Justice of the Peace Stephen Walker’s courtroom on the Northwest side is packed several days a week with teenagers on the verge of dropping out of high school. Many sit next to their parents, who face charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Walker requires these troubled teens to finish their high-school education. But lately, more of them are coming back with suspicious sheepskins. “When we see this, we shake our heads and go, oh God, we got another one,” says Walker, who has started warning kids in his court to stay away from for-profit schools that claim to offer a quick high-school diploma. “From what we see, they are a diploma mill. You fill this out, give us your money and take this little test, and you got a diploma. That's not how education works."