Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 21, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

BACK TO SCHOOL....U.S. News & World Report publishes its university rankings every year, and every year people complain about them. So starting in 2005 we decided to do more than just complain, and instead came out with our own rankings — based not on reputation or endowment size, but rather on how much of a contribution each university actually makes to the country. This year's #1 school? Texas A&M. Washington Monthly editor Paul Glastris explains:

Surely, you might ask, we don't really think that Texas A&M is better than Princeton? Well, yes, in a way. Remember, we aren't trying, as U.S. News does, to rate how selective or academically prestigious a given school is, but rather how much it contributes to the common good. The whole point is to recognize the broader role colleges and universities play in our national life and to reward those institutions that best fulfill that role. After all, almost every major challenge America now faces — from stagnant wages to the lack of fluent Arab speakers in the federal government — could be met in part by better harnessing the power of our colleges and universities.

So instead of measuring, say, the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen, or the percentage of alumni who donate money, we rank colleges based on three criteria: social mobility, research, and service. In other words, is the school recruiting and graduating low-income students? Is it producing PhDs and cutting-edge research? And is it encouraging in its students an ethic of service? By this yardstick, Texas A&M really does outperform every other university in America (a nose ahead of UCLA and UC Berkeley).

The top ten national universities are listed below. Want to know how your alma mater did? The full list of national universities is here. The full list of liberal arts universities is here. We even have a short list of the country's top community colleges here.

Want to kvetch about our methodology? It's explained here. Enjoy!

Kevin Drum 12:34 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (109)

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Comments

California is the greatest.

Posted by: Jimm on August 21, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

As with the US News ratings, this is also bullshit and it does much more harm than good.

Posted by: Ba'al on August 21, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't there be a subtraction for the number of graduates who have made a contribution to the Bush admin.?

One interesting thing to note: A&M is high in ROTC and very low in Peace Corps. Not a good balance.

Posted by: natural cynic on August 21, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

My alma mater, currently enrolling more than 20,000 students, is nowhere to be found. Sigh. We suck.

(it's an open-enrollment, 4-year, teaching city college. yup, dirt-ridden plebes the lot of us).

:-(

Posted by: teece on August 21, 2007 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you know about them Aggies, they might be dumb as mud but they really do love America.

It's unfortunate though that Washington Monthly didn't give UT-Austin, my alma mater, extra points for keeping Jenna Bush off the streets (sort of) and giving the world the amazing acting talent of Matthew McConaughey.

Posted by: Jim D on August 21, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Texas A & M is a military school, hence the #4 ROTC ranking. The problem with such rankings is that each criterion is given equal rank to every other. The key is whether it is as important to have ROTC ranking or number of Peace Corps volunteers equal in rank to the other social or academic elements. Days of sunshine would be a nice criterion to add.

Posted by: Ernie Fazio on August 21, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

One more person complaining about ROTC.
Many of us pointed out last year that ROTC is hardly a force for good. You appear to have done buggerall with that information.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on August 21, 2007 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

It's all meaningless until these rankings start including the price of weed around the campus, for all grades of smoke, from dirt-weed schwag up to the sticky-icky kind bud.

Posted by: Anthropology Grad Student on August 21, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

a&m is a fascist entity.

any school that harbors and hides the bushit1 papers, any school that harbored bob gates, is a "spook" school.

more spooked than yale.

Posted by: albertchampion on August 21, 2007 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Viva California! The success of the UC system is all the more impressive when one understands that its budgets are routinely trimmed back, year after year. Much of the budget for the state of California is locked up in constitutionally mandated expenditures that are difficult if not impossible for the legislators to cut. The two biggest discretionary expenditures are: the UC system and prisons.

When Pete Wilson wanted to look tough with the expensive Three Strikes law, a good chunk of the funding for new prisons came directly from cuts to the UC system. Registration fees nearly tripled in just a couple of years so that we could jail people for life over stealing a piece of pizza.

Similarly, the Enron-orchestrated energy crisis effectively robbed from the UC system, too. Since 2001, the UC budget has been cut repeatedly; the $2.7 billion annual budget for 2005 is $530 million smaller than it was in 2001.

The Governator is strangling the goose that lays silicon eggs.

PS Anthropology Grad Student - the best and cheapest weed is almost certainly to be found at another UC, Santa Cruz.

Posted by: Augustus on August 21, 2007 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

the best and cheapest weed is almost certainly to be found at another UC, Santa Cruz.

Yes, but not in the same baggy.

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm quite proud to say my daughter starts at #2 Smith next week.

Posted by: KathyF on August 21, 2007 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

"It's all meaningless until these rankings start including the price of weed around the campus, for all grades of smoke, from dirt-weed schwag up to the sticky-icky kind bud."

Well, then, if we're judging by the quality of primo herb, then the top-ranked university in the country is a toss-up between Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA) and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

What are the rankings if we were to factor in the average cost of a case of cheap beer?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 21, 2007 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

Good to see my alma mater Cornell up there. And leading the Ivy League, too. Take that, Harvard!

Posted by: fostert on August 21, 2007 at 4:53 AM | PERMALINK

"... we aren't trying, as U.S. News does, to rate how selective or academically prestigious a given school is, but rather how much it contributes to the common good."

Typical woolly-headed socialist twittery.

Let me guess: the limousine liberals will use this rating when telling the little people which universities their kids should go to, while furtively thumbing the U.S. News & World Report for their own kids.

Posted by: am on August 21, 2007 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ranked #1 by a liberal magazine... now that's clutch.

Posted by: TexasAggie on August 21, 2007 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

WHOOP!!

Gig'em Aggies!!

