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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on January 16th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

How Educational Reformers Are Trying To Do To Public Schools What They Have Already Done To Colleges

» by in: US Military

The more I read about the whole education reform agenda pushed by former DC school superintendent Michelle Rhee the more the reform agenda reminds me of what has happened with the US military’s GI Bill and tuition assistance programs.  Over the past decade the for profit schools have made huge money from these military educational initiative as well as other government programs to fund education while providing minimum educational outcomes for the cost.  I have personally seen servicemembers complete bachelor degrees in under a year and master’s degree programs in under 6 months through some of the for profit online universities.  I have to wonder about the quality of education these servicemembers received completing degrees so quickly and completely online? Additionally the military encourages getting these degrees because of the promotion advantages it provides.

There are now reforms happening to make these schools show they are providing quality education to troops, but it is coming after these schools have already made a fortune from the taxpayers.  It seems since the for profit education industry has already cashed in on colleges they now have their eyes set on public schools.  If the educational reformers can get school vouchers to parents than the for profit schools will be able to make a fortune from parents turning to private and charter schools instead of public schools.  Though these schools may not provide a better education they can use faulty test scores like Michelle Rhee did in Washington, DC to justify their educational outcomes.

Like with what is happening with the re-evaluation of government money going towards for profit colleges, it will probably be many years before people realize that giving all this money to for profit high schools were probably not a good idea either.  However, by then Michelle Rhee and her backers will have cashed in.  Maybe I am wrong, but that is the way this is all beginning to look to me.  What does everyone else think?

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  • Sonagi
    8:16 pm on January 16th, 2013 1

    The evidence is already in public circulation. Overall, charters do not outperform regular public schools. The problem with vouchers and online Educatuon is that many states do not require students to take NCLB-mandated Chievment tests even though these students are being educated with public money, Would you be surprised to learn that Michelle Rhee and GW Bush both spoke at a national conference for online colleges and universities in Vegas last year?

    Sponsor Pearson Education has been raking in money since NCLB was passed.

    Every textbook publisher includes test prep books with their kits. Our elementary students take a total of 16 benchmark tests per year, one for each subject at the end of each quarter, plus simulation tests before the real thing, plus frequent test prep in the weeks preceding the big tests in May. In addition, LEP students must take a separate set of English proficiency tests that cost $120 per student and two weeks of instructional time for us to administer.

    I anyone reading this has children in US public schools, I strongly encourage you to organize fellow paretns and attend a school board netting to ask about the total cost of standardized testing, including fees for the tests, software for test prep, and human resources to administer the tests. Ask about instructional time devoted to test prep and the tests themselves. You’d be surprised. It’s not a simple matter of handing out test booklets to 25 students and watching them take the tests. Providing testing accommodations for SPED and ESL students means that many students take tests in small groups or individually, which increases the number of staff needed to test. All that time and expense to obtain data that most of us don’t find very useful or informative. We feel sorry for our nation’s kids being subjected to all this testing craziness.

  • Sonagi
    8:19 pm on January 16th, 2013 2

    Online education
    NCLB-mandated achievement tests
    fellow parents
    School board meeting

    Must proofread more carefully. :oops:

  • JoeC
    10:11 pm on January 16th, 2013 3

    GI Korea, have you had complete changes of heart when it comes to subjects of Michelle Rhee or school vouchers?

  • Teadrinker
    10:19 pm on January 16th, 2013 4

    A bachelor in a year and a master’s in 6 months? Gee, it normally takes about 3 months of research just to write an MA dissertation proposal. What degree mills would that be? I know someone who’s got an MA from one of these for profit universities, and I’m almost certain it didn’t take him anywhere near the normal two and a half years it should take to get an MA by distance education.

  • John
    12:25 am on January 17th, 2013 5

    A bachelor in a year? Ridiculous. It only took Teadrinker 15 minutes with a Letraset and a photocopier back before Koreans verified transcripts.

