degree mill schools such as K-W? YES!

    As to your first suggestion above, hogwash. The ODA SETTLED with K-W. Neither won, although I agree K-W's Attorney definately earned whatever fee he charged! Remember Hardy Myers, the same Attorny General that has made other questionable decisions, is the person who decided to settle on the State side

    Accreditation is NOT about a school proving to itself it is up to standards. All legitimate schools do that as a matter of coarse. Accreditation is about showing the world your school meets minimum standards and its credits are worthy of transfer among other tasks. While there are a handful of worthy unaccredited schools, the vast majority are frauds such as PWU and K-W.

    A national database for the handful of legitimate unaccredited schools that choose to go against the tide? I honestly can't see much of a need. If you have done even a cursory investigation of K-W and can't tell it is a degree mill you need to look a little harder! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2005
  16. russ

    russ New Member

    If KWU didn't win, then I would love to not win every legal case I ever brought against the state like this. Let me see, Alan and is crew must have defamation training, they have to stop calling KWU a diploma mill and referring to its education as substandard, the state of Oregon must revise its statutes to decriminalize use of unaccredited degrees, the lawsuit can be continued if Oregon does not do exactly what KWU is demanding, etc.

    Yea, I guess you are right, they tied.

    As I said before, I am not here to defend diploma mills. Nonetheless, I also don't agree that education must fit exactly the same standards everywhere. I guess even Oregonians can disagree about the need of accreditation.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  18. russ

    russ New Member

    You are right, Tony, that educational choice is not dead in Oregon. It just bothers me that our state has taken on this ridiculous task of monitoring all the colleges of the world (yes, now we are even looking at international degrees). Not only is it arrogant for the ODA to decide it will be the one to sort out all accreditation problems when even the feds and the states can't agree on accreditation standards, they automatically assume that your college, if unaccredited, is guilty until proven innocent.

    Education is changing dramatically in the internet world and creating rigidity by trying to defend the old way of accrediting institutions is not going to help. If the regionals and other accrediting agencies want an enforcement department who will send you nasty notes if you don't use their schools, let them spend the money to do it, not Oregon.

    Even the government has recognized that universities will not experiment too much because they may lose their accreditation thereby stifling educational creativity. Accreditation also has certain standards that must be met which, at times have nothing to do with the quality of education you will receive. One of these standards, for instance, was how many books you have in your campus library. With the advent of the internet, this is a nonsensical standard to have and one which I hope they have eliminated. Another one, which was thrown in for political correctness, was that you had to have the correct ratio of minority students. If not, you could lose your accreditation.

    The expression of absolute power corrupts absolutely could apply to regional accreditation bodies who know that no currently accredited school is going to risk loss of their accreditation and will do almost anything to meet their standards no matter how senseless they may be. That is power. If we continue to make them the only real choice for our higher education to be recognized, I sincerely believe their standards will become more and more irrational.

    Competition is good. Competition is healthy. We need it in our system of higher education.
  19. plcscott

    plcscott New Member

    This argument is repeated so often, but that is not the case. Unaccredited schools are not guilty until proven innocent, they are illegal until they meet the ODA criteria. There is a process for doing so. Any school or individual that does not want to abide by Oregons law should just avoid Oregon. Oregon has the right not to accept the lax standards of other states and protect its residents from diploma mills and substandard "schools".

    I would personally like to see some national minimum standards set, and all schools that do not meet the standards be deemed illegal. This would shut down the bad ones, and the legitimate ones would prove that they meet standards.

    Could you post a link or cite some of this information?

    There are more creative ways to achieve college credit now than ever. The difference is creative accredited schools actually evaluate, assess, and verify that a student has competency in a subject that credit is received for, and many of the unaccredited schools simply give credit because a person paid money and filled out an application.

    What? Do tell about this corruption of power. If schools are scared they will lose their accreditation if they do not abide by the rules then that power is incentive to provide quality.

    Competition is good and there is plenty of competition amongst accredited schools regarding tuition, quality, extracurriculars, etc. The diploma mills and substandard schools are not competition they are businesses making money off of short circuiting the post secondary educational system. They dupe consumers into thinking they deserve a degree without being in the system, and then their consumers dupe others by claiming a degree that is not on par with degrees from real degree granting institutions.
  20. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    You continue to spew the lies started by KWU. You asked for proof that KWU statement that the ODA and Alan Contreras had voluntarily given up their right to free speech. That is the link that I provided. Don't then come back and say that my link didn't provide proof that KWU is a degree mill!!!

    There is proof galore that KWU is a degree mill. For starters check out the recent Senate hearings.
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