Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Cheap Diplomas!(?) Shop and Compare!

Originally posted on August 30, 2009

I’m dismayed at the sheer volume of spam email about “genuine” diplomas for sale—cheap! On one hand, I playfully want to join the bandwagon: I’m allied with The Wizard of Oz who created a Diploma for the Scarecrow because of his “cleverness” in rescuing Dorothy. Hey, why not? I can make up one for you for a few bucks—what kind do you want?  Much much cheaper than what these mountebanks are charging!

I’ve even started drawing these as a kind of humorous gift to friends. Not certifying actual competence in any field—that would be lying—but rather things like “certificate of adequacy,” or “diploma of consciousness evolution.”  It’s also a play on psychobabble, how we can use blarney to sound fancy when it’s really hot air.

The dismay hits because I wonder: Whoa! What if as many as 24% of the people in jobs today are there because employers are believing these sham diplomas and not checking them out? (And what if a fair number of statistical numbers are as confabulated—just made up—as I just did?) What if the percentage is greater?  Hey, the people hiring don’t seem to be checking out the immigration status or citizenship of thousands if not millions of illegal aliens, so why should we assume more responsibility on the part of the personnel department? (Excuse me, re-named the more prestigious “Human Resources.”) I don’t underestimate the desire under the pressure of cost-cutting in the department to cut corners, too (as described elsewhere on this blog). Laziness, carelessness, overload, passive-aggressiveness (i.e., if they want results, I’ll give them results. They never said anything about the results being really valid.), etc.

In a larger sense, the cheap diplomas for sale are a part of a culture of cheating—about which some interesting books have been written. Scarey numbers of the percentages of people who cheat in college and professional and business graduate schools. Scarey the numbers of people who committed if not formal then informal fraud in effect claiming they could afford the homes they bought—and then they couldn’t by far! And scarey the number of people colluding with them, the ones who arranged for the loans, and processed or okayed them—can we—dare we—recognize them as cheaters?  Sure they’ll have excuses, but come on—we’re not dealing with teenagers here. And as can be seen, it is this kind of cheating that has resulted in the robbing of millions of people—perhaps billions—of significant chunks of their life savings. Cheating.

I wonder how many people who get these offers register in their mind the evil—that’s the right word—that is involved in debasing the trust level. What if your doctor or lawyer or some other trusted helper is the graduate of a diploma mill, a fraud? How do you know that is not so? Are you going to check to see which universities are in fact accredited?  Maybe you should. Sorry to reinforce the low level of trust—perhaps paranoia would be too strong a word— but caveat emptor, buyer beware!  And for those businesses who hire, are you indeed double-checking?

3 Responses to “Cheap Diplomas!(?) Shop and Compare!”

  • David says:

    I wonder if this is a logical extension of the low-cost church ordinations that started springing up in the 70s (earlier?). Because the State could not decide who was fit for ordination, a few churches decided anyone with a few bucks were fit. I remember calling the state of California to ask them if my ordination was still good even though “my church” had “gone out of business” and the person let me know that if you’re ordained, no one can take that away.

    Anyway, these diplomas may fall into the same category. A “school” sells you a diploma. The question isn’t whether the diploma is valid, it’s whether the school is. As you say, one needs to check the school accreditation, which (at least in the USA) you can do at this site.

  • Greg Knippa says:

    What the hey ….. Go for it, Adam. 🙂

  • Eric says:

    Having just recieved an at-distance degree, I am VERY aware of the negative light diploma mills shed on alternative routes to EARNING an accredited degree. I recently applied for an assistant professorship at the U of Maine. They did due diligence in checking out the institution which granted my dploma. I’m glad because it gives me more time to discuss my experience. Their feedback is that their U system is expanding its online programs and are seeking instructors with experience in the virtual world of teaching.

    This isa time of great change in the field of education. There’s bound to be turbulance. It will all shake out and students will (I trust) be the wiser for it.

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