Posted by: Dyonisius on August 21, 2007 at 7:25 AM | PERMALINK

Come on. Princeton gave us Rumsfeld, Frist, Alito,
Bolten, Richard Land, O'Hanlon, Judith Miller, ...
Its at the top of this list, too.

Posted by: bob h on August 21, 2007 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

I'm an army officer and a grad of the UT Austin nursing school. EV REE BODDY has always known that A&M instills much more cohesion and camaraderie among their students.
Its an Aggie thing the rest of us will never grasp. And for years the school has had a deserved reputation for its engineering and basic scientific research capabilities.
Giggem indeed!

Posted by: brad.obrien@us.army.mil on August 21, 2007 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

"Many of us pointed out last year that ROTC is hardly a force for good." And just like last year, I would like to point out that you are full of shit.

What ROTC does:
1)trains and educates a diverse cadre of future officers
2)provides scholarships so poor and middle class kids can attend college

What ROTC doesn't do:
1)craft and administer US foreign policy
2)establish DOD policy

If anyone would like to argue that having a military is inherently immoral or that the US military in particular is evil then they should make that case. Attempting to assign the failings of politicians and the population as a whole to ROTC cadets is douche baggery of the highest order.

Posted by: Barton Hall on August 21, 2007 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

This is terrific and, as a proud UCLA graduate, I will be posting this in my prep school classroom so that my students will have a greater sense of why going to college matters.

Posted by: Stacy on August 21, 2007 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

How much of TA&M's research is devoted to Big Ag? I think your survey ought to distinguish between research that contributes to the common good and research that benefits, say, only a handful of cotton growers.

Big Ag is already heavily subsidized and rewarded by the political structure, whereby low population states have single-interest agricultural bases. The university research structure only adds to this imbalance.

Please, look a little closer at your methods and come up with a system that rates the type of research.

Posted by: esaund on August 21, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

How very bemusing. I do like it when you remind one that you are wooley leftist after all.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on August 21, 2007 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

My alma mater UCSD finally gets its just rewards.

However, the presence Texas A&M at the top taints this a bit. Texas A&M? Does he know where it is? Come on!

Posted by: gregor on August 21, 2007 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Wahoo! Go Aggies!

OTGDDCC, I was doing some opo-research last night and came across a gold mine. I knew liberals were behind this glacier retreat thing and now they've been caught in the act. Greenpeace now freely admits that they're using the body heat of nude hippies to accellerate the melting of mountain glaciers. This would also explain why the glacier in Mt. St. Helens is advancing. It's a restricted area and the nude hippies can't get past the rangers. Anyway, you'll have to find the links on your own as I don't link to porn.

Posted by: Al on August 21, 2007 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

"What ROTC doesn't do:
1)craft and administer US foreign policy
2)establish DOD policy

If anyone would like to argue that having a military is inherently immoral or that the US military in particular is evil then they should make that case. Attempting to assign the failings of politicians and the population as a whole to ROTC cadets is douche baggery of the highest order.
"

What ROTC does do:
Implement US policy.

We've had what, 160 years now of history that shows us that the US military is rarely a force for good. We've 60 years since the cold war showing us that a standing army is indeed subject to all the pathologies and corruption Eisenhower warned about.
The fact that the Pentagon calls itself the department of defence doesn't make that claim true.

Claiming you were just following orders wasn't good enough at Nuremberg and it isn't good enough here. When you sign up to the military, you are implicitly saying that you are quite OK with continuing the tradition of the Mexican-America war, the Spanish-American war, Vietnam, and now Iraq, to give just the greatest hits of the US military injustice parade.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on August 21, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Gee. Kevin Drum of CalPundit says 50 percent of the top ten schools in the country are in California. How fucking suprising.

Posted by: Pat on August 21, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

After all, almost every major challenge America now faces from stagnant wages to the lack of fluent Arab speakers in the federal government could be met in part by better harnessing the power of our colleges and universities.

While this is undoubtedly true, it is highly unlikely that Texas A&M would play any such role in solving those challenges or even having an interest in them.

Generally, I like these statistics, even though some of the standards are dubious-- really, "different between predicted/actual grad rates", gives easier universities a big advantage over more challenging universities (Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and University of Chicago take large hits in their rankings over this standard).

Posted by: Tyro on August 21, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Glad to see my two alma maters made significant improvements, the U. of Maryland, College Park (undergrad) from #79 to #52, and Iowa State U. (graduate) from #38 to #21. To higher education as a vehicle for soclai mobility!

Was also pleased that 20 of the top 26 slots went to public institutions; I haven't seen the U.S. News list, but I doubt six public colleges made its top 26. No doubt such news would scare the Ivy League power structure out of its wits.

Posted by: Vincent on August 21, 2007 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ratings of whatever sort are flawed. If someone looking for a college wants to use these as a supplement for their own analysis, then USNews is no worse than this one. I liked the rating system of a friend's daughter who reacted to the pressure of parental need for a "good" school. During her visits (parent choices: Penn, Swarthmore, Tufts, Williams etc. all good schools) she devised an earphone index. The more students she saw wearing personal entertainment devices, the more likely she was to attend. She went to Syracuse (Swarthmore was a zero; she said all those kids had with them were books) and is now in a Ph.D. program.
That's at least as good a rating system as either of these.

Posted by: TJM on August 21, 2007 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Just one comment about #23. Isn't Whitman college in Washington State, not MA? I'm proud to live in MA, but I think the wonderful Whitman college is on the other coast,in Walla Walla, according to the great and wise Loren Pope, author of Colleges That Change Lives.

