Would you buy a used online college from this church?

OK. This is a head-scratcher:

A Louisville-based ministry and a large Arizona church are suing each other over the disputed sale of an unaccredited online university last year, each accusing the other of fraud.

The Louisville Courier-Journal outlines the dispute between Child of the King Ministries of Louisville and Church of the Nations in Arizona over the $400,000  of American International University (not to be confused with American InterContintental University). Child of the King claims it hasn’t been paid as per the agreement; Church of the Nations claims that there’s no there there: in other words, the college is not recognized by accrediting agencies and furthermore, no assets were transferred in the sale. Which sounds like they paid $400,000 for a web address. (For a look at the school’s website–for what it’s worth–click here.)

According to the lawsuit filed by Church of the Nations, “Defendants provided plaintiff with nothing, no books, no records, no students, no websites, nothing of any value,” it said. “… To the extent that anything of value was to be given, nothing was.”

But there’s got to be more to the good old AIU than that, right?

Mmm. Not so sure. The shcool lists its administrative offices on Tidwell Drive in Alpharetta, next to Grimes Automotive Machine Shop and Lethal Injection Tuning, where everybody hangs out. AIU’s “regulatory offices” are in the Bahamas and AIU posts a badge on its website from “National Accreditation for Colleges and Schools,” an organization that is based in Atlanta (I’ve been blogging about Georgia colleges for a year, and I’d never heard of that agency before). Even the school’s web address is sketchy: www.aiuedu.us.  Usually the “edu” is the suffix, not tucked into the address in a way that might be interpreted as an attempt to make people think it’s a normal college.

The Courier-Journal reports:

American International University was incorporated in 2001 with the address of 1004 Walnut St. in Jeffersonville, according to records with the Indiana Secretary of State. T.E. and Brian Beckham were among the founding officers. Its stated purpose was as “an academic and spiritual religious educational institute of biblical teachings and related subjects and natural health.”

The name American International University does not turn up in a search of various standard accrediting bodies and government databases of proprietary and higher-education schools in Kentucky, Indiana or Arizona.

Attorney Scott Abell, representing Child of the King, said the ministry had planned to use proceeds from the sale for a substance-abuse counseling program.

“Child of the King Ministries Inc. wishes to emphasize that this is simply a civil dispute between religious entities and does not represent an attack on the good works of the parties,” he said in a statement.

That’s pretty charitable, but Child of the King has already gotten $130,000 out of the deal. Meanwhile, Church of the Nations is out the $130,000 it made as the down payment before balking at paying any more money. And it’s crying foul.

For the record, Child of the King, founded in 1995, promotes a “Messianic Jewish/Orthodox Christian” faith.  Michael Marden, pastor of Church of the Nations, founded in 2003,  claims he founded a church tha grew to thousands of members before the treasurer embezzzled $20 million and ruined him.

And now this.  Just terrible. To read the Courier-Herald article, click here.


Study: Sexting prevalent on college campuses

From the University of Rhode Island:

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 21, 2011 – More than half of all college students have received sexually suggestive images via text messaging, and nearly 80 percent have received suggestive messages, according to research by University of Rhode Island faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Assistant professors Sue K. Adams and Tiffani S. Kisler led a team on two ongoing studies, plus one previous study. They are examining the impact of technology use on physical and mental health, as well as interpersonal relationships in college students. The prevalence of such activity combined with Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signing a bill earlier this month outlawing sexting by minors makes education on technology practices vital for college students, according to Kisler and Adams.

In their survey of 204 college students conducted last spring, they found that 56 percent of the students had received sexually suggestive images, and 78 percent had received sexually suggestive messages. Two-thirds of the group had sent sexually suggestive messages. While most of the messages (73 percent) were sent to a relationship partner, 10 percent were sent without consent of the person who originally sent
the message.

 “It is important to help everyone, especially students, understand the importance of setting boundaries around their use of technology,” Kisler said.

