US News has released a thoughtful response to concerns about their proposed rankings overhaul. A week ago, Robert Morse of the US News blog The Morse Code floated the idea of including both full and part-time statistics in calculating law school rankings.
Yesterday Morse attempted to soothe the weary nerves of opponents to the overhaul by assuring them "… we're not planning on making a decision on this issue until fall 2008." So what's everyone saying in the meantime?
We've got the reactions to the overhaul, after the jump.
Morse diligently laid out the arguments for and against the proposal, although it seems that he still leans in favor of the overhaul. He remarked: "In any case, aren't law schools the sum of all their students (full-time, part-time, and transfer), and shouldn't the profile of the entire law school be the basis under which ranking comparisons are made?"
Arguments against the program, most eloquently stated by Brian Lieter and Daniel Solove, focus on the negative impact the overhaul would have on potential students.
Lieter argues: "For many, probably most, part-time programs serve older, working students, who might not have time for fancy LSAT prep courses, but who bring levels of dedication, seriousness, and pertinent experience that enrich legal education and the legal profession. What a loss it will be if, out of fear of US News, schools start cutting back their part-time programs or rejecting these students whose numerical credentials might impede their crusade for a 'higher ranking.'"
Daniel Solove suggested "that there be a separate ranking of evening and part-time programs" because combining the two groups of students "tries to create a one-size-fits-all picture of law schools that really is distorting."
We've got our own opinions, but would really like to know where you stand in this issue. Is inclusive or compartmentalized enrollment data more meaningful to you?