Posted by: jan on August 21, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Texas A & M? Surely NOT! A&M graduates wingnuts! EX Senator Tower was employed there to teach Economics; he taught, probably, 'trickle down theory'. Gov. Rick Perry, elected with 35% of vote is an A&M graduate. A&M is distinguished with thieves and weirdoes as alumni.

No I am not a Longhorn, graduated from St. Mary’s University!

Posted by: Captain Dan on August 21, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

">... quality of primo herb, then the top-ranked university in the country is a toss-up between Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA)"

Welllll... my alma mater had to be ranked #1 in something.

Posted by: Buford on August 21, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Two thoughts on methodology with respect to the research category:

First, I wonder why two of the research components are related to science and engineering while the third is the number of graduates who go on to get a Ph.D. in any field? Not to denigrate Ph.D.s in, say, political science, but I don't think that someone like Paul Wolfowitz has really contributed toward the common good. I'm half-kidding, of course, but if the goal of the research category is to represent America's global competitiveness, I'm not sure that the last measure is useful.

Second, not all research funding in the sciences and engineering is equal. My alma mater, Johns Hopkins, is ranked at the top of the research funding list, beating out MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and everyone else. How might this be? It's largely due to the Applied Physics Laboratory, which pulls in almost $700 million annually from the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. How much of that research is contributing to the common good, as we generally think of it? A great deal, I'm sure, but much of it is very far from pure research. You might get a better measure in this area by including the number of patents that a university produces per year.


Posted by: RSA on August 21, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

As a graduate of Yale and Caltech, I am deeply embarrassed that my two schools got penalized for not achieving their predicted graduation rates of 101 percent and 104 percent, respectively.

Posted by: Foo Bar on August 21, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

ROTC enrollment as a measurement of Public Service? That reeks of what you often criticize the MSM for doing -- setting up false equivalencies between two sides of a story (got Serving Peace... better give Serving War equal weight....)

Why not just go all the way and rank the colleges for the number of souls saved and abortions prevented?

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. 3/5 of the top 5 are UC schools. California dreaming indeed.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on August 21, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I'm extremely happy to see the nation's number one school in the study of wine and wine technology, UC Davis, on list. Nothing contributes more to the common good than a good bottle of wine.


Posted by: Chuck Miller on August 21, 2007 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

The A&M student body certainly leans conservative, but some of us make it out of there with our liberal values strengthened. The Corp of Cadets numbers less than 2,000 of the more than 45,000 undergraduates attending A&M, and only 39% of the Corp go on to actually serve in the military. The research conducted by the University covers a wide variety of fields, not just agri-business, and in fact the agricultural research it does substantially benefits small farmers (see the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, for example). For a flavor of the type of research done at A&M see Advance magazine which includes a research paper titled "Tip of an Iceberg: The Military Faces Accountability Issues in Dealing With Prisoner Abuse."

A&M is also home to one of the nation's largest chapters of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity that focuses on community service and volunteerism.

And Captain Dan, you are thinking of Sen. Phil Gramm, not Sen. John Tower. Tower taught at SMU, not A&M. And Phil taught at A&M in the late 1960s early 70s before being elected, as a Democrat, to Congress in 1978.

Posted by: Mark on August 21, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

interesting article.

Posted by: John on August 21, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

TJM: (Swarthmore was a zero; she said all those kids had with them were books)

I do hope that that is irony.

Posted by: thersites on August 21, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Well, UC Davis has helped a wee bit with the equine community as well.

But, glad to see UC, Crosby, Stills and Nash still leads the way in "weed" research.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 21, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

If you are to measure the added value to the country, then you should focus on the students before and after college- how did the college improve their lives over what the lives of their parents were. You do capture some of this in the first category, but it is a very imperfect measure.

The research categories just seem silly to me since they don't take into account what kinds of research the dollars are spent on, and don't account for what kinds of doctorates are being rewarded by the schools.

As for the service categories, I don't really see what value is added by ROTC or Peace Corp service. These have very little participation by students as a whole, even in the top ranked universities in these categories, and yet they seem to have equal weight to other categories.

All in all, I find your methodology to be pretty useless. It would seem to me that this was compiled in about a couple of days using Google searches and spreadsheets.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on August 21, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

(I want to post a response to these rankings, but my response is too long to fit in one comment box.)

Part I:

Your rankings, yet again, are extremely poor and almost nonsensical. No sensible high school student should make a decision to attend a given college based upon them. Let me note at the outset that I believe that all universities, including my alma mater, are flawed. I am not being paid to "shill" for any party except that of reason and common sense- because your methodology defies both.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique, Princeton '07 on August 21, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Anything that rates the University of Chicago (32nd?!?!) above dead last has a flawed methodology.

Posted by: calling all toasters on August 21, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

(okay, I think it has to do with the presence of html in my comments. I'm taking all my references out, but am happy to provide them if requested).

