Editorial: Lessons learned

Word that Laura Callahan, former deputy chief information officer at the Homeland Security Department, resigned last week after being on administrative leave for nine months ends a tumultuous chapter for federal workers.

Callahan was accused of having padded her résumé with degrees from so-called diploma mills. These diploma mills sell bogus academic degrees based on life experiences or "substandard or negligible academic work," as the General Accounting Office said in a report last November.

Fake degrees are a problem for agencies, but they raise larger fundamental questions about fairness.

"No applicant for a job — whether it's in the private sector or federal government — should lose out to a candidate because that candidate holds a bogus degree," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said last year.

Saying we are against souped-up résumés seems a little like coming out in favor of apple pie. The question now is what have we learned.

Some minor moves have been made in an attempt to deal with diploma mills. Education Department officials agreed earlier this year to look into creating a list of accredited colleges and universities, possibly even publishing that list online.

We understand the complications of creating a list of unaccredited schools — such a list, even one put online, would be out of date as soon as it was posted. But we are confused about why Education officials have to think twice about posting a list of accredited schools.

Such a listing would help more than feds — it would help prospective students, parents and employers identify institutions that offer legitimate degrees.

But this issue needs ongoing attention. Collins, chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, have kept a watchful eye. We urge them to continue their oversight role.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group