Friday, April 23, 2010

Ohio Board of Career Colleges -- Serving or Self-Serving?

An article was published in the Dayton Daily News on March, 26, 2010. Written by Dave Larsen and entitled "Miami-Jacobs Nursing Program Accreditation in Jeopardy," it stated that the Education Liaison of the Ohio Board of Nursing had recommended to the board that Miami-Jacobs Career College's nursing program approval be withdrawn. The article had been well researched and Larsen had contacted the Ohio Board of Nursing and had quotes from Lisa Emrich, MSN BN, of the Education and Practices division.

I decided to call John Ware, Executive Director of the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools to ask a few questions about Miami-Jacobs. In specific, I was curious to find out if they had violated any laws by not disclosing to prospective students that the program was in jeopardy at the time of enrollment, and if not, why not?

I have to admit that I was not impressed with Mr. Ware from the moment that he returned my phone call. His blasé attitude got me at hello, as the old saying goes. I even commented on how "enthusiastic" he sounded in returning my call. Within minutes, he had gotten my curiosity up. When I brought up the Education Liaison's decision at the nursing board, he indicated that Dave Larsen's article was not factual.

During the hour long conversation, he did not sound like the "Executive Director" of a regulatory board to protect career college students, but the director of an association to protect career colleges -- a walking, talking brochure for career colleges in the state, as I flatly told him. Several times during the conversation, I asked him why he was being so argumentative when we were both supposedly on the same side -- protecting the students of the state of Ohio from unscrupulous schools. Read more about our conversation here.

He was so defensive that I asked him if he lunched or socialized with Darlene Waite, Miami-Jacob's "college president" after board meetings. Either Waite or Joan Krein, or both, are at every meeting. Of course, Miami-Jacobs Career College has been very busy in the last year with board business, getting several new programs or new locations approved at every meeting.

In fact, even though the nursing program at MJCC has been under a "Consent Agreement" with the Ohio Board of Nursing for two years at this point, at the November 2009 board meeting, the board approved adding the practical nursing program to the Columbus Miami-Jacobs location. Of course, we know why that program has not been implemented to date.

Thanks to that phone call, I decided to do some research on the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and John Ware. This is the second of two articles based on that research. In the first article, we found a disproportionate balance in the board due to two seat vacancies: the graduated former career college student (vacant 5 years!) and either the Chancellor or a Vice-Chancellor (vacant 2 years), along with the Dept. of Education appointee, Dr. Steven Puckett, who was absent 4 out of 6 meetings in the past year.

Out of the 5 remaining seats, 3 were career college representatives, including Dennis Bartels and Kenneth Miller, and 2 were supposed to be public members. However, Dr. Kenneth Searfoss, public member and the Chairperson of the board is actually affiliated with for-profit Davis College in Toledo as Chairman of the Board -- a governing board, according to their website. That leaves only one member who attends regularly who has nothing to gain by serving on the board: Dr. Jerome Brockway, superintendent of Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School, a public school.

Then there is John Ware. According to him, he has been with the board for over 13 years. Why is John so defensive of career colleges? I believe that is because, in the 13 years of his employment at the board, he has had a lot more time and opportunity to get cozy with school administrators than with the students.

John wears quite a few hats at the board. At the board's website is a directory of "Who to Ask About What." John is the contact for all of this: administrative approvals, agency policy and procedure, bill processor, compliance issues, financial statements, fiscal (agency, budget), interpretation of rules and regulations, payroll, the Student Tuition Recovery Fund, unlicensed and unregistered schools and website maintenance.

The Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools (OACCS) should actually be considered the opposite of the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges. This non-governmental agency is a membership-based organization of which the members are career colleges in the state of Ohio. Like all other organizations of its kind, including the national group, the Career College Association (CCA), it exists to promote the interests of its members -- career colleges. Miami-Jacobs is a member of both associations.

This excerpt is from the OACCS:

The Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools is the active voice of postsecondary career education colleges and schools of Ohio, which are non-tax supported, privately owned and administered. Membership is strictly voluntary, thus participating colleges and schools consider the Association’s mission important to their success. The Ohio Association is dedicated to bringing about improved excellence in career education in Ohio through encouraging high standards of program quality in member institutions by:

Establishing and developing liaison between the private career education industry,State Licensing Boards, State Agencies, the General Assembly, State and Regional Professional Agencies, State Commerce and Industry, National Associations, Accrediting Commissions and the United States Department of Education.

