Demand-Side Solutions

More

An interesting article details efforts by some college administrators to sabotage the US News and World Report rankings by getting enough schools to agree to decline to provide the information they're asked for. It's a good idea. TheUS News rankings are a terrible farce and killing them off would be a good thing. This even seems like a reasonable tactic.

All that said, the very best way to deal a death-blow to this scheme would be for America's colleges and universities to work together and with third parties to try to come up with some meaningful metrics for higher education performance. All magazines make lists, but the reason the college rankings are such a hit is that there's nothing out there. Ordinal rankings are inherently kind of dumb, but higher education leaders both can and should come up with some kind of theory about what service they're providing to students and some method of measuring how well they're doing it. Since the schools don't do anything like this themselves, and since their lobbyists are wildly opposed to having the government do it, the upshot has been to outsource the function to a struggling newsmagazine that deploys screwy formulae to boost sales.

If the higher education community itself provided some kind of better product, then university presidents wouldn't find themselves under US News' thumb.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In