For the seventh consecutive year, Reed declined to submit
data to U.S. News & World Report for its annual fall college
rankings issue, guidebook, and website. U.S. News, however, insists on
including Reed and uses data gathered from non-college sources, leaving
blanks when no information is available.
Reed maintains that the rankings are, at best, an unfortunate distraction
for prospective students and their families and, at worst, a measure that
corrupts the critically important college decision-making process.
This year, U.S. News ranked Reed in the second tier of colleges, which
also includes St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland. Reed and
St. Johns are two of only four colleges in the national liberal
arts category that refused to submit data to U.S. News. Both schools have
been called the most intellectual colleges in the country by Loren Pope,
former higher education editor at the New York Times, in his book Colleges
That Change Lives. He has also praised Reed for resisting the rankings
It was actually acting president Peter Steinberger who several years ago
asked then-president Steven Koblik why Reed continued to actively participate
in the rankings if the college found them so abhorrent (early on the college
was among the top schools in the liberal arts category).
If the rankings were such an affront to Reeds educational
values, says Steinberger, we needed to carefully examine taking
a principled stand and pulling out.
When the college made the decision to opt out that next year, U.S. News
threatened the college with a lawsuit and singled Reed out for censorious
treatment in various ways. An unintended consequence of this retaliatory
behavior was that Reed received and continues to receive
national attention and almost universal praise for its stance. Last year,
for example, Reed received special mention in a Washington Monthly article
that eviscerated the rankings. This year, with the assistance of the former
director of data research for U.S. News, the Washington Monthly continued
its assault on the rankings and the complicity of the countrys
institutions of higher educationin Broken Ranks: U.S. News
College Rankings Measure Everything but What Matters. (see