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FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Academic ranks of AU, UA should shame state residents

The University of Alabama is ranked No. 50.

Auburn University is No. 38.

The residents of this state should be mortified.

Relax, sports fans. It is not the latest Associated Press college football poll.

It is U.S. News and World Report's most recent annual ranking of America's best public colleges. The rankings reflect academic rather than athletic accomplishments.

Considering the amount of funding the state's two largest post-secondary institutions receive, the state can almost be proud of the results. Auburn actually gained ground this year after being ranked 42nd last time. Alabama dropped 11 spots from No. 39.

But we are still appalled at the rankings, especially considering the magnitude of brainpower the state holds.

Alabama is home to rocket scientists. The aerospace and biotechnology industries attract some of the brightest minds in the world.

Will they settle on sending their children to schools barely ranking in the top 50?

Newsweek this year ranked Jefferson County's International Baccalaureate High School the No. 1 high school in the nation.

How many IBHS graduates will be content with the top 50?

Alabama residents would never be happy with those rankings in football. So why should we be satisfied with our mediocre academic standing? After all, isn't that the real purpose of colleges and universities?

If AU or UA fell that far in football, alumni and fans would demand new leadership and would dig deep into their pockets to pay for improvement.

Most remarkably, we hesitate to do the same for academic excellence.

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