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August 26, 2014
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The college rankings of U.S. News and World Report have many well-known problems, the worst of which is that they basically recapitulate the existing hierarchy of status and wealth among schools. As a result, many others have gotten into the rankings game in an attempt to provide an alternative metric, and of those, the Washington Monthly's College Guide (full disclosure, I used to work for the magazine) has probably the most principled effort.

Here's how they set up their rankings:

We ask a different question: What are colleges doing for the country? ...To identify the most public-minded institutions, we rank every four-year college and university in America based on three criteria: social mobility, research, and public service. Instead of crediting colleges that reject the most applicants, we recognize those that do the best job of enrolling and graduating low-income students. Our rankings measure both pure research spending and success in preparing undergraduates to earn PhDs. And by giving equal weight to public service, we identify colleges that build a sense of obligation to their communities and the nation at large.

The Monthly's 2014 rankings are out, and as usual they have some rather surprising top schools:

-Top National University: UC San Diego

-Top Liberal Arts College: Bryn Mawr

-Top Master's University: Creighton University

-Top Baccalaureate College: Elizabeth City State University

This year, they've also got a Best Bang for the Buck measure, ranking the most extreme bargains in each category, and a new "Affordable Elite" measure, ranking traditional highly-selective schools based on how much of a break they give their poor students. Also worth checking out is an article on America's worst colleges, heavily featuring private, for-profit institutions.

Check out the full guide here. Ryan Cooper

4:01 p.m. ET

Early voting has started in Georgia's 6th congressional district in an election to replace former Rep. Tom Price (R), who now serves as President Trump's health secretary. And if you are in need of a ride to the polls, you can hitch one with Who's the Boss? actress Alyssa Milano and actor Christopher Gorham.

Yes, really:

Milano and Gorham have thrown their support behind Jon Ossoff, one of five Democrats in the race. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes Ossoff as a "29-year-old small business owner — he runs a firm specializing in anti-corruption investigations — [and he] once worked as a congressional aide and has the endorsements of Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson as well as some other party leaders."

The qualifying election for the seat runs Monday through Wednesday, with the special election scheduled for April 18 and a runoff election set for June 20. Read more about the candidates at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, here. Jeva Lange

3:16 p.m. ET
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Barry Jenkins, the Oscar-winning director and writer of the Best Picture-awarded film Moonlight, is teaming up with Amazon for his next project. Amazon announced Monday that Jenkins is set to write and direct a television adaptation of Colson Whitehead's novel The Underground Railroad, