The US News rankings are evil
Reckoning is finally coming
As I said in an editorial today, a reckoning is finally coming to the evil cartel that is the US News rankings in higher education. Three things have happened: a sharp Columbia professor showed that they were fudging the numbers they were sending in, and when it was corrected they dropped from #2 to #18 in the undergraduate rankings. Then law schools started finally standing up to the insidious incentives and system-gaming that went into creating the so-called “T-14,” which are the top 14 law schools in the arbitrary ranking. Now top medical schools are starting to do the same thing, including my home school at Washington University.
One example that shows how crazy it all is that didn’t make it into my piece is the fact that last year, after Columbia dropped in the undergrad ranking, Vanderbilt bragged about the fact that they moved up one spot, which was not because they did anything but because Columbia committed fraud. Congratulations to Vanderbilt!
This is important for science in several ways. First, with medical schools starting to take this step, it brings the whole conversation from the undergrad/law school world to many medical scientists. Second, it shows the distortion that these things can enact on scientific careers as trainees choose schools for the wrong reasons rather than going to a place where they can thrive. Third, it shows what a distraction this all is for administrators who should be doing more to make research more humane and worrying less about tyrannical scorecards. And more.
Calling on all other medical schools to jump in. The water is fine!