School official resigns amid Sun investigation into his college degrees

Deputy chief operating officer made $135,200 with degrees from unaccredited universities

A high-ranking city school official, whose resume includes degrees from institutions that require little or no classroom work and which academic watchdog groups have referred to as "diploma mills," resigned abruptly Thursday after questions about his credentials were raised by The Baltimore Sun. Full Story »

Posted by Mary Hartney
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Posted by: Posted by Mary Hartney - Apr 29, 2011 - 5:51 AM PDT
Content Type: Article
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Edited by: Mary Hartney - Apr 29, 2011 - 5:52 AM PDT

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Mary Hartney
4.3
by Mary Hartney - Apr. 29, 2011

Excellent enterprise story from the reporter who covers city schools for The Sun. This kind of story can only come from excellent beat reporting, knowing key sources and covering good stories day in and out.

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Gin Ferrara
4.1
by Gin Ferrara - Apr. 29, 2011

An enterprising, well-written article, focused on the deputy chief operating officer's credentials, but also exploring the "diploma mills" responsible for issuing said credentials. Green digs deep, reaching out to the colleges, and getting valuable quotes from Seawright.

This hopefully launches a larger conversation about the compensation system for public employees, and the balance or merit vs. certification. It sounds like Seawright was a very competent employee, despite his dubious degrees. I know some of my teacher friends in other states talk about having to continue to take certification classes to get raises, and wonder whether this truly results in the intended benefits to the school system.

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Anthony E. Laus
4.3
by Anthony E. Laus - May. 5, 2011

Very interesting and well written piece. The sources were integrated well into the story and provided credibility to the piece. Good insight by a thorough reporter.

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Samantha Iacia
4.4
by Samantha Iacia - Apr. 29, 2011

Very well-written story. Great background information and strong quotes, which we learn a lot from.

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Megan Flannery
3.7
by Megan Flannery - Apr. 29, 2011

I do believe this is good journalism because it is relevant, newsworthy, and trustworthy. The author uses multiple sources, such as Almeda University, The U.S. Department of Education, and school officials. Additionally, the author attempted to contact Rocklands school, but received no response, which is therefore cited in the article. I thought this article was very thorough and well researched. There are quotes and sources which verify all the evidence as well as statistics to keep the information factual. In addition, Kevin Seawright, the educator in question, gave the author a copy of his college transcript.Thus backing up the information further. However, I do believe this article is slightly biased. Too many of the ... More »

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Olivia Stephens
3.9
by Olivia Stephens - Apr. 30, 2011

This is well written and very interesting. The sources were utilized well throughout the story.

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Ali Pannoni
4.3
by Ali Pannoni - Apr. 29, 2011

I think this is good journalism because it is enterprising and shows depth. The sun did a good job of researching the former school officials credentials and it was very in-depth. I do however, feel as if the story is a bit biased. The sun does make it very clear that Seawright was always honest about his degrees and credentials. The sun made it, in the beginning, like he was trying to hide something. Seawright seemed to always be forthcoming about his education and seemed to resign because he had other business opportunities. The sun infers that he resigns because of the investigation into his college degrees. We may not know his real reasoning for resigning, but it is not the Sun's call to make.

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Zachary Schwartz
4.0
by Zachary Schwartz - Apr. 29, 2011

The story, aside from some small writing issues, explains well the issue and the severity thereof, without leaning one way or the other.

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Leslie Isler
4.1
by Leslie Isler - Apr. 29, 2011

This is good Journalism because it provides statements from Kevin Seawright and others involved his resigning. The article also gives background of where Seawright received his educational degrees. The article gives enough information where a reader can decide rather or not Seawright's resigning was justifiable.

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Micah Mohlmann
4.1
by Micah Mohlmann - Apr. 29, 2011

This article displays very good journalism and is extremely relevant. This is the type of story that can make a journalist highly reputable and noteworthy for their investigation. It had a great balance of quotes and information and captivated the reader to be interested to read it to the end. The author of this article should take a lot of pride for the work they put into this story.

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Kelsey Hoffbauer
3.9
by Kelsey Hoffbauer - Apr. 29, 2011

I enjoyed this story, because this does not happen very often now a days. I am glad that there are people on top of this, and looking into it so the school board stays loyal.

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