  • Leon LaPorte
    2:09 am on January 17th, 2013 6

    5. Doctorate in Anal Retention?

    University of Papa John
    Domino State University

    Ph.D = Pizza Home Delivery

  • Teadrinker
    4:26 am on January 17th, 2013 7


    No, John flunked out of McDonald’s Hamburger University.

  • Burma Bob
    7:25 am on January 17th, 2013 8

    My son teaches for a SoCal charter school chain. He can’t wait to get out of it, but these are the only teaching gigs around. He says someone teaching for LA Unified School District has to die to make room for a new teacher. Other than that, there are only the charter chains.

  • Liz
    8:14 am on January 17th, 2013 9

    #4: My husband got an MBA from a diploma mill that has since changed its name (took him 6 months or so). He did this the same year he was working 15 hour days, writing an official Operations and Tactics manual for the raptor, AND taking National War College via correspondence. A master’s degree isn’t a “promotional advantage” it is an absolute requirement.

    No matter what an officer brings to the table (actual combat experience, outstanding performance record, accolades, et al) if he/she doesn’t have and advanced degree no promotion past Major. It’s absolute bovine fupa. They should get rid of the advanced degree requirement. But they won’t. And with the deployment and work schedules the best performers are obligated to handle, diploma mills are a gift. Fwiw, an MBA is a worthless degree whether at a diploma mill or no.

  • Teadrinker
    9:06 am on January 17th, 2013 10


    So, I’m guessing your okay with dentists performing cosmetic surgery.

  • Liz
    9:23 am on January 17th, 2013 11

    #10: A worthless advanced degree to fill a square is inconsequential.
    Medical school is not in this category.

  • kushibo
    1:03 pm on January 17th, 2013 12

    Liz, was your husband’s program accredited? Do the advanced degree requirements allow for non-accredited university degrees?

    As someone with a master’s degree already and working on a PhD (simultaneously with a professional master’s degree), I’ll tell you that a real program is no cake walk. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, you are exposed to a great deal of information you have to synthesize, and you typically have to produce your own scholarship and research as a result.

    It’s disgusting that people who put in the time, money, and effort to earn something meaningful are competing with people who get theirs from a paper mill.

  • Leon LaPorte
    1:37 pm on January 17th, 2013 13

    I think our entire education system is outmoded and there are better ways to do things. The old timers who earned their wall decorations the hard way will never accept better (and *gasp* easier – yes easier!) approaches which are perceived by them to be easier. The old, “old was good enough for my gran=pappy, well it’s good enough for me.” applies here. People like Sebastian Thrun are doing great things.

    9. Things will slow down for him on the OPTEMPO side, assuming he survives the upcoming “peace time” draw down (and possible RIF).

    I couldn’t agree more about the MBA’s. I actually had one who asked me, “how do you start a business?” WTF? I’ve started more than a few businesses, I guess I should be granted at least an honorary MBA. I would feel pretty guilt free buying one. After all, I apparently know more about business than someone who toiled to get theirs.

  • Commander
    2:45 pm on January 17th, 2013 14

    A worthless fake degree to check a box for a worthless requirement dreamed up by some worthless good idea fairy that everyone knew was worthless from the beginning because only worthless people have time to get a real advanced degree while others are putting their all into the job is, well, what it is.

    In the real world, there is no competition. A copy of your diploma and five minutes on Google tells an employer if you are really qualified.

  • Leon LaPorte
    3:11 pm on January 17th, 2013 15

    14. Absolutely. Also, while they are reading that same resume they just might glance at the section related to previous job experience.

    /I’m a dreamer

  • Liz
    4:05 pm on January 17th, 2013 16

    #12: Yes, it was accredited. But not for long. He obtained the degree before it lost accreditation.

    If it makes you feel better he wrote a 600 page manual that was at least the equivalent or beyond a Doctoral dissertation. For no school credit.

