Letter to the editor: The real problem about 'diploma mills'

Editor's note: Our continuing coverage of the diploma-mill issue sparked this letter from a reader. 

When are people going to stop treating the symptoms and go after the problems? Isn't it abundantly clear that diploma mills are not the problem?

A piece of paper does not help or harm industry, government or academia. It is what you do with it. However, people being the lazy lot they are again want to shift blame and responsibility elsewhere.

You want to fix the problem of educational certification -- how about setting some standards? How about measuring knowledge and performance? How about a results-oriented culture where we award certifications to people who can perform and, heaven forbid, fail those who cannot?

The clear problem is we do not fail enough people. We make excuses for them, shift blame for them, give them credit for effort. The fact is in education, none of that is relevant. This is a black-and-white issue. You either do or do not have the knowledge and skills required of the academic certification.

How about creating a standardized battery of tests? A person takes the tests, which are changed quarterly, and receives a rating for the knowledge level in each academic field. Then an employer can determine from the knowledge exhibited what functions within the organization this person can accomplish.

It really is simple, but it requires recognizing some people aren't qualified and never will be. It requires acknowledging that some people, no matter how hard they try, will never be capable of doing certain things. You put people where they belong, when they belong there, and they move by merit, not effort.

Michael Deslippe, customer liaison

Defense Finance and Accounting Service

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