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Health warning — med schools increasingly abandon intellectual rigor to advance equity: op-ed

Americans want their brain surgeons to be smart, really smart. But increasingly, med schools are more worried about the skin color of their student population than their test scores.

This problem was spelled out in a Jan. 29 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal headlined “Medical Schools Bail on Academic Merit and Intellectual Rigor: Some refuse to be ranked by U.S. News, which weighs test scores and grades rather than diversity.”

Written by Ira Stoll, managing editor of Education Next, the piece details how an increasing number of medical schools no longer will participate in U.S. News’ annual college rankings because the publication judges schools on metrics such as “MCAT scores and grade point averages of incoming students.”

Apparently to these med school leaders, judging students and med schools based on grades and test scores is somehow shortsighted or biased.

Med schools cited in the piece include Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Stanford Medical School, University of Pennsylvania med school and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University:

U.S. News already does provide a list ranking universities that have the most racial and ethnic diversity among students. The medical school deans and the activists pushing them, however, apparently won’t be satisfied until test scores and grades are totally eliminated from the rankings, replaced by a commitment to anti-racism and diversity, equity and inclusion, which are less easily quantified.

When colleges started making the SAT optional, some of us shrugged and said, well, that’s fine, so long as they don’t eliminate the tests for would-be brain surgeons. Now the battle lines have shifted in the meritocracy wars so that it’s precisely would-be brain surgeons whose test scores the medical schools want to conceal.

The businessmen for whom these medical schools are named—Carl Icahn, Raymond Perelman, P. Roy Vagelos—could never have amassed the fortunes they did if they ran their companies based on vague diversity commitments rather than quantifiable financial results. …

Sure, being a good doctor is more complicated than a test score. Softer skills, such as empathy, listening and relationship-building, matter. But advances in health and high-quality care also depend on measurable intellectual rigor. If that is abandoned in favor of trendy ideological conformity, the consequences for higher education, for patients and for the nation could be deadly.

Read the full piece at The Wall Street Journal.

MORE: IU med school diversity program under investigation for excluding white students

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