Seven student journalists in a Kansas high school were doing their due diligence, reporting on the newly appointed principal. Surprisingly, they came across various discrepancies during their research that started them questioning the legitimacy of her credentials.
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Amy Robertson earned her master and doctorate degrees over a decade ago at Corllins University. As the young students googled the university, they realized the school’s reputation was less than stellar.
According to multiple sites, the university is considered a diploma mill, where people can buy a degree, diploma or certificate with very little actual course work. Many of the sources called the university an outright scam. The students also found that the school was unaccredited.
“She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted to be assured that she was qualified and had proper credentials,” said Trina Paul to the Wichita Eagle. “We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials.”
Pittsburg Community Schools Board of Education has a closed door meeting with Robertson to see if any of these allegations had any merit. Minutes into the meeting, board president Al Mendez emerged to announce Robertson had resigned.
“In light of the issues that arose, Amy Robertson felt it was in the best interest of the district to resign her position,” Mendez said.
Robinson, who emailed the Kansas City Star to give her side of the story, said: “The current status of Corllins University is not relevant because when I received my MA in 1994 and my Ph.D. in 2010, there was no issue.”
The logical question that arose shortly after her resignation was how was she hired with those credentials? Superintendent Destry Brown said applicants go through a rigorous background check and several references are contacted, but the board would be reviewing their current hiring process.
“They were not out to get anyone to resign or to get anyone fired,” said Pittsburg journalism adviser Emily Smith. “They worked very hard to uncover the truth.”
Too often with budget cutbacks and staff layoffs, school programs such as journalism are the first to be cut. Luckily that didn’t happen at this high school, and the students were able to put their training to good use.