The same is true in many colleges and universities about teaching. Many place a premium on teaching without any clear criteria or evaluations. This is also true to a lesser (usually much lesser) degree on service. But the significance of publication is that students have a chance to work with those who are themselves engaged in research and writing, and they also work with those who keep up with the field.
I also have no idea where "lower standards" comes from. At least in my university--and others where I have taught--there is a pretty consistent correlation between publication and good teaching. Obviously that is not always true, but nothing is. This is not some absolute standard either way. And if getting past serious editing and reviewing is "lowering," I would have a difficult time knowing what would raise standards.  
It is simplistic--and mistaken--to denigrate publishing as if it were not of value. What should one teach? Should one reiterate forever, from yellowed notes, the ideas of one's own professors? The expectation of publication is one of several serious ways to offer students the kind of knowledge and experience they want and should have. What we ask of them is to write well, to think critically, and to develop distinctive theses. And to deal with our editing and evaluations. That is what is required of us also. Nor is it only to improve teaching. Universities are centers of discovery and knowledge in every field.
What is the logic or evidence for this judgment?

>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>02/19/13 10:45 AM >>>
    Common wisdom used to be that "publish or perish" promoted publication of much that might have been better left unpublished. It's not surprising that a system that places such a premium on publication for advancement could encourage lower standards that might not be the case if publication were only one of multiple paths to advancement.

    No doubt some sociologists or education doctorates have published studies to expose the effects of this premium on publication...

Ken A

On 2/18/2013 10:55 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:
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Of course sometimes it fails and sometimes people get degrees whose credentials are questionable.