Part II:

First, you unfairly hit schools like Princeton with your emphasis on Pell Grant receipts in calculating "Social Mobility." Unlike most colleges on your list, Princeton covers an accepted applicant's full demonstrated need with grants, not loans, obviating the necessity for its students to take out Pell Grants or student loans to begin with. Its innovative aid program puts it light years ahead of most higher ed institutions. Only 8% of students receive Pell Grants because the University covers so much of the cost. An accurate ranking of schools based on the efficacy of their financial aid programs would place institutions such as Princeton and Harvard (where parents with total incomes below $60,000 pay nothing) near the top of the list.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique, Princeton '07 on August 21, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Second, your service criteria is logically flawed and in conflict with your "Social Mobility" criteria. You reward schools that send students into the Peace Corps, based (I would surmise) upon the assumption that such work is inherently "noble," "virtuous," and "good for the country." Okay, but is it any more "virtuous" for a graduate to join the Peace Corps than to matriculate into law school and afterward become a public defender or practice civil rights and poverty law? Indeed, is it really any better for the country if a student goes into the Peace Corps versus working for Morgan Stanley and other investment banks (which so many of my classmates do)? The answer, in fact, is that what you value isn't really any better than what you don't account for (or tacitly penalize). There is a strong defense to be mounted in support of students who go into investment banking: we are a capitalist society and, as a former president once suggested, "the business of America is business." If many graduates of a school choose Wall Street over a service-oriented employer, they are only helping sustain capitalism. They should not be penalized for following the logic of our market economy: go to the employer that pays you the most. I write that with a straight face. Unless the Washington Monthly is competing for the subscription base of the New Left Review (i.e. actually question the foundations of capitalism itself), it shouldn't value "service" over "selling-out." "Selling-out" to the Man may in fact be a far more progressive post-graduation choice within a market-centric socio-economic milieu than joining the Peace Corps or a similarly oriented service organization. Surely a magazine that is run by a former member of the Clinton administration can see that if an anti-business / money-making / capitalist attitude is an ineffective posture for the Left to have with respect to crafting public policy, it is surely a spurious one to employ when assessing universities.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique, Princeton '07 on August 21, 2007 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Whitman has enough trouble already from people who get it mixed up with Whitworth or Whittier. They could do without any further confusion.

Posted by: aretino on August 21, 2007 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

This is a very interesting set of categories, charting features we should value. The predicted vs actual graduation rate is important: Reed College, from this point of view, has always seemed like a money pit and continues to rank low here. I'm very grateful to have this information.

Dan Tompkins

Posted by: dan Tompkins on August 21, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

This is a very interesting set of categories, charting features we should value. The predicted vs actual graduation rate is important: Reed College, from this point of view, has always seemed like a money pit and continues to rank low here. I'm very grateful to have this information.

Dan Tompkins

Posted by: dan Tompkins on August 21, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Part IV:

Let me conclude by drawing your attention to a final flaw of your project: the contradiction between the purported aim of your rankings and one criterion you have employed. According to Paul Glastris' comment in this issue of the magazine (you can find this easily on this website) the magazine's "aim is to offer an alternative to the U.S. News & World Report and similar college guides." Glastris is clearly referring to US News' rankings of undergraduate institutions, a point that is made clear by his phrase "similar college guides." If he also meant that magazine's ranking of graduate institutions, he would referred more clearly to "universities." If one was designing a riposte to a college guide, one would expect that you would be assessing the strength of the undergraduate program. Yet, your research criteria is not an assessment of the undergraduate program, but rather is substantially an evaluation of the graduate school: how many Ph.Ds are awarded, how much grant money the school receives. These criteria may arguably be important to assessing a university's health as a whole, but by no stretch of the imagination can they be relevant to assessing the strength of the undergraduate program. Many great undergraduate schools, such as Swarthmore, Haverford, and Wellesley, do not have any or have very few graduate programs. Yet your rankings would seem to penalize them.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique, Princeton '07 on August 21, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Part V (in conclusion):

I think we can agree that the US News rankings are silly. But yours aren't any better- and they might even be worse. If I were to give one piece of advice to a rising high school senior, I would tell him or her to ignore the machinations of both magazines attempting to capitalize (literally, by selling more issues) upon our cultural anxiety surrounding undergraduate admissions and think instead about what would be the best environment for cultivating their individual needs and talents.

Sincerely,

Asheesh Siddique

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique, Princeton '07 on August 21, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I noticed that my alma mater, Missouri State University (ne Southwest Missouri State University) is nowhere to be found.

Any reason for that omission?

It's a damn big school (around 17,000 students -- 20K when I was there) and I'd think it'd be included somewhere. Or did it score that low that is wasn't worth mentioning?

Sadly, that wouldn't exactly shock me ... although it would rank quite high in affordable kind bud (pun acknowledged, not intended).

Posted by: Mark D on August 21, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

My first college, from which I did not graduate, is high on the liberal arts list. Universities that granted grad degrees to everybody in my family are high on the list. The liberal arts college that gave me a grad degree dropped rank (Mills) - I wonder why...

I like this ranking system, thank you. But of course parents and students will be weighing real factors like curriculum, teachers, social life, location, cost, etc. for themselves, not just relying on number crunching. I hope.

Posted by: Leila A. on August 21, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Princetontonian, only 8% of students recieve a Pell Grant because only 8% have incomes low enough to get one.

Posted by: B on August 21, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Just a final point: in my response, I made a reference that joining an investment banking firm may be a fine and progressive thing to do and also good for the country. I meant to link to two articles about this, but couldn't. Here they are

http://campusprogress.org/features/734/six-figure-sellouts

and


http://campusprogress.org/soundvision/1658/in-defense-of-the-sellout

If these don't show up, readers can go to campusprogress.org, and search for "sell out" and they should find these articles.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique, Princeton '07 on August 21, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Whitman - Yes

But, simply Walla Walla would have drawbacks.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 21, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

"Sorry, Princetontonian, only 8% of students recieve a Pell Grant because only 8% have incomes low enough to get one."

The bar for pell grants is, clearly, artificially low, and doesn't reflect the real economic problems the country faces (i.e. middle-class squeeze). The point is that there isn't any reason to get a Pell Grant in the first place to come to Princeton. The University covers the cost. This is surely a more innovative program than most colleges in this country, but you wouldn't know that from the Monthly's rankings.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique on August 21, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Are the historical lists maintained online? I'm curious to see whether certain schools have dropped in rank due to declining standards or lower rates of increases in standards.

