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Just as the US News 2013 ranking are about to be released we can add Emory to the list of institutions defrauding our trust. Some previous recipients of this distinction include Iona College, Baylor University, Claremont McKenna College, Hampshire College, University of Illinois Law School, and Villanova School of Law.

http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2011/12/01/iona-college-admits-to-inflating-rankings-data-for-9-years

The US News rating system has leveraged our ego-centric nature to “teach to the test”, i.e., the ends justify the means. Sad that some of the gatekeepers offering instruction as to how best to “lead an ethical life” violate their mission statements and our trust. (Have you read about the Atlanta School System’s coordinated response to attaining accolades to the “No Child Left Behind” initiative?)

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-06-Atlanta-schools-standardized-test-cheating_n.htm

The direct connection between the US. Department of Education, Moody’s bond ratings and the the requirement for accuracy of data submitted by institutions is used by US News as “assurance” that the data submitted is trustworthy. The logic being that the penalty [for submitting erroneous data] is greater than the reward [higher ranking].

Hopefully, the trend for college administrators and influencers to boycott these rankings increases and families’ skepticism of any ranking system finds fertile ground. Perhaps as we consider the importance of rankings, and our participation in supporting this very effective marketing tool, we can follow the philosopher/comedian Bob Newhart’s clear advise to “focus on two very important words”… STOP IT!.  http://youtu.be/Ow0lr63y4Mw

As with most choices, the pressure to live a life of authenticity proves to be a difficult challenge when compared to the ease of simply expressing the desire to be better.

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