  • Liz
    4:06 pm on January 17th, 2013 17

    #14. Exactly.

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:15 pm on January 17th, 2013 18

    16. I thought all army manuals are written on a 6th grade (or is it 9th grade) level. Just sayin’. :razz:

  • Liz
    4:29 pm on January 17th, 2013 19

    #18: Hee hee! Leon. :smile:

    It was the first DASH-1 for the F22.

  • Teadrinker
    4:31 pm on January 17th, 2013 20

    Inconsequential, eh? Tell me who ultimately pays for your husband’s salary.


    “It’s disgusting that people who put in the time, money, and effort to earn something meaningful are competing with people who get theirs from a paper mill.”

    Couldn’t agree more.


    That was his job. He was rewarded when he received his salary.



  • Liz
    4:48 pm on January 17th, 2013 21

    #20 My husband isn’t paid for his MBA skills. He could have had a degree in film theory or recreational studies instead, the subject is an irrelevancy it is only to fill a square.

    And your answer to #18 shows your ignorance. He is an engineer, with an IQ of 145 and I am proud as hell of him. There are a handful of people on the planet who could have written the original operations and tactics manual for the most advanced fighter in the world.

  • Teadrinker
    5:32 pm on January 17th, 2013 22


    “My husband isn’t paid for his MBA skills.”

    So, he didn’t get a raise when he got that promotion because of his “MBA”?

  • Liz
    6:30 pm on January 17th, 2013 23

    I guess you’re right. They should have promoted someone without combat experience, who couldn’t write an operations and tactics manual, but sat in a missile silo for four years with plenty of time to get a really “good” mba (assuming one exists).

    I have an advanced degree I should probably lead troops.

  • kushibo
    6:35 pm on January 17th, 2013 24

    Liz, I’m sure it was quite a feat to write that manual, and it’s nothing I would scoff at.

    My retired father is an engineer with an IQ of about 145 as well, and he actually went and did the work to get the master’s degrees (note plural) that he needed to move ahead to better pay and more challenging work during his several decades working on space vehicles and fighter craft.

    In the meantime, he gave up several years of time with his new wife (my mother) and his new kids (my older siblings), as well as work opportunities and significant pay.

    A master’s degree is supposed to represent a certain level of competency, research, work, knowledge, innovation, and potential. If someone is doing it in six months, including someone with a 145 IQ, then it does not truly represent that.

    I’m not bashing you or your husband for that. I imagine it may have been a frustrating situation to be in, where he knew the stuff (the fighter pilot stuff) but couldn’t get that work because he didn’t have the educational box checked.

    Still, I wouldn’t go running around telling this story too much, because to anyone who doesn’t know your husband well, he looks like a guy who got a six-month MBA at a discredited and defrocked institution and is using it to get better jobs and better pay.

    (Please re-read the penultimate paragraph before this if you’re pissed at what I wrote.)

  • Liz
    6:48 pm on January 17th, 2013 25

    No offense taken, Kushibo. National War College itself ( should serve as criteria met for an advanced degree. It is a master’s program. The mandatory square filling with whatever degree you can get is patently imbecilic.

  • Teadrinker
    7:15 pm on January 17th, 2013 26

    “They should have promoted someone without combat experience, who couldn’t write an operations and tactics manual, but sat in a missile silo for four years with plenty of time to get a really “good” mba (assuming one exists). ”

    You almost make it sound as if your husband’s decision to take a shortcut was based on altruism.


    Sounds like we had very similar childhoods. My mother, now a retired college professor, was already done with her education by the time I was born, but my father wasn’t (he spent a total of 12 years at university, studying on two continents). We moved when I was 4 so that he could complete his last advanced degree.

    I remember being fascinated by the grotesque specimens preserved in formaldehyde that were neatly lined up along the hall that lead to my father’s laboratory, the very same hall that I would walk as a student 15 years later (the specimens had been removed by the time I returned).

