"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fraud: It's Another Avenue to Make Money Via Education "Reform"

Catching fraudsters.  Is the answer to give up your freedom to privacy via international databases?

Fraudsters have jumped in the education reform money making machine on the international level. From InsideHigherEd and Catch Them If You Can:

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Fraud in international higher education is a $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion business, an expert said Thursday here at the European Association for International Education annual conference.

Daniel J. Guhr, managing director for Illuminate Consulting Group, which advises governments, universities and foundations on higher education strategy, stressed that the estimate is necessarily imprecise: “Really good fraud is not visible.” But he said that the consulting group’s research does show that fraud is a pervasive problem.

Guhr provided an overview of the problem of fraud in international education. He defined fraud broadly, situating various forms of it on a spectrum of severity -- from résumé embellishment, on the low end, to full-scale identity fraud on the high end. In between, Guhr listed fake letters of recommendation (“We tell all our clients to forget letters of reference -- they’re completely useless”), plagiarism, purchased test scores (“I’m very, very worried about the validity of English language test scores coming out of certain Asian countries,” Guhr said, later citing China and Vietnam in particular), purchased transcripts, purchased degrees, fake immigration records (such as passports), and bribery of immigration officials.

Guhr said that the key driver of fraud is economic benefit -- not only to the offending student and family, but to other stakeholders as well, colleges included. Increasingly, college leaders view international students as an important source of tuition revenue. The more, the merrier.

The fraudsters have figured out what the venture capitalists and school choicers have known for quite some time: there is a lot of money to be made using taxpayer dollars and governmental mandates and regulations.  If governments are going to comply with providing their students with a "global education", then that information needs to be shared with the globe, right?

This is the mission of common core...the establishment of standards strive to be "internationally benchmarked" so theoretically, when test results come back from other countries, results for students scores are "apples to apples".  Of course, that means data bases will have to be established that will transmit student/family data not only to federal agencies and private researchers here in the US; this information will also be shared internationally.

Sweden has developed a national application system for international students designed to stop education fraud and would welcome other nations to join its efforts:
One message of Thursday’s session is that colleges should share information on fraud much more freely than they have to date. Guhr said that one barrier to collaboration is the NIMBY problem. “What we get still a lot of in education institutions is, 'Of course fraud is bad, but it's happening everywhere else, not in my institution.' " (For further developments in this realm, see related article.)

Rick Torres, president and CEO of the National Student Clearinghouse, attended Thursday's session. During the discussion portion, he shared his own experience with fraud detection when he worked at a credit card company. "These credit card companies, they weren't worried about their banks' reputations; they were worried about catching fraudsters," he said. "Even though they compete very heavily with each other, they actually got together every three months to discuss what was going on, where the fraud was emanating, because it impacted all of them."

If you accept the premise that fraudsters can game the system and make money (and more concerning, obtain student visas with no intention of attending school), is the answer for these educational institutions to share student/family information to catch potential fraud?  It reminds me of the TSA issue.  Because of the actions of a few, the majority are required to give up their right to privacy.
Freedom to privacy seems to disappearing as we (and corporations) now need protection from the reforms put forth by the reformers, politicians and federal/international agencies.   A representative from Pearson commented on this article from InsideHigherEd on the idea of "freedom":
Louis M M Coiffait 

Really interesting - the
Swedish solution of a standard national application process would both tackle
fraud and some of the inequality issues (advantaged learners are better able to
navigate the complex course-by-course and institution-by-institution application
system we have here in the UK).

Of course the counter-argument will be institutional

What Mr. Coiffait doesn't mention is how and where "national application process information" gathered will be used...and by whom.   If it's used by Pearson to make money for Pearson I guess "freedom" is over rated and an impediment for educational "reform".



No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter