SOURCE: Norton Norris

Norton Norris

March 03, 2011 12:15 ET

Norton|Norris: GAO Takes First Step in Admitting Bias Against For-Profit Colleges

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - Yesterday's memorandum from Comptroller General, Gene Dodaro, announcing the replacement of Greg Kutz, former Managing Director of the Forensic Audits and Special Investigations Unit (n/k/a Forensic Audits and Investigative Service Team, FAIS), who spearheaded the original GAO report against for-profit colleges and testified to its validity before the HELP committee in August, is a victory for all Americans seeking transparency and educational choice.

Dodaro's memorandum states that personnel changes within the department will "ensure greater attention to the issues that led to the need to produce the errata to the for-profit schools report and by the subsequent inspection."  It also stresses a greater need for FAIS to oversee its own investigations with "regular internal inspections and external peer reviews."

Norton|Norris, Inc. (Nn), a marketing, and training company based in Illinois that has conducted thousands of mystery shops at traditional colleges, graduate schools, online institutions, and career colleges throughout the U.S., led the charge to refute the GAO's revised report released in November that included, "major changes to 16 of 28 key investigative 'scenarios,'" even though the GAO spokesperson Chuck Young stated in an e-mail to the Washington Post, "Nothing changed with the overall message of the report, and nothing changed with any of our findings." Nn's report, GAO Bias Evident in Report to HELP Committee, was commissioned by the Coalition for Educational Success and can be read in its entirety here.

To determine its findings, Nn's mystery shop team spent a total of 164 hours reviewing the original 25 audio recordings that were made publicly available (5 of the recordings were missing). Nn found that that only 14 of the GAO's original 65 findings could be supported based upon the available recordings. The other alleged 41 findings were not valid and served no meaningful purpose to be included in the GAO report.

"The validity of our findings of bias by the GAO was questioned by some, but yesterday's announcement clearly indicates that without a doubt, our research has proven the GAO wrongfully claimed that there were systemic issues in the for-profit education sector," said Dr. Jean Norris, Managing Partner. "We believe all Americans deserve the right to choose the educational experience that works for them without interference from the Government. The attack on one sector, without holding all colleges to the same criteria, has no benefit except to advance a political and self-serving agenda."

Norris went on to say, "The GAO has taken the first step in admitting wrongdoing and now must publicly rescind the full report to prevent further references to this erroneous document."

To request an interview with Dr. Jean Norris, Managing Partner, contact her directly at (708) 478-1144 or jean@nortonnorris.com.

About Norton|Norris, Inc. (Nn)
Norton|Norris, Inc. (Nn) is a full-service marketing, training and communications firm dedicated to the education vertical. Founded in 1998, Nn provides consulting and innovative approaches to all facets of enrollment, including: direct mail (Print on Demand), creative services, radio/television production and placement, high school presentations, mystery shopping, eLearning, public relations, and training, featuring EnrollMatch -- the ethical enrollment process.

To view this release in a media-rich format, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2011/nortonnorris/gao/

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