  • Teadrinker
    7:26 pm on January 17th, 2013 27


    I’m acquainted with someone who has a masters from there. He’s a senior level officer. As it states at the link you provided, only mid-level and senior level officers who are likely to be promoted are selected to study there. Sure, they could increase the number of applicants accepted, but that would involve increasing the size of faculty, which is easier said than done given the highly specialized subjects taught there.

  • Liz
    7:29 pm on January 17th, 2013 28

    #26: What short cut? He got an MBA from an accredited school. It was an easy MBA. I suppose if he were stupid (like most mba recipients by comparison) he would have found it more challenging. He could have also obtained a degree in anything else equally useless. It is no shocker that good people in leadership positions are so hard to come by. Few people of merit have the time on their hands to work long hours and deployments while completing two simultaneous masters degree programs.

  • Liz
    7:31 pm on January 17th, 2013 29

    #27: Many officers complete war college via correspondence (presently, they usually they complete the correspondence and then go to the school after). My husband finished this course (as I mentioned above). He was also selected for the school.

  • Teadrinker
    7:37 pm on January 17th, 2013 30

    “I’m not bashing you or your husband for that.”

    Neither am I, for what it’s worth.

    “I imagine it may have been a frustrating situation to be in, where he knew the stuff (the fighter pilot stuff) but couldn’t get that work because he didn’t have the educational box checked. ”

    Fact is, although that degree might have helped him get a promotion, it might be holding him back now…or at least that’s what I’d have worried about if I were him before forking over thousands of dollars in tuition.

  • Teadrinker
    7:45 pm on January 17th, 2013 31


    You can’t honestly say that he put a lot of work in it if it took him six months and, as you say, he was working 15 hours a day. I also have a degree in science and an IQ in the top percentile of the scale and it wasn’t easy. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Doing a master’s is also a test of endurance.


    Good for him.

    As Kushibo said, you might want to drop the diploma mill thing, or at least present it in a different way. You’re not painting a very pleasant image of a man who deserves better. Sounds to me like your husband got scammed by one of the many schools which prey on soldiers and veterans in the US.

  • Liz
    8:37 pm on January 17th, 2013 32

    Promotion without war college (via correspondence or attendance) is also impossible, fwiw…it’s a concurrent requirement.

    I have three bachelors degrees (I’m not kidding). One in a hard science, two healthcare related, and a Master’s (healthcare related). The master’s was the easiest by far. Degree of difficulty in obtaining a master’s depends on the subject matter. Some are worthless. This is a simple fact. We have and education bubble fueled in great part by a push for basically worthless degrees (and in the military this is true). I know people who were able to go to universities and obtain masters and doctorates in hard sciences, engineering fields, med school, nurse practitioners et al…those were valuable degrees.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    9:16 pm on January 17th, 2013 33

    @3- I always reserve the right to change my mind when more information becomes available. Now since there has been plenty of time to evaluate the charter schools it appears that many of them are gaming the system to show success because they are plucking the best students out of the public schools:

    I changed my mind about Michelle Rhee a long time ago due to her ethical problems especially where she was helping to cover up her husband’s own scandals.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    9:22 pm on January 17th, 2013 34

    To add to what Liz is saying, when servicemembers attend a professional military education course there is usually an option to where one of these universities count your course time as part of the credit hour requirements for a Masters. Then at night a servicemember attends a few classes and by the end of the 6 month military course they also have a masters degree. I have seen a lot of people get MBAs but other popular ones I have seen people get are Masters in Leadership or Military History.

  • kushibo
    9:28 pm on January 17th, 2013 35

    GI Korea (#34), so in addition to the six months of course, they’ve taken many months more of coursework elsewhere, right? I mean, they’re not just studying for six months and voilà! they’ve got a master’s degree, right?

