This past week student journalists at Pittsburg High School smoked out their new principal whose bogus credentials–a Ph.D. from a “Corllins University”–had secured her the $93,000 a year job.
This development caught officials at the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) by surprise. “In all my 20-year legal career, this was only the second time I have heard about something like this happening, so it is definitely an outlier,” Donna Whiteman, assistant executive director of legal services for the association, told the Kansas City Star.
Knowing whom the Star likes to blame, Whiteman laid the screw-up on the “current climate,” a dog whistle to the anti-Brownback pack that has been hounding the governor for the last six years.
Said Whiteman, “In this current climate in Kansas, there is a major shortage of teachers and principals. Districts generally trying to hire the most qualified person want to hire them before someone else snatches them up.” She added, “So it is not unusual that all the checks are not done because they are trying to get them signed.”
“All the checks?” Could not someone on the school board simply have googled “Corllins University?” That’s what the students did. If the case is an “outlier,” it is likely because no other school has had a set of journalists as enterprising as those at Pittsburg High.
As to the alleged shortage of teachers and principals, this is little more than fake news. The KASB should be embarrassed to peddle it.
In August 2016, the Topeka Capital-Journal decided to crunch the numbers. What the research revealed is that “the number of educators arriving in Kansas to teach is higher than those who leave. In three of the most recent four years, the margin was more than double.” In other words, more than twice as many educators are coming to Kansas as leaving.
And why not? The salaries are high, the cost of living is low, and no one much bothers to check your credentials.