KSN&C readers will recall that it was Ray & Associates who failed to uncover numerous fantasies on Barbara Erwin's resume during Kentucky's search for an Education Commissioner. That failure led to a refusal by the Kentucky Board of Education to make payment to Ray & Associates and subsequent legal action between the parties.
Does this sound familiar?
Beatrice P. Tignor, who served as [Prince Georges] county school board chairwoman during the hiring process for Deasy, said Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based educational search firm, completed a thorough investigation of Deasy's background, which drew no red flags for board members. "We had good references, good reference checks. His academic background, there didn't appear to be anything wrong with it," Tignor said.Ray & Associates' work in the Erwin Debacle was sufficiently shoddy that I would love to blame them for this screw up as well. But I can't. I don't see how the search firm can be held responsible for this one. When a university verifies degree attainment...it's on them. That fault, unfortunately, lies with Uof L - Rober Felner, those who knowingly signed off on the degree short cut, and John Deasy himself.
The folks in Maryland seem to be in a tough spot...but they have some wiggle room.
The good news is that while Prince Georges County wanted someone with a doctorate, the only actual requirement was a Master's Degree, which Deasy has. Plus, the folks in Maryland seem to be happy with Deasy's work. If that's the case, perhaps they will renegotiate Deasy's contract, have him drop the title, "Doctor" and lose the Ph. D. designation. Perhaps they will even send him back to school.
But if Prince Georges County sets the highest standards possible - if they are concerned that any false claims against their superintendent might undermine student confidence - and if there are enough unimpressed folks in Maryland; it could go another way.
After all, Deasy is following superintendent Andre J. Hornsby, who was convicted of wire fraud, witness and evidence tampering, and obstruction of justice (FBI surveilance video). It would not be shocking if the Prince Georges County Board wanted to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing and chose to try again.
This from the Gazette (MD):
School officials say superintendent completed all requirements for doctorate
The Prince George's County school board plans to investigate questions raised about a doctoral degree that Superintendent John E. Deasy received after attending just one semester at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
However, board chairman Verjeana M. Jacobs (At-large) urged the public not to jump to conclusions. "I think we have an obligation to look into it, but we're also going to give Dr. Deasy an opportunity to address the board about it," Jacobs said Wednesday.
The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported Tuesday that Deasy was awarded a doctorate of philosophy at the university in 2004, even though he only completed nine credit hours at the school.
The school's dean at the time was Robert Felner, who resigned in June and is currently under investigation for allegedly misappropriating a $649,000 grant. Felner reportedly oversaw Deasy's doctoral dissertation.
Two years before Deasy received the doctorate, the school district he led, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California, awarded a contract to Felner's
organization, the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy, to conduct surveys in Deasy's school district for $125,000 per year, the newspaper reported.
Officials from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District did not confirm the details of the contract by press time.
Felner's attorney, Scott C. Cox, declined to comment when reached Wednesday.
John White, a county schools spokesman, denied any wrongdoing. "The superintendent met the requirements of the university, submitted all the information requested of him.
The university approved it and awarded his doctorate," White said. "If there's any question about process, I'm sure the university can explain their process. They awarded his doctorate based on completing the requirements."
Jacobs said Deasy was expected to discuss the issue at a previously scheduled board
A University of Louisville spokesman declined to comment at press time.
According to Deasy's resume, he earned his doctorate at the University of Louisville in 2004, completed 30 credits beyond his master's in education administration and policy studies at the University of New York in 1994, and earned a master's in education administration from Providence College in 1987.
The University of Louisville's registrar's office confirmed that Deasy attended one semester at the school in spring 2004. His doctorate was conferred May 8, 2004.
White said Deasy also earned 44 credits from the University of Rhode Island.
According to the university's Web site, there is no set number of credits that doctor of philosophy candidates are required to obtain; however, it has been "customary to consider the equivalent of three years of full-time graduate study as minimal."
According to the university's academic catalog, transfer credits from other universities are usually limited to six credits, or about two courses, and apply only for students who earn a "B" grade or better. The university allows an additional six credits to be transferred if a department official approves.
University of Rhode Island enrollment officials confirmed that Deasy completed 17 credit hours from 1999 to 2002, but said he also participated in a joint doctoral program with the neighboring Rhode Island College. Rhode Island College's academic records office confirmed that Deasy took courses there between the fall of 1997 and spring of 2004, but would not say how many credits he completed, citing confidentiality rules.
A records official with the University at Albany, State University of New York, said Deasy was enrolled there from August 1991 through May 1993, but was unable to say how many courses were completed or if any were for postgraduate work.
Beatrice P. Tignor, who served as county school board chairwoman during the hiring process for Deasy, said Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based educational search firm, completed a thorough investigation of Deasy's background, which drew no red flags for board members.
"We had good references, good reference checks. His academic background, there didn't appear to be anything wrong with it," Tignor said.
Jacobs said she did not want to see the issue have a negative impact on Prince George's students.
"I guess my general reaction is, at a time when our school district is trying to make
strides in the right direction, certainly it's not something that we need or want to have come forward," Jacobs said.
Deasy replaced Andre J. Hornsby, who resigned in May 2005 amid an FBI investigation into his deals with school vendors. Hornsby was later convicted of wire fraud, witness and evidence tampering, and obstruction of justice.
The three superintendents prior to Hornsby each led the county school system for about four years.
In Deasy's first two years as county superintendent, he has been widely praised and
credited with improvements in Prince George's academic performance.
More from the Washington Post:
Deasy's annual evaluation will be completed in mid-October, said board member Linda Thornton Thomas (District 4). Thomas would not go into much detail, noting
that the evaluation is "a personnel matter." But she said she had questions about the school system's communications with the public as well as a consortium Deasy formed to oversee county high schools.
"I did not see last year how [the consortium] actually made a change," Thomas said. "I don't see, even right now, the plans for anything different."
In its last formal evaluation, issued in July 2007, the board gave Deasy a $16,666 performance bonus and a 5 percent raise, which pushed his annual base salary to $273,000. A statement issued by the school system said that Deasy had received an overall score of 4.46, on a 5-point scale, in a rating of 106 indicators.
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, this from the Journal Sentinel:
Folks at the University of Wisconsin system must grow more thankful every day that their No. 1 pick for UW-Parkside chancellor never actually made it to Wisconsin.