  • Teadrinker
    10:57 pm on January 17th, 2013 36


    One of my friends did the 3 bachelors thing, too. Took him about 7 years total because he could transfer credits. It was possible because the first two were in related fields and the third was in education (with a concentration in the first two).

    My wife took longer to get hers done because she studied completely different majors (one of which was in health sciences like you).

    I can see why you’d think that the master’s experience was easier.

    I found that the administrators, professors and supervisors were a lot more supportive and understanding. I had already proven myself, and so I was treated with the same respect given to a peer.

    I also didn’t need to prepare for exams, but instead presented 5000-word research papers for each module I took.

    The experience was a lot more enjoyable because of these reasons.

  • John
    11:30 pm on January 17th, 2013 37

    Liz, don’t argue with Teadrinker. Your husband’s few accomplishments with putting around in jets and writing brochures for them pale in comparison to Teadrinker’s special forces experience, multiple advanced degrees on several contenents, years of scientific research, financial acumen and mastery of babysitting in Korean English classes.

    Being reasonably intelligent yet completely accomplished, Teadrinker has a tendency to “embellish” his history in hopes of gaining respect from strangers on the internet. He can lay no claim to any particular accomplishment on the scale of your husband’s work and experience so he attacks the one issue where he can claim superiority, morally and educationally, even if his claims are based on falsehoods.

    It might work if he demonstrated top-percentile intelligence and high level education through insightful writing. It doesn’t work because all he ever does is talk about himself in the style of someone whose cursory understanding of a situation comes from popular perceptions and the stories of others.

  • John in LA
    12:06 am on January 18th, 2013 38

    The whole charter school idea was to serve as a sort of a lab for testing out new teaching ideas, which would than be copied to public schools. That’s what the initial founders of the charter school system intended. It was never meant to replace public schools, as some are asking for now.

  • Kangaji
    12:21 am on January 18th, 2013 39

    #34: Engineers can get a Masters in Engineering Management by staying around Leonard Wood a little longer after the Captain’s Career Course if they have a hard science degree. I saw former Combat Arms guys at University of Hawaii that got picked up for FAO taking the same Asian Studies courses/Korean classes as me for their Masters. They were both Majors. So, if you want to get an Asian Studies major from the army in Hawaii get picked up for FAO somewhere in NE or SE Asia.

  • Kangaji
    12:24 am on January 18th, 2013 40

    The Engineering Management degree is fully accredited from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. They had a Professor come out and check out our demo training at EBOLC to see if we could get any university credits out of it.

  • JoeC
    1:25 am on January 18th, 2013 41

    Back closer to the original topic of this post:

    I retired over 15 years ago so some of what I say may be out of date, but this is the way it was. There are some generalizations about military education programs here that I think need to be cleared up.

    “… the military encourages getting these degrees because of the promotion advantages it provides.”

    That may be true for officers and it may be true throughout the Army but it is not universally true in the military. College degrees offered no promotion credit for Air Force enlisted people. It was highly encouraged to have some sort of a degree, even and Associates degree, to get into the most senior enlisted ranks, but it was not a requirement.

    “The more I read about the whole education reform agenda pushed by former DC school superintendent Michelle Rhee the more the reform agenda reminds me of what has happened with the US military’s GI Bill and tuition assistance programs.”

    The Tuition Assistance Program and the GI Bill were completely separate animals … at least when I was in. Back then, the GI Bill was a fund to put aside money that the service members could use for education after they left the service. As such, they were pretty much on their own to decide where and how to use it. When service members wanted to take college courses while they were still in the service, they used Tuition Assistance.

    I took advantage of Tuition Assistance often while I was in the service. From what I’ve read here it seems the program was not managed or administered the same across the services. The Air Force education offices must first approve the class you wanted to take and they would not have authorized Tuition Assistance funds to unaccredited courses at unaccredited institutions.

  • Teadrinker
    7:22 am on January 18th, 2013 42


    You’re so gay for me, it’s hilarious.


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