Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a cheeky attack on Jill Biden and her pretensions of going by “Dr. Biden” despite not being a physician. The backlash was swift: Northwestern University deleted the author’s profile from its website, and a whole army of aggrieved liberals put out overwrought thinkpieces on how Epstein’s column was a vicious attack on all women.
A screed in the New York Daily News was typical for this micro-genre:
Jill Biden is an expert, she has jumped through every hoop, every degree and every argument to gain her ED.D as a doctor of education. She has achieved one of the highest levels of scholarship in her chosen field that it is possible to get. So, I have news for the men like Joseph Epstein. Women are not politely asking for your respect anymore, we simply expect it. We expect that our titles, our qualifications and our hard-earned degrees will be given the same authority as any man’s. [NY Daily News]
Tucker Carlson took his turn poking fun on Monday night:
Tucker: “Dr. Jill Biden has the very same degree as Dr. Bill Cosby does— which is one degree from Dr. Pepper.”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 15, 2020
He followed up with an even more hilarious monologue last night.
That’s DOCTOR Jill Biden To You! pic.twitter.com/szFTBZxI3o
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) December 17, 2020
Revolver News investigated Jill Biden’s degree, her dissertation, and her motive for pursuing an Ed.D. and found that her academic credentials and her insistence on being called “Dr.” are even more ridiculous than they appear with just a cursory glance.
For starters, Joe Biden has openly said that his wife got her degree purely out of status anxiety.
Joe Biden, on the campaign trail, explained that his wife’s desire for the highest degree was in response to what she perceived as her second-class status on their mail.
“She said, ‘I was so sick of the mail coming to Sen. and Mrs. Biden. I wanted to get mail addressed to Dr. and Sen. Biden.’ That’s the real reason she got her doctorate,” he said. [LA Times]
So, the insecure striver Jill Biden wanted people to refer to her by a fancier title. We could at least begrugdingly admire “Dr.” Biden if she had channeled that impulse into getting a truly respectable credential. But instead, Biden did what so many others have done. She took a shortcut at the local degree mill.
PhDs insisting on a Dr. title can sometimes be annoying, but it’s at least understandable. The PhD is several centuries old, and the “doctor” title for distinguished scholars and teachers is even older. Language has evolved, but the title deserves to survive. Furthermore, PhDs are usually difficult to get, requiring a half-decade or more of full-time work and the production of original scholarship.
But Jill Biden’s degree is not a PhD. It’s an EdD, or a doctorate of education. And EdDs are not remotely as distinguished as PhDs. They require far less work, far less academic ability, and far less time. Literally dozens of EdDs can be obtained solely by studying online. Many require no dissertation at all, instead allowing a “dissertation-in-practice.” Duquesne University has an explanation:
A Dissertation in Practice is scholarship focused by a lens of social justice on a problem of practice that is addressed by a design for action that yields generative impacts on the practice of educational leadership the aims of educational improvement. [Duquesne University]
In other words, write a politically-motivated “social justice” paper pushing an agenda for a local school, complete a part-time program by taking classes online or on the weekends, and you too can be a doctor, just like Jill Biden.
Jill Biden’s earned her EdD at the University of Delaware. Delaware offers both an EdD and a PhD in education. The latter degree is far more demanding, which UD demonstrates with a helpful chart:
The difference is clear. The PhD takes 4-5 full-time years of study to complete, while the EdD is a part-time degree that can be finished in three years. The PhD requires a full dissertation, and the EdD does not. PhD degree seekers can receive full tuition stipends, reflecting their work as adjunct faculty. No such stipend goes to EdD seekers.
What exactly are the admissions requirements? Thanks to an intrepid reader who pointed us to the school’s website, we know that no GRE score is required, no letters of recommendation, no research, just an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and access to about $35,000 in course fees. In sum, a pulse and a checkbook. University of Delaware’s Ed.D can be completed 100 percent online.
It’s obvious what the program is: A cash cow for the university that collects money from school bureaucrats who want a pay boost, or strivers who want to put a Dr. next to their name.
Our intrepid tipster had this to say:
Ed.D. is not a Ph.D. and nowhere in the same class. Ed.D. is well-known as the most bogus “doctorate” degree. It’s a cash cow for degree mills. Every dullard in education knows it’s a cakewalk to buy one. Nearly all of the low watts who buy an Ed.D. are teachers and K-12 principals who charge the cost to their K-12 school district (read: paid by taxpayers). Most of the programs are 100% online. When they finish, it triggers an automatic salary bump (read: paid by taxpayers). It’s an all-around racket — the college gets tuition money, and teachers union employees get paid.
