What SAT Scores Say About Teacher Effectiveness

The SAT has been in the news again, this time because of the claim that test-optional policies are a way for colleges to covertly impose affirmative action. It’s true that such policies have created a two-tier system that allows colleges to accept more black and Hispanic students than would otherwise qualify for admission. But the … Continue reading “What SAT Scores Say About Teacher Effectiveness”


Tenure’s False Promise

Although tenure has been hotly debated over the years, it is still widely misunderstood as guaranteeing a professor a lifetime position. What happened in May to Joshua Katz, a classics professor at Princeton, calls into question this assumption and, by extension, raises a question about the rights of an individual in our legal system. Katz’s … Continue reading “Tenure’s False Promise”


The College Rankings Game: How Students and Parents Are Being Played

The college application season has long been notorious for the anxiety it instills in high school seniors, many of whom are seeking admission to schools they believe will determine their futures. This is why students and parents scrutinize the rankings that are released each year. They naïvely believe that these lists are gospel. What they … Continue reading “The College Rankings Game: How Students and Parents Are Being Played”


End Legacy Admissions

There was a time when the number of “legacy admits” at colleges was low enough overall that the practice was tolerated. But with elite schools now under immense pressure to diversify their student bodies, enrolling underachieving applicants largely because they are family of alumni is criticized by some as an unfair practice that perpetuates inequity in admissions. … Continue reading “End Legacy Admissions”


Vocational Education Goes to College

When the University of Georgia announced that “student success” would be heavily weighted in future tenure decisions, it opened the door to the possibility of a long-overdue change in college curricula. As long as students continue to say that a well-paying job ranks high in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, they will demand instruction … Continue reading “Vocational Education Goes to College”


Making a College Degree More Valuable the Wrong Way

It’s old news by now that the wage premium attached to a college degree largely depends on the field of study. Engineering and health care, for example, are far more likely to lead to a faster economic payoff than the arts or religion. But what if prospective employers were provided convincing evidence that graduates actually … Continue reading “Making a College Degree More Valuable the Wrong Way”


Regional Colleges Can Compete by Emphasizing Choosing the Right Major

The wage premium attached to a bachelor’s degree largely explains why high school graduates who would have previously looked for a job now apply to college. But they need to know up-front that what they major in has far more importance in landing a well-paying job than where they spend the next four years. For … Continue reading “Regional Colleges Can Compete by Emphasizing Choosing the Right Major”


The Last Refuge of Pure Meritocracy

Racial consideration for college admissions hearkens back to Grutter v. Bollinger, the landmark decision by the Supreme Court in 2003. It held that affirmative action programs can pass muster as long as they are “narrowly tailored” in order to achieve the “compelling interest” of promoting diversity on college campuses. Colleges across the country have since … Continue reading “The Last Refuge of Pure Meritocracy”


UCLA’s Discrimination Office Targeting Professor Threatens Academic Freedom

When a political science lecturer at UCLA read to his class Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and showed clips from a documentary on racism, he found himself in hot water. The reason: Both the letter and the documentary included the N-word. Many students complained, which in turn pitted UCLA against the … Continue reading “UCLA’s Discrimination Office Targeting Professor Threatens Academic Freedom”