To read more, click here.




Atlanta cheating scandal: Hey, where’d they go?

Some shoes drop. Others scurry away. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Thirteen Atlanta Public Schools principals implicated in the state cheating investigation have resigned or retired from the district.

Ten left before the state’s report was issued July 5, according to data released Friday by the district. All told, 41 of the 179 educators suspected of cheating have vacated their positions.

Last week, Superintendent Erroll Davis sent a blunt message to educators implicated in the report — quit or face termination. The firing process could be costly for the district because educators have due process rights. According to state law, when a district moves to suspend or fire a

teacher, principal or other employee, the employee is entitled to a hearing.

Three principals left after the scathing report was released. Of all the educators who have left, 28 departed before the report was released, 13 after. The specific reasons they left were not disclosed by the district.

To read the rest of the story, click here.


Arson arrest, government probe, racism charges, parent lawsuit. NY’s Chinese/English school has it all–and Rupert Murdoch’s in on it

UPDATE: The Murdochs are big-time contributors to the Shuang Wen Schook. Check out Gotham City Schools for the scoop.

From DNAinfo.com:

LOWER EAST SIDE — A group of parents at a popular bilingual school are suing the Department of Education over claims of discriminatory practices related to “secretive and abusive” investigations into the elementary school.

Parents and advocates from the Shuang Wen School/PS 184M — which the DOE is investigating for its paid after-school program and enrollment practices, among other issues — announced a federal lawsuit against the department and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott at a press conference Monday outside the agency’s Chambers Street headquarters.

They charged the DOE with pursuing secretive and racially motivated probes of the school yet failing to inform parents of the basis of these investigations, leading to a “harrowing two to three years of DOE discrimination and racially motivated attacks that have deprived their children of a peaceful and safe environment and the education that they were promised,” a statement read.

The Shuang Wen School is a high-achieving elementary school on Cherry Street that instructs its nearly 700 students in both English and Chinese.

Parents have complained about what they see as the targeting of Shuang Wen by the DOE, including an investigation into the school’s practice of charging students for a non-mandatory after-school program in Mandarin instruction.

The head of the nonprofit group that oversees the after-school program quit the post in April, claiming his departure was unrelated to the investigation, and a parent was arrested there in March for allegedly threatening to burn down the school.

The group behind the lawsuit claims that a small faction of parents orchestrated racially charged attacks the school, leading the DOE to unfairly investigate Shuang Wen for enrollment practices at the heavily Asian-American school.

Atlanta cheating scandal: A few shoes drop

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (which has owned this story since 2009):

One principal and six teachers implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating  scandal walked away from their jobs this week, opting not to fight after the  district offered a three-day grace period that ended Wednesday. According to  the district, they are: Charlene Martin, former teacher at Fain Elementary;  Janice Hicks and Nettie Walker, former teachers at Slater Elementary;  Beverly Shanks, former teacher at Grove Park Elementary; Oliver Banks,  former teacher at Gideons Elementary; Rose Neal, former teacher at Dunbar  Elementary; and Linda Paden, former principal of Finch Elementary. Of the  seven, two resigned and five retired. The district is now expected to begin  termination proceedings against those who stayed. The process will take several  months, because of employees’ contractual and legal rights to due process.  — Kristina Torres

Atlanta cheating scandal: The queen of denial

More on the mess, from the Atlanta Journal Consitution. Also, the former Atlanta school superintendent’s 405-page interview with investigators is now on the web.

Faced with mounting evidence of test cheating by state investigators culminating a 10-month probe of Atlanta Public Schools,  Beverly Hall as late as May still defended her leadership style and use of annual academic targets, maintaining she was not responsible for the scandal.

Yet, in one of the last interviews done under oath by investigators before they released their searing report, Hall, then APS superintendent, admitted she never looked at all the actual data
documenting the state’s suspicions about erasures on students’ answer sheets.

Read on.