Education Secretary Miguel Cardona recently spoke at a conference with law deans from Yale and Harvard, urging an end to the obsession with U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings.
According to Cardona, abandoning a broken system is not enough, and a better one needs to be built for everyone. He also encouraged law schools to recruit and accept more students from historically Black colleges, Hispanic institutions, community colleges, and four-year institutions.
Cardona suggested that law schools should wear it like a badge of honor if it costs them a spot on the rankings in the name of equity.
Critics of the ranking system argue that it is more a measure of privilege than educational quality. In November, Harvard and Yale Law, along with the University of California, stopped participating in the rankings, claiming that the scores were biased against programs that aimed to increase socioeconomic diversity, support lower-income students, and encourage public service.
To placate schools that had pulled out, U.S. News & World Report announced a “series of modifications” to its ranking system in January. This move prompted other law schools, medical schools, and two undergraduate universities to also withdraw from the rankings.
U.S. News & World Report responded to Cardona’s remarks in an open letter, which suggested that requiring more data would “leave a lasting impact on students.”
The letter argued that U.S. News was a trusted authority in presenting complex information in a clear and accessible manner to students and the public. The rankings helped aspiring students ensure their career opportunities, earning potential, and quality of life.