Hey, I know things are bad. But there’s nothing wrong with distracting ourselves with a small dose of jingoistic revelry:

American universities again dominate the latest Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings as they have for the past six years. Released last Friday, almost a week earlier than expected, the rankings place US universities in all but three of the top 20 spots with Harvard, Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley in first, second and third spot, and the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Tokyo the only outsiders at fourth, 10th and 20th respectively. The top 10 universities are unchanged this year from the rankings drawn up in 2008.

Of the top 50 universities, 36 are US institutions although University College, London, came in at 21, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at 23, Japan’s Kyoto University at 24, Imperial College, London at 26, Toronto at 27, British Columbia at 36, Pierre and Marie Curie University – Paris 6 at 40, Manchester at 41, Copenhagen equal 43 with University of Paris Sud (Paris 11) and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute at number 50.

All the more reason to make sure our schools actually, you know, work.

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Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.