#5 Class of '97

Posted by: Aaron on August 21, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Note also that the Princeton Review this year named the University No. 1 in the category of "Students Happy with Financial Aid." It is also notable that the Monthly's criteria does not include any measurement of student indebtedness, which is surely relevant to measuring social mobility. According to US News, Princeton was first among its peers for students graduating with the least amount of debt.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique on August 21, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

The point is that there isn't any reason to get a Pell Grant in the first place to come to Princeton.

If you are low income and get into Princeton they will require you to fill out FAFSA. If you fill out FAFSA and you meet the guidelines you will get a Pell Grant.

Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, etc. all do an admirable job on the financial aid front. However, poverty level students either don't apply, don't get in, or don't accept. Stanford does a little better, but they don't compare that well to the UC system.

Posted by: B on August 21, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

"If you are low income and get into Princeton they will require you to fill out FAFSA. If you fill out FAFSA and you meet the guidelines you will get a Pell Grant."

And why would you accept it if Princeton will cover all your cost? This is why the Bush administration's inability to bolster Pell Grant money didn't affect Princeton students. Click on the URL link on my name.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique on August 21, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Generally, when someone repeatedly signs off with their graduation year and/or degrees received in a blog comment, I tend to ignore the comment entirely.

Especially when they are long missives. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Tyro on August 21, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

From the March 26, 2004 edition of the Daily Princetonian:

At a time when many college students across the country face the prospect of rising tuition, President George W. Bush's proposed budget for the 2005 fiscal year has called for an increase in the Federal Student Loan limit for freshmen. The proposed budget has done little, however, to bolster Pell Grants and other programs aimed at low-income students.


These changes will have little impact on Princeton students due to the University's policy of replacing loans in the initial financial aid package with grants and its commitment to meeting the full demonstrated need of every student, director of undergraduate financial aid Don Betterton said.

"We give so little in the way of loans that these issues don't strike at Princeton immediately," he said. "In the first two years only about 15 percent of the students take out loans, and even though this number goes up a little when students enter eating clubs all students have the opportunity to graduate debt free."

Posted by: asheesh siddique on August 21, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Pell grants at Princeton? - And, I thought the Norman Rogers Foundation was doing the heavy lifting of fledgling Tigers.

But, glad to see, for a very close best friend of mine, that UCLA rated high - However, sorry about Mills, as she has always followed the concepts of "Know who you are and what you stand for".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 21, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Dear Tyro: I think it is good for people to be aware of one's biases.

With that, I think the point has been made: these rankings are flawed. Good day.

Posted by: Asheesh Siddique on August 21, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I am a graduate of Texas A&M and a graduate student at UT-Austin and I think people should be more focused on getting kids into college and trying to increase the population of America that is college-educated.

There are always be flaws in ranking, and I'll be the first to admit: A&M is not the #1 overall school in America. I (of course being biased in my collegiate alma mater) hope one day it is, but of course, don't we all?

Have a great day,

Vince

Posted by: Vincent on August 21, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

And why would you accept it if Princeton will cover all your cost?

Princeton will not turn down federal funds for these students. If you refuse a Pell Grant for some bizarre reason I don't think Princeton will reward the decision by increasing your grant. Go ahead and ask Princeton FA if you like.

All I'm saying is that Pell Grant percentage is a pretty good measure of low income enrollment. Princeton might have amazing middle class enrollment. If your family is in the 50-60k range it looks like they probably give you the best deal out there.

Posted by: B on August 21, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

What are the rankings if we were to factor in the average cost of a case of cheap beer?
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 21, 2007 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

UW Madison @ #1, of course!

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 21, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Asheesh,

Maybe I've figured out the source of the misunderstanding. Pell Grants are grants. They do not have to be repaid.

Posted by: B on August 21, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

How frustrating--it's excellent--it really is, and maybe we don't realize how much so--that this country has such a diversity of "higher education". But since in so many ways, these are apples to oranges comparisons, rankings of any kind are extremely artificial and yet get "set in stone" somehow.

One thing some people often don't realize is that if you are a "lower income" or "middle income" student and you can get into an "elite", well-endowed, school, you may end up paying LESS than going to a state university where financial aid is often less generous. True, the "rack rate" at these schools is completely outrageous, but it also seems that people don't grasp how many students aren't paying the "rack rate". Speaking of Princeton, it has pretty much replaced student loans with grants and families with incomes in about the mid $40s or lower don't have to pay anything. That is, aid packages cover tuition, room and board, and expenses, with no loans (although I assume work/study still exists). Sure, lots of wealthy people still go to schools like that--but these days, it's more an issue of access to preparation and social clumping than money, per se, so when slamming elitist colleges, it would be nice if the slammers keep with the times.

Posted by: JMS on August 21, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think WAY too many people are reacting here to A&M's reputation -- and not the reality of A&M.

I went there. It hosts some of the biggest geek conventions in the state (AggieCon and NovaCon). I stumbled across Vampire LARPers in the commons, had friends in the Corp, and roomed with a baseball player in the honors dorm. Heck, I knew two people that were part of A&M's surprising bdsm scene.

And then I flunked out, because the one thing I didn't expect at A&M was a freakin' tough science and math department.

I took a year off to grow up a bit, and got my Bachelor's than my Master's elsewhere, in a program that's well-rated, but nothing near A&M.

It's a damn friendly school, they entire school spirit is based on inclusiveness and camadarie, and despite being the butt of "dumb Aggie" jokes (which they proudly embrace), is a very challenging school.

