Fit, not ranking, matters
UF remains steady at No. 5 | Sept. 12
The U.S. News ranking of our state universities does not merit space in the Times. This edition of the magazine, much like Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition, serves no purpose except bolstering their sales. The “rankings” are based on data that can be manipulated by the colleges who participate since much of it is self-reported. Some schools — like Reed College — have stopped working with U.S. News in protest and are therefore not ranked; they find the advertising is not worth the ethical cost. Other schools, like Columbia, saw their ranking drop after they were caught in bad behavior.
All of this to perpetuate the idea that there are only a handful of worthwhile institutions of higher education, when in fact there are around 4,000 of them, most of them wonderful places. We do our children a disservice by making them think that only 10 universities in the country are worthwhile. When so many high school seniors apply to those 10, the percentage who get in becomes vanishingly small.
Quit giving free advertising to a brazen money-grab by U.S. News and colleges. Instead, how about information about how to choose a school that is a great fit? It may be more important to find a place with that one major, or a great rugby team or service learning or rural setting. Help our students find the right school, not the ranked one.
Kate Munkittrick, St. Petersburg
People should smarten up
Our body politic needs a wellness visit | Letter, Sept. 11
The division in American politics is evident; anger and hostility are the new normal. In most cases, I am willing to talk and discuss issues, but not with people who refuse to accept our presidential election as fair, despite court rulings. There would be no benefit in meeting with Americans who are steadfast in their belief in outrageous conspiracy theories. I don’t think we need smart people to fix it; I think we need people to be smarter.
Geanne Marks, St. Petersburg
Crosswalks and intersections
Driver kills woman crossing U.S. 19 in Pasco County, troopers say | Sept. 11
It was a short story but with valuable information. A woman in a crosswalk was struck down by a driver. Fortunately, the reporter also included a bit of information that most people don’t know: Nearly every intersection in the city has four designated crosswalks whether marked or not. And motorists must yield to walkers in those crosswalks.
Bob Griendling, St. Petersburg