Sunday, February 17, 2008

Doctorates for Idiots

So you've got an EdD. Well, bully for you, Dr. X. Say you're a "doctor" huh? Say your degree is exactly equivalent to my PhD? Really? Let's take a look at a few programs granting doctor of education (EdD) degrees or educational specialist (EdS) degrees. Keep this in mind as you compare and contrast degrees. For my PhD in history, I had to take two days of comprehensive exams, pass two foreign language exams, and write a 475-page dissertation. These are typical requirements for liberal arts doctoral degrees.

A random pool of universities that offer EdDs in the social sciences include: University of South Carolina, University of Florida, University of Alabama, University of Georgia, Illinois State University, Portland State University, Missouri State University, and Syracuse University. None of these programs requires any foreign language expertise. South Carolina and Illinois State do not have a comprehensive exam as a requirement. In discussions with individuals who have earned an EdD, the so-called “comprehensive” exam involves regurgitating a series of buzzwords that real teachers know are meaningless. I personally know persons who have received a graduate-level grade of “A” for a course on making bulletin boards. Looking at their libraries, the typical EdD “thesis” is between 100-200 pages long. Keep in mind, a typical education thesis has 10 pages of literature review, the 100 surveys administered to 12th graders about their feelings on each other, 10 pages of number crunching, and a one-page conclusion. The end result is a 121-page thesis.

The EdS degree is even more laughable. Looking at the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, University of Alabama, University of Georgia, Michigan State University, and Missouri State University, the typical program simply involves about 30 semester hours of graduate education courses (presumably, including the bulletin-board class). Once again, they have no foreign language requirement. Most have something they call a “comprehensive” exam. Tennessee offers a thesis option and Georgia requires a “student portfolio.” None of the others has a thesis requirement.

The EdD degree was invented years ago to give school principals a raise. After a couple years of taking some night and weekend classes, they got to tack "Dr." in front of their name and, voila, they got a raise. This degree was not meant to be a bona fide doctorate. Now, Colleges of Education are churning out legions of lazy, slack-jawed idiots who have taken a host of meaningless, vacuous courses. Some college deans now hold this degree instead of a PhD in their substantive field. This means that an EdD in social studies, who has never written anything longer than a term paper and who has had as little as three graduate courses in history, can control the lives of men and women who have more training and aptitude than he can possibly imagine. Why would a university administration appoint somebody without real academic credentials to lead a college within the instituion? Obviously, because somebody with no support from his faculty, in fact, whose faculty hold him in total disregard, is the perfect toady for the administration.

I never heard of EdS degrees until a few years ago when somebody who was working on one told me that they were replacing PhD degrees with these more rigorous degrees in specialized areas. Look at the requirements -- the EdS degree was invented for people who couldn't satisfy the intellectual rigors of pursuing an EdD degree.

Obviously, the only reason to enroll in one of these programs is to ensure oneself of a raise without doing any real work. If a person wanted actually to master the material, he or she would put forth the effort to earn a real doctorate.

Every time I talk with anybody at any other university, they typically refer to the College of Education and its denizens as "those idiots in Education" or words to that effect. The universal opinion of academics is that holders of EdDs are idiots. Graduate education programs turn out hordes of incompetents who then pollute the undergraduate education programs throughout the nation. It's sad that the individuals who should be most concerned with education actually know the least about the topic. Instead, they spend their time featherbedding their courses with form over substance. They tell my students that, when writing a research paper, "a little plagiarism is alright." Thus, the entire educational system in this country is being rotted from within.

The cold hard fact is that you, Dr. X, and your degree, are a joke. Even the people in Anthropology and American Studies think you're a joke. Perhaps you realize that everybody thinks you're an idiot. Perhaps that's why you insist that everybody always call you "Dr. X." Even among colleagues who call each other by their first names, you steadfastly refer to everybody as "doctor" expecting to receive the same appellation in return. You introduce yourself at parties and other gatherings as "Dr. X." This would be pathetic and needy if not for the cold hard fact that you are an insufferable bore.

Dr. X, you're an idiot.


Anonymous said...

You are so correct about this it is a shame that they are called anything but sophists.


Anonymous said...

so true. these people are not only of low intellectual caliber; but they specifically reward students who are like themselves over the students who are actually intelligent. they are also almost always very left wing; I get a kick out of their views on economics even though it's painfully obvious they have never taken an economics class- it would be too hard for them.

for anyone who doesn't think academia could be a corrupt bizness - the EdD is proof that it is.

Anonymous said...

I know an "idiot" running a special education department in a fairly large district in Midland, Texas.....a good thing that it's an isolated city from the rest of the state!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Sounds like someone is awful jealous of a person who did half the work they did in school..yet now have an equivalent degree title and equivalent pay.

Makes you wonder who the real idiot is here, doesn't it dear?

Have a great day! =)

Spatula said...

You don't dispute my point that those who hold an EdD are less competent than PhDs, are wholly loathed by those who actually know their material, and are more worried about form than substance. Rather, you argue that you have successfully scammed your way into academia. You and your ilk are rotting higher education from the inside.

Anonymous said...

...and now these "doctorates" are being offered by on-line "universities!" Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Having gone through a "master's" program run by an Education faculty, I agree with your post wholeheartedly. The rigour demanded by that program was laughable, and I saw nothing to indicate that the doctoral program was any better. My BA in history was far more demanding, rewarding and provided more useful skills than anything offered by my "master's" program.