Wisconsin looking to criminalize phony degrees

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by AuditGuy, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. AuditGuy

    AuditGuy Member

  2. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I'd like to know how "phony degrees" being is defined. To say nothing of what it means to "use" a phony degree.

    As is typically the case with the law, everything depends on the details in the small print.

    My own guess is that the 'use' prohibitions might prove to be overbroad (most are, infringing on free-speech) and won't stand court challenge. And 'phony degree' probably translates into 'unaccredited degree' with 'accredited' in turn defined as accreditation recognized by the US Secretary of Education. (Thus converting an educational question into a political one.)

    I'm just too much of an individualist to be comfortable with growing paternalistic restrictions on my right to make make choices for myself. That includes choosing the educational courses that I want to study and the kinds of education that I believe are credible or impressive.

    In the ten years I've been posting on Degreeinfo, I've always been a vocal critic of the mills. But that was always my choice, my own judgment based on my own reasons. I don't like the idea that like all of the public I'm dismissed as childlike, and that the power of choice needs to be taken away from me for my own good and handed to an expensive suit in a Washington DC limosine.

    I'm surprised that the political class still lets us vote.
  3. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Well stated Bill!
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The proposed Wisconsin bill -- and for that matter, every piece of proposed legislation and regulation that I have ever seen pertaining to diploma mills -- would put no restriction whatsoever on anyone's ability to offer educational courses, or different kinds of education.

    Now, it is true that such legislation or regulation may put restrictions on the issuance of degrees. But -- although this point is commonly overlooked -- issuing degrees and offering education are not necessarily the same thing. It is entirely possible to become educated without holding a degree, and it is also entirely possible to hold a degree without becoming educated.

    So let's not confuse restrictions on "degrees" with restrictions on "education". If you have a worthwhile (or even a worthless) program of education to offer, you are perfectly free to do so in any US jurisdiction. You may or may not be able to offer "degrees" to those who complete your program, but that does not bar you from teaching, and does not bar students from studying with you.

    Plenty of people -- including, I suspect, BillDayson himself -- are ready and willing to undertake worthwhile educational programs that don't lead to degrees. For example, the entire business model of the Teaching Company (which I highly recommend, incidentally) is based on this premise. And degree mill legislation leaves such educators completely unscathed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2010

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