I'm not sure I'd rate it number 1 by the article's criteria, but I wasn't surprised at all to see it in the top 10.

Posted by: Morat20 on August 21, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, is the school recruiting and graduating low-income students? Is it producing PhDs and cutting-edge research? And is it encouraging in its students an ethic of service? By this yardstick...

Possibly the stupidest criteria for rating whther an undergrad should go to a certain university I have ever seen.

Posted by: John Hansen on August 21, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

thersites, she gave Swarthmore a zero in her earphone index, i.e., none of the students were listening to an iPod (e.g.)whilst walking about. All they carried were books meaning they were all grinds.
They're proud to be grinds there at the Kremlin on the Krum.

Posted by: TJM on August 21, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Looks to me like Princeton does a damn good job at teaching its students to move goalposts.

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

she gave Swarthmore a zero in her earphone index, i.e., none of the students were listening to an iPod (e.g.)whilst walking about. All they carried were books meaning they were all grinds.

I think we all get that -- she was looking for a party school -- which is why thersites was hoping for irony.

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

"If you refuse a Pell Grant for some bizarre reason I don't think Princeton will reward the decision by increasing your grant."

This isn't true, from personal experience: Princeton is very willing to give you full coverage, as it was to me when my family didn't want to take a Pell Grant. There's another point to be made here: the Monthly isn't measuring a lot of other types of service, like community service. How much are colleges and universities encouraging students while they're still in college to engage in community service? That seems to be a sensible thing to consider.

Posted by: Princeton Class of 2010 on August 21, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

It is pretty ridiculous that these rankings don't take into account student debt. This is probably the most pressing issue for college students today, and it is pretty clear to me that if the university in question can't keep the debt burden on its graduates low it isn't doing a very good job of being a public stewards. Graduates in debt will have difficulty taking low-paying public or community service jobs after graduation.

Posted by: michigan '06 on August 21, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I am surprised at how well my alma mater (Stanford) did, in light of the fact that it got dragged down by its very low ROTC ranking, because ROTC programs have been banned from campus since 1969, and, back when I was there (1980-84), ROTC students had to schlep across the Bay to UC Berkeley.

Posted by: Marc in Denver on August 21, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Monthly's service rankings are biased in favor of the Peace Corps, clearly because the founder of the magazine, Charles Peters, was heavily involved in the Peace Corps during the 1960s- a disclosure that you don't make in your rankings. But what about organizations like Teach for America? NYC Teaching Fellows? Your rankings don't account for schools that send a lot of graduates into these programs. A lot of Princeton students join these programs. If you did account for these, things would shape up differently.

Additionally, there is a problem with the value that you place on ROTC programs. I applaud people who serve in the military. But you must realize that the ROTC program is discriminatory against homosexuals. Thus, gay students who may want to join ROTC will have a great deal of difficulty. Is it really fair to emphasize a criteria that as it is currently constituted is highly discriminatory? If having students involved in the ROTC counts positively for a college's service evaluation, isn't it unfair to penalize schools where many students may be gay and thus ineligible to join openly, or where many students may adhere strongly to the value of tolerance- a value that, as a liberal magazine, I would expect the Monthly to promote- and thus not want to take part in a homophobic program?

Posted by: princeton '04 on August 21, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's a bit sad that so many Princeton alum feel so deeply attacked because some list somewhere doesn't identify them as the greatest, most ingenious people of all time. It's a reflection of the fact that elite colleges are about branding at least as much as they're about education, and Princeton alum feel like their number one brand is under attack from some young upstart.

The reality is that, at least among a hundred or so colleges and universities, you'll have top flight students and researchers (whether or not the researchers are any good at teaching is another matter.) And simply put, if you stripped away all identifying information--posters with the college name, university attire--and plunked a student down at any of these schools, he'd have little ability to tell the difference in quality of students between Harvard and Berkeley and UVA, or Swarthmore and Kenyon College. In that sense, these rankings are mostly nonsense.

On the other hand, it's fun to see princeton grads launch into hissy fits.

Posted by: Brad on August 21, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Brad, I don't think you've made a substantive response to my point or any of the other critics of these rankings. I don't feel "deeply attacked"; however, I do feel that a national magazine is promoting a shoddy article based on spurious research. What you've seen here are commentators raising serious criticisms of these rankings. How do you address the fact that the definition of "service" used by the magazine is laughably narrow? How do you address the fact that the magazine rewards participation in a program that is excluding of homosexual students? Nobody has suggested that the Monthly's rankings have anything to do with the "quality of students"- because they don't. The issue the magazine is dealing with is clear: how well are our colleges and universities serving the nation? What's unfortunate- and what is being criticized- is the fact that they have done such a poor job of answering the question.

Posted by: princeton '04 on August 21, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Damn,

Reading these Princeton commenters is like reading the comments on a CFB fan board after some ESPN analyst calls there team "overrated."

Brad, you are spot on. It's all about branding.

Posted by: Desmo on August 21, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, have problems with the omission of Teach for America. My own institution is a major contributor to TFA ranks, and has also been one of the leaders in the Alternative Spring Break movement, yet neither of these strengths register in your rankings. Not that I'm lobbying ;-); I'm sure that other schools have their own, equally valid complaints. But it does indicate that considerably less than careful thought has gone into putting these rankings together. The US News rankings at least use fairly comprehensive measures, even though they notoriously measure inputs rather than outcomes, they're easy to game, and their weighting formula is both nonsensical and arbitrary. If, say, percentage of Peace Corps alumni was a measure *really highly* correlated with interest in public service generally, it might make sense, but I suspect otherwise [TFA applications are probably highly correlated with Schools of Education, for that matter]. Finally, if the goal here is to encourage colleges and universities to think more about their public-service obligations, this approach doesn't really make sense. It fails to reward schools for a lot of what they do right, and [if this were to catch fire] it would encourage schools to game the system by boosting certain kinds of service at the expense of other kinds that might be more appropriate to their own strengths.