Providing conferences, institutes, workshops and seminars for professional development of member school administrators, instructors, admissions representatives and placement specialists.

Reviewing current research, and suggested new research in such areas as techniques to improve management, instruction, admissions and student service functions and outcomes.

Providing monitoring of member and non-member schools activities to assure compliance with regulatory requirements and accrediting standards. Encourage regular training and updating of all personnel.

Providing the State Legislature up-to-date information regarding the needs of our schools and the students they serve in order to assure participation of all appropriate funding and support. The Association provides the access of information to the Legislature and our member schools.

What does the OACCS have to do with the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges? Obviously, quite a bit, as it seems like they are interchangeable. The board newsletter, put out twice a year -- except for the year 2008, which by not being posted along with 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, I am going to assume were not produced. By reading the June 2005 newsletter, it appears that one of the 3 school representative State board members who was also secretary, Kenneth Miller, of RETS Tech Center in Centerville, Ohio, was also the President Elect and Secretary of the OACCS at the very same time! Dennis Bartels, the President at that time, is now a member of the State Board of Career Colleges as well. By the time the 2006 Annual Report was produced, Dennis Bartels, of Bradford School, Columbus, was listed as a school representative member of the board. I consider Miller's dual posts to be a grave conflict of interest.

This is the kind of double dipping that really makes me mad. How could these two members of the board, especially Miller, who served both at the same time, be truly impartial when making crucial decisions at the board that affected -- and was supposed to protect -- the career college students of the state? Because the two organizations are in each other's pockets, there is no way that John Ware, Executive Director, and the other board members did not know that Miller had a definite conflict of interest. Do you think the governor who appointed him knew that or did he become the Chairman of the Board of Davis College after he was appointed?

However, Miller is not the only double dipper at the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges. I found out why John Ware was so defensive of career colleges. That is because both John Ware and his employee, Kim Stein, Investigator, are faculty members of MaxKnowledge,a company that provides training to college administrators, their faculty and staff. Both John Ware and Kim Stein are listed on this website, along with their pictures and their professional backgrounds.

According to their website, MaxKnowledge partnered with the national Career College Association in 2003. This has helped MaxKnowledge to recruit "renowned career college experts under CCA's guidance...." The training company has also partnered with state associations "to create an effective network of training delivery channels. MaxKnowledge state association partners provide training to their members through online training centers powered by MaxKnowledge."

Indeed, in the state of Ohio, the compliance course, by "facilitators" John Ware and Kimberly Stein, CM202 Ohio Rules and Regulations for Admissions Agents is "Required for new admissions representatives and Agents in Ohio," according to the course description. This course "powered by MaxKnowledge" can also be accessed by clicking on the "Online Training" tab at the OACCS website.

While I am outraged by Ware and Stein's affiliation with the CCA and the OACCS as "faculty" members of MaxKnowledge, I do not really think I was surprised to discover it. As I said, John Ware was just too defensive of career colleges -- and of Miami-Jacobs Career College. Ware, not counting benefits, brings home very close to $75,000 a year. His last gross bi-monthly check was $3,099.20. Stein's check was $2,166.40.

While I do not begrudge a man or woman his or her hard earned paycheck, in this instance, I am wondering if either one is deserving of it. Whose idea was it to make Ware and Stein's CM202 required training for new agents and admissions reps? While I am almost sure that the admissions rep training would be paid for by the school, the cost of the program is $129. I wonder what the cut -- or salary -- is for Stein and Ware when this program is accessed. It seems unethical to me for the Executive Director and his employee to make money off of a program that is required by his office.

It is comical to me that my daughter and all the other students who attend Miami-Jacobs have to take an ethics class in order to graduate. We have to look at this school, the administration and the board that regulates them and wonder....are they serving or self-serving?


  1. Hi Connie, I tried to use your email link from this blog and it is not working...there are a few things I would like to talk to you about dealing with for profit colleges. I am attending one now and have many questions. Please send me, if you are willing, another way to contact you. Then there will be two people not just one. My email is thank you Lisa

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