Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
The Senate just approved $600 in border security funds. This 10 percent increase got me thinking not only about what other valuable programs this money can be spent on; but also, what benefits the United States gets from undocumented workers.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
First, “the current methodology tends to increase the cost of legal education for students.” The rankings award schools that spend more money per student. Therefore, a low cost school will be punished despite the quality of education.
Second, “the methodology tends to discourage the award of financial aid based upon need.” Financial aid is now used to attract students with high GPA’s in order to satisfy that component of the rankings. The result is that students with the greatest financial need are required to borrow heavily to attend law school.
Third, “the current methodology tends to reduce incentives to enhance the diversity of the legal profession.” Racial diversity is ranked among law schools in a separate report and not included in the official rankings. Therefore, diversity is forsaken in order to focus on GPA and LSAT scores. And because the cost of law school continues to increase, other forms of diversity, like family financial background, are further ignored.
Today, I staffed a booth at a regional ALA expo. The woman sitting next to me was working on her masters in legal administration after practicing law in South Carolina for years. She decided to leave her well paying gig in SC because the legal environment there was so exclusive.One of the major barriers for her was that firms told her that they didn't really hire associates from the HBCU she'd graduated from; even though she'd done well in law school and had previously worked for those same firms as a paralegal (interestingly, most did offer her her old job back).
The law school she'd attended was no doubt lower ranked (and much more affordable) than others in the area. But many of the professors at her HBCU taught at multiple schools, all with vastly different rankings. So, if the education is literally the same, why are the rankings so important? Why do firms refuse to hire from schools that aren't in the top tear? As the report says, we are clearly favoring some institutions over others simply because they are more expensive (and, hence, less accessible to lower income students).
And, needless to say, I've long thought that U.S. News needed to include diversity in the reports.