The GAO discovered that you don't need a high school diploma to enroll in some commercial colleges. You don't even need to be a real person, and you may be able to pass your classes without doing any work. Twelve of the 15 commercial colleges allowed investigators to enroll online using a fake high school diploma, or a diploma from a high school that had closed. Investigators tested academic policies by failing to log into required classes, completing assignments incorrectly or not at all, and engaging in obvious plagiarism. One undercover student submitted pictures of celebrities in response to essay questions and still passed the class. Another received an A on an assignment that was never submitted. After failing two multiple choice quizzes, another student was encouraged to cheat. Since the correct answers were displayed at the end of each quiz, the students could jot down the correct answers, then take the quiz again, and get a 100 percent on the second try.
Since federal aid to education started back under the Eisenhower Administration, we have poured nearly two trillion dollars into public schools and colleges. The announced goal of this spending was to increase scores on international tests and to close the gap between higher income and lower-income students. The money has made absolutely no progress toward achieving either one of those goals.