"There's no direct way to measure the quality of an institution—how well a college manages to inform, inspire, and challenge its students," writes Malcolm Gladwell, in a feature for the New Yorker  that scrutinizes U.S. News & World Report's popular Best Colleges guide. But that doesn't stop various organizations from undertaking the daunting research of school rankings at every level. (Disclaimer: We do it, too, in our listing of Denver's top elementary schools .)
Just this week, local headlines touted Fort Lupton Middle School as the National Association of Middle School Principals' Middle School of the Year (7News ), while the University of Colorado at Boulder fell off Princeton Review's list of top 10 public colleges for the best value (Colorado Daily ). At the same time, Gladwell puts CU's law school in the top 10 nationally after including affordability in his methodology when ranking the law schools—something U.S. News does not account for.
Evaluating the worth of an education is tricky business, as those involved in CU's School of Journalism have discovered. The school's future will be in the hands of the Board of Regents, writes the Daily Camera , quoting graduates, professional journalists, faculty, and others concerned about the instruction of the "basic tenets of reporting and storytelling." Others, like regent Sue Sharkey, wonder "how long the journalism school has been considered 'good,' but not 'good enough'" (also via the Camera ). Meanwhile, KUNC radio  asks current students for their perspectives.