Sunday, March 25, 2007
Interesting article in this week's Time: The College Rankings Revolt, by Julie Rawe:
Because in the race for consumers—er, students—few colleges, no matter how well endowed, are willing to risk their prestige by dropping out of what has become a hugely influential beauty contest, U.S. News & World Report's annual college rankings. Like many magazines—this one included—U.S. News compiles lists because, well, readers buy them, but lists can invite gamesmanship. This year, however, a small but growing number of schools are starting to fight back. Or preparing to fight back. O.K., contemplating fighting back. The heads of a dozen private colleges are waiting for the final draft of a letter they will probably sign and send within the next few weeks to their counterparts at 570 or so small to midsize schools asking whether they would be willing to pull out of the U.S. News survey, stop filling out part of it, stop advertising their ranking or, most important, help come up with more relevant data to provide as an alternative. Says an early draft: "By acting collectively, we intend to minimize institutional risk and maximize public benefit." Translation: We can't afford to go solo.