Posted by: David on August 21, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I hope all these snotty Princeton people end up in jobs where they have to work under graduates of state universities.

Please.

(And I'm not saying this out of any inherent anti-Princeton feeling; it and Dartmouth are my two favorite Ivies, because neither has a law school.)

Posted by: Vincent on August 21, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I hope all these snotty Princeton people end up in jobs where they have to work under graduates of state universities.

It has happened. I'm state-school educated and I've had Ivies under me in the lab - plus, to add insult to injury...I went to college on a ROTC scholarship.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 21, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

How do you address the fact that the definition of "service" used by the magazine is laughably narrow?

How do you address the fact that after 4 years at Princeton you don't know the difference between a fact and an opinion?

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

How do you address the fact that after 4 years at Princeton you don't know the difference between a fact and an opinion?

How do you address the fact that in colloquial English, "fact" and "opinion" are often used interchangably- as they were here?

Posted by: princeton '04 on August 21, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

Stats.org has offered some pretty damning criticisms of the monthly's rankings. See stats.org/stories/STATS_reponds_monthly-sept05_06.htm

Posted by: Johnie on August 21, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

LMAO @ Princeton '04.

So, IOW, accounting for your sloppy Princeton-learned English (I expect that you also use "literally" to mean "figuratively" and "ironic" to mean "coincidence"), your question decodes to:

How do you address my opinion that the definition of "service" used by the magazine is laughably narrow?

Do you really want to stick with that? Doesn't sound so dramatic (not to mention relevant) without the added pigeon English flourish, does it? Perhaps you would like yet another chance to move the goalposts?

Here's some free advice: Learn to write what you intend to write.

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some free advice, Disputo: leave the thinking up to the elites, because if idiots like you were in charge, this country would be even more screwed up than it already is. Indeed, your snobbery at the usage of a colloquial expression ("the fact that") belies the fact that elitism transcends alma mater. I didn't realize the Monthly's commentators were so clueless.

Get a life.

Posted by: princeton '04 on August 21, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

leave the thinking up to the elites,

Thank you for exposing to the world what a true asshole you are.

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

[Sock Puppet for Princeton '04]

So, IOW, accounting for your sloppy Princeton-learned English (I expect that you also use "literally" to mean "figuratively" and "ironic" to mean "coincidence"), your question decodes to:

How do you address my opinion that the definition of "service" used by the magazine is laughably narrow?
Do you really want to stick with that? Doesn't sound so dramatic (not to mention relevant) without the added pigeon English flourish, does it? Perhaps you would like yet another chance to move the goalposts?

can someone explain to me what's wrong with using colloquialisms? Disputo, I think you're just being a turd. Stick to substantive points.

Posted by: John on August 21, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for exposing to the world what a true asshole you are.

At least I haven't demonstrated my hatred for colloquial English. Go play in a microwave, bastard.

[You are starting to really annoy me. Didn't you learn any manners at Princeton? Or do they not extend to the hoi polloi? --Mod]

[Regular readers, be aware that John, Yalie, tfa corpsmember, johnnie - are all from this IP]

Posted by: princeton '04 on August 21, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

leave the thinking up to the elites

What an utterly appalling statement. Are you certain you want to stand by that? I am not an "elite" but I am perfectly capable of thinking for myself, thank you. If pressed, I can even do so critically!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 21, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, no... the Princeton sock-puppet mafia is pelting me with childish insults... I'm so scared....

"Get a life," indeed.

The irony is killing me.

Posted by: Disputo on August 21, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

But how good is the weed at Princeton?

Posted by: Topic Drift on August 21, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK
But how good is the weed at Princeton?

Well, if the princeton '04 is any indication, not so good.

Just so many bad vibes coming from that dude's aura, man. I mean when you ... uh ... um ... anyone got some Funyuns?

Posted by: Mark D on August 21, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

This might be a good thread to show to potential Princeton students.

Posted by: B on August 21, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

I have already bookmarked the page to show to any and all who make Ivy league noises in my presence. It was the "leave the thinking to the elites" that really set my teeth on edge.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 21, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

You'd have to be totally hopeless as a college administrator or faculty to screw up the Ivy League schools or their premier competitors. They automatically get the best, most motivated students. The schools get about 3% of the credit for what is done.

Posted by: freelunch on August 21, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

On people who dislike the ROTC: Where do you plan to get officers? West Point, where they will be exposed to all sorts of diverse liberal influences? Or the residuum of bad, right-wing schools where you would recruit them?

My credentials as a woolly liberal are damn good, but I also know enough about military politics to know that a semi-educated, insular military is a recipe for bad things from torture to coups. A military with a strong and diverse officer corps is the antidote. That is why Rumsfeld & co put so much effort into promoting semi-educated fundamentalists (and worse) in the ranks. I can only speculate as to why a lot of leftists would like to reinforce this trend.

Anti-ROTC snobbery is infantile- opposing ROTC has no effect on things like the status of gays or the invasion of [pick your country, we have enough targets]. But insofar as universities get rid of ROTCs, they increase the chances our military will turn into the sort of clannish antidemocratic monster most Republicans want to see.

