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A Proposed College Rating System--Let It Go! Let It Go!

"A Proposed College Rating System--Let It Go!  Let It Go!"

June 18, 2014

In my February 18 blog, I reported that President Obama had proposed a postsecondary education rating system so that students and their families could have the information needed to select colleges and universities that have the best value.  This was an attempt on his part to combat rising college costs and make higher eduction more affordable to American families.  I spoke against such a rating system because it will not fairly represent the variety of higher education institutions that are available to students.  It would evolve into a national ranking system

I am pleased to report, four months later, that opposition to this proposed legislation continues to build.  Not only has there been push back from the higher education community, there is growing opposition from Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle.  A bipartisan pair of Congressmen, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia (Republican) and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts (Democrat), have introduced a resolution opposing the Obama administration's college rating system. They contend that the rating system is "reductionist" and warm that the government's ratings would "carry an image of validity that will mislead prospective students."

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate's Education Committee, said in a recent interview with Inside Higher Education that he would support an effort to prevent the Department of Education from developing the rating system.  But he said that such Congressional intervention likely wouldn't be necessary.  Alexander stated, "I expect the President's proposal for a college rating system will flop on its face."

Mr. President, with almost no support from the higher education community and with growing opposition on Capitol Hill, it is time to pull the postsecondary eduction institutions rating system proposal off of the table.  Perhaps Princess Elsa, in the Walt Disney children's animated musical film Frozen, offers the best advice when she sings--"Let it go!  Let it go!"

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant
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