Against U.S. News and World Report’s Educational Rankings


The U.S. News and World Report has long-produced rankings of post-secondary educational institutions in the U.S. and they recently have created rankings for high schools and—this year—elementary and middle schools.

On 108, I thought UTK Chancellor Donde Plowman struck the right note regarding the release of the 2022 rankings of post-secondary institutions:

We are not a great university because of our high-ranking programs. We have high-ranking programs because we are a great university.

I’d like to urge UTK and other institutions to take this a step further—to stop publicizing U.S. News’ rankings entirely. The K-12 rankings, like those at the post-secondary level, primarily measure characteristics of students and institutions that relate to affluence, a fact that runs counter to UTK’s aim (and the aim of many institutions) of broadly advancing access to education. Let’s discover other measures that highlight the good work being done based on the University’s own metrics for success.