Posted by: Scott on August 21, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

This ranking clearly measures something. As such, it is surely a good measure of what it measures well. That said, let's see: South Carolina State University (which one? it is a system) ranks number 10? Surely by this measure, especially with the aggregate numbers of research dollars, etc rather than computing on a per student basis, SUNY must score more highly??? Or perhaps the University of California (including all of Berkeley, LA, SB, SC, etc)????

Seriously, as the later post points out, per student measures of many of these things are relevant too: certainly the quantity of research done, as measured by federal grants, is an important thing too: but that could be taken into account too: unfortunately, as far as measuring service, there are lots of universities (most land grants, for example) who do badly on typical research measures, but provide immense service to communities: Clemson, for example, has hundreds of faculty who have a public service component (agriculture, education, outreach, etc) to their job descriptions. None of this is federally supported (most of it is not even state supported) so it doesn't show up on the rankings, and yet it is a typical example of a university trying to serve its community.

N.

Posted by: Neil on August 21, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Texas A&M is a great place to go for a very unique experience and a very well respected college education. Gig'em!

Posted by: Alberto P. (Class '03) on August 22, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Whoop!

?Dr. Borlaug (a professor at Texas A&M) has saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived, and likely has saved more lives in the Islamic world than any other human being in history.?

http://jurisdynamics.blogspot.com/2006/12/honoring-norman-borlaug.html

I guess being credited with saving millions of lives through agricultural research is not that important especially if another fat lazy American farmer receives another subsidy dollar.

Posted by: Steven on August 22, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

This is no surprise. A&M is home to the largest annual student run community service organization in the United States. In fact, many schools send delegates every year to Texas A&M to learn how to start, manage, and sustain such programs at their universities. “Big Event” This ranking is well earned and deserved.

Posted by: John on August 22, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

For all the Teach for America boosters, consider this from Time April 10, 2006.

The "2006 'corps class' was fewer than 3,000. Despite the program’s popularity, between 10 and 15 percent of each corps class drops out before completing the required two years."

"Teach For America’s leaders realize that first-year teaching is hard, and so this year the organization spent 20 percent of its nearly $40 million budget on finding the right people.

"By 2010, Teach For America aims to increase its corps to 8,000 teachers and expand to 30 regions across the nation. “We are aspiring to become the top employer of top recent college graduates.”


From the Associate Press, "The program's rapid growth has made it a bigger target for some critics, who worry TFA is geared more toward the experience of the teachers than that of their students."

From the Washington Monthly
Now, That's Classy September 2006
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0609.zenilman.html

"Teach for America recruits like a white-shoe investment bank." "There are disadvantages to running a teaching corps like a two-year analyst program at McKinsey."

The Columbia Spectator on the tie between Teach for American and its corporate funders
http://eye.columbiaspectator.com/index.php/site/article/go-back-to-high-school/
"While Kopp may seek to build the world’s pedagogical Golden Arches, some corps members are disheartened by Teach for America’s acutely corporate aspirations, noting the emphasis on 'building brand awareness' and pushing alumni achievement."

From the New York Times October 2, 2005
Top Graduates Line Up to Teach to the Poor
"As much as anything, Teach for America is a triumph of marketing."
"However, a study of Houston student achievement released this year by Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford and others found that although Teach for America teachers performed as well as other uncertified teachers, their results did not match those of certified teachers."

Posted by: Harvad Law hearts TFA on August 23, 2007 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Big Event now the largest, one-day, student-run service project in the nation was started at Texas A&M, lets try not to over look that, over 60 schools now take part in the event helping countless low income and elderly citizens.

GIG EM AGGIES!!!

Posted by: Aggie05 on August 23, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

As an Aggie, I must admit having a real chuckle reading this. Anecdotally, about 50% of your readers seem most engaged in the search for the "perfect weed" while the other 50% are zealously engaged in the pursuit of recommending where the "perfect weed" can be found (both of your factions might be interested to know that their weed is undoubtedly grown using advanced agricultural principles developed at... (drum roll).. TEXAS A&M!!!! Quite an irony in the twisted application of technology transfer. Stick that, as they say, in your pipe and smoke it.

In all seriousness, however, what these polls miss and what we Aggies are all most proud of is A&M's most significant and tragically, the most forgotten achievement by the rest of the country. Texas A&M has produced more officers for the United States Armed Forces (40,000+) than any other institution in this country, and during WWII produced more than the service academies combined. Over 20,000 Aggies served in that conflict to preserve justice and save mankind from evil, and 7 Aggies earned the Congressional Medal of Honor (6 posthumously). To me it's a bit personal. My uncle, Captain Jack Golden (Silver Star) was a member of the famous Class of '42 that marched off en mass to war 3 months prior to graduation. He survived three years of war including Kasserine Pass in North Africa, Sicily, Anzio, D Day Normbandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Huertgen Forest only to be killed 30 days prior to VE Day by a German sniper. While some would see this as an example of the futility of war, I see it as both the tragedy and the precious courage of sacrifice to stand against the inevitable evils of this world, not hide from them or simply pretend they does not exist. So I would simply ask, respectfully to all: When you remember your ancestor who escaped the gas chambers because they were liberated by Americans; when you think of the men who sacrificed their lives and their futures to eradicate a true evil from this world; when you contemplate why you are able to march in protest against all the stuff you protest solely because your right and ability to do so were purchased with blood by this caliber of individual; and when you think of those men and women on watch around the world for us tonight who have taken up the arms of their fathers, brothers, and uncles to serve in justice and sacrifice; when you do that, I ask that you give some thought to the fact that many, many of them are Texas Aggies, and that the traditions that produce this caliber of hero live on and thrive in that place still.

Try measuring that with some magazine poll.

Posted by: Boots Davis on August 27, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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