Talking America’s Worst Colleges

As noted here earlier, WaMo is cosponsoring a live event today with the New America Foundation on the themes and questions raised by our first-ever listings of America’s Worst Colleges.

I suppose the first question is why talk about bad colleges in the first place? That’s the implied premise of all the “best colleges” listings that let readers figure out for themselves which schools don’t make the grade. But on the other hand, colleges that charge too much, saddle their students with unsupportable levels of debt, generate terrible dropout rates, and don’t seem to give those who do graduate the tools they need to find remunerative careers, are taking advantage not only of their young charges but of taxpayers who subsidize colleges in so many ways. That’s certainly the thinking behind the proposed new college rankings the Obama administration is developing, which will aim to clearly identify good and bad investments by parents, students and taxpayers. But identifying the “worst colleges” isn’t always easy, and how to go about it fairly will be one topic of discussion today.

Go here for info on today’s event, which will run from 9:30 – 11:00AM at the New America Foundation. You can find streaming video at that site, too. There will be an ongoing online conversation on Twitter, at #WaMoRankings; you should follow @WashMonthly and @NewAmerica as well.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.