What Alma Matters?

by David Weigel

Over at Stats.org, Rebecca Goldin takes a scalpel to the Washington Monthly's new-ish (this is the feature's second year) College List, ranked by what the schools "are doing for the country."

“Each year,” says the Monthly, “Princeton receives millions of dollars in federal research grants. Does it deserve them? What has Princeton done for us lately? This is the only guide that tries to tell you.” The absurdity of this statement, from an academic point of view, is astounding. Research dollars are not given to Princeton for their commitment to social mobility and to community service. Research dollars are given to forward knowledge, whether through grants for the arts or grants for scientific discovery.

Read the whole thing.