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30

Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 30, 2024 08:58 PM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included colleges that change lives, stay-at-home moms, an assault at a MCPS middle school, and how to lose 15 pounds.

The most active thread yesterday was an old thread that I have already discussed and, therefore, will skip today. That was the thread titled "Travis and Taylor" which is about Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. The thread has received renewed interest because Kelce is going to the SuperBowl and Swifties, who doubted the authenticity of this relationship in the beginning, are starting to have second thoughts. The second most active thread is another one that I will skip, the Gaza war thread. The most active thread after those two was titled, "Favorite College that changes lives?" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. This will require a bit of explanation for the uninitiated. "Colleges That Change Lives" was originally a 1996 college guide written by Loren Pope that profiled 40 liberal arts colleges that Pope believed were particularly focused on educating students and performed better than many of the traditional "top" colleges. In 1998, a non-profit with the same name was created to promote the colleges reviewed in Pope's book. DCUM has a small group of posters who are huge fans of CTCL colleges and either frequently start threads about the schools or bring up the colleges in other threads. Similarly, there is a group that is very cynical of this entire endeavor and consider CTCL to be little more than a marketing organization that promotes second-rate schools. Whenever these two groups interact, it results in many posts being reported and an increased workload for me. This thread was started by the original poster asking which schools users like, hate, or about which they know nothing. Several colleges from the list are mentioned as ones that posters like and several posters also asked for recommendations of colleges with specific characteristics. It is clear that several posters accept the premise that these schools punch well above their weight. Almost implicit in the CTCL discourse is the assertion that traditional college rankings should be ignored because these schools are flying under the radar. So much so that when a poster mentioned the two CTCL schools ranked highest on the US News & World Report rankings, the poster was criticized for pursuing the "wrong outcomes". One of the usual critics of CTCL argued that the schools are second tier and "attract mediocre students who wouldn’t have a chance at top schools." One thing about CTCL schools that I think is misunderstood is that the schools are chosen based on their perceived commitment to student achievement. Outside of that factor, the schools don't necessarily have much in common. This provides both fans and critics the ability to cherry pick and promote either one school's accomplishments or another school's failures as representative of the entire list. I suspect that for many of the CTCL colleges, inclusion on the list provides little more than marginal benefit as several of the schools have reputations that have been established independently of CTCL.

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