The New York Times even modified their stylistic rule for Jill. They used to never refer to non-MDs as ‘Dr.’ yet since 2008 they’ve been calling Jill ‘Dr.’ more than Ben Carson, a bona fide neurosurgeon. This is conferring unearned prestige, acuity, and bonafides to Jill — conditioning her to be a White House ‘expert’ in the eyes of the masses and forcing us to bootlick and obey a member of the Democrat Party ruling class, no matter how transparently unimpressive they are.
Isn’t it also interesting how dimwitted Jill failed out of community college to “pursue modeling” — yet we’ve never hear about or see evidence of this supposed modeling career. While modeling is used to disparage Melania and label her dumb, a prostitute, and other epithets.
Truly, a fascinating insight. [Editor’s note: If you have tips for us you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
While Delaware doesn’t demand a dissertation from Ed.D candidates, Jill Biden did produce a paper that calls itself a dissertation. Many outlets have cited this dissertation to call Biden a serious scholar, an “expert” in the words of the Daily News.
So how does that paper measure up as scholarship? The average reporter has no clue how to answer that question. Revolver has actually gone and read the dissertation. The whole thing can be found online.
Revolver wants to be very clear that we have no personal gripe with Jill Biden. She seems pleasant enough, and she isn’t the one threatening to bring a disastrous Democratic agenda to the White House.
Nevertheless, we must be honest: Jill Biden’s “dissertation” is a joke. Charitably, it could pass for a mediocre undergraduate paper, albeit longer. The paper, titled “Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs,” is not a general work of research scholarship. Instead, it’s focused narrowly on the matter of student retention at Delaware Technical and Community College.
How did Dr.-to-be Biden investigate this matter? By cobbling together some haphazard secondary sources and passing out questionnaires to students at the school, and then writing a few pages of recommendations so broad and lacking in detail as to be useless. Many of these recommendations could have been written by a high schoolers. Passages like this are the norm:
Admission to the College is open to all Delaware residents who have a high school education or its equivalent or to anyone who is eighteen years of age or older and able to benefit from instruction.
The unique nature of the classroom allows for a complexity of problems as well.
With a new president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Americans were offered the New Deal, and thousands of dollars [thousands!] were put into federal emergency junior college funds.
Statistics prove that students tend to stay at institutions with which they feel aligned. Faculty interest and community is one of the most positive ways to ensure student retention.
To create social bonds, Delaware Tech needs to provide a comfortable space for students to congregate. Of the 159 pre-tech students surveyed, 134 responded that Delaware Tech needed a student center. Currently, students gather in the cafeteria and hallway areas to study together and socialize. Students need a place where they can find class information, build friendships, acquire knowledge regarding campus activities due to work and childcare schedules. [Note: Not a complete sentence]
Social issues could also be addressed at a wellness center located on campus. In the student survey, 135 students out of 159 saw the need for a health-related center on campus. The State of Delaware supports and funds wellness centers in public schools; Delaware Tech may qualify for such funding. Delaware Tech’s wellness center is defined as a fitness center with exercise machines and weights. But students at Delaware Tech need a more comprehensive center to deal with social problems and illness: teen pregnancy, AIDS, cancer prevention, and nutrition, among many others. Students said they would use such a service, if available. The State may absorb the cost of providing a wellness center to the college. Wellness Centers are a part of the public school education. As a public, state-funded institution, Delaware Tech may quality for such services. [Jill Biden]
And so on. The paper is a soporific compilation of copy-pasted sources and personal testimonies, followed by pointlessly broad suggestions about how the school can retain more students (mostly by spending more money). Suggesting that a school will keep more students by hiring a psychologist or building a student center may be a sound idea. It doesn’t make one a great scholar.
But now it doesn’t matter. Jill Biden’s superiority over the hoi polloi is a political matter. Her bogus credential must be respected, and not just because she is the first lady. More and more, Americans live under the fake expertise of credential-collecting petty tyrants. Colleges that teach almost nothing possess enormous wealth and wield immense power over American life. That power comes from their ability to grant status: To mark Americans as worthy of respect and worthy of better jobs based solely on some scrap of paper. If Jill Biden’s degree was called out for what it is — a marker of nothing except her own vanity and status obsession — then the scam might begin to fall apart.
UPDATE: Enjoy this bonus video. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
Still kinda funny pic.twitter.com/g1gzLL0C7g
— Rich Noyes (@RichNoyes) December 16, 2020