From National Review:
Wed, December 16, 2020, 1:22 PM PST
Consider “Dr.” Jill Biden, who doesn’t even hold a Ph.D. but rather a lesser Ed.D., something of a joke in the academic world. President-elect Joe Biden once explained that his wife sought the degree purely for status reasons: “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,” Joe Biden has said.
Lots and lots of universities offer Ed.D. degrees in their education schools, and thus have something on their website explaining the difference between their ed school’s Ed.D. and its Ph.D. For example, from Northeastern U.:
A Doctor of Education (EdD) is a professional degree designed for practitioners pursuing educational leadership roles. A PhD in education, on the other hand, is designed to prepare graduates for research and teaching roles.
Keep in mind that even a Ph.D. in Education isn’t much. I looked up the Wikipedia page of the most famous graduate school of education, Harvard’s, and its three professors down through history whose names I recognize — Howard Gardner, Carol Gilligan, and Lawrence Kohlberg — all have doctorates in Psychology, not in Education.
So an Ed.D. is more like an MBA than a Ph.D. It’s not like a Ph.D. and it’s not really even like a J.D. or an M.D. which lead up a professional qualification exam. It’s like an MBA degree, which is a nice thing to have, but not exactly a status.
So if Jill is to be addressed as “Doctor Biden,” then I am to be henceforth addressed as “Maestro of Business Administration Steve.”
… Jill Biden’s dissertation is not an addition to the sum total of human knowledge.
An interesting question is why making fun of Doctor Jill’s claim to be a Doctor was broadly denounced as misogynistic. Presumably because women have more of these junk Ed.D. degrees than men do, although I couldn’t find any stats. I did find a 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates from the National Science Foundation which mentions in a methodological aside that the SED had recently thrown out 143 Ed.D. programs from their data sources, presumably for not being real doctoral degrees:
Time series data changes. After a multiyear review of Doctor of Education (EdD) degree programs
participating in the SED, 143 programs were reclassified from research doctorate to professional
doctorate over the 2010–11 period. No additional reclassifications of EdD degree programs are
planned. SED data are no longer being collected from graduates earning degrees from the reclassified EdD
programs, and this has affected the reporting of the number of doctorates awarded by sex, citizenship,
race, and ethnicity. Several figures in this report show a decline in number of degrees awarded from 2009
to 2011 (in particular, see figures D and F in the “Who earns a U.S. doctorate?” section and figure B in the
“Which fields attract students?” section). Readers should note that the declines from 2009 to 2010 and
from 2010 to 2011 are at least partly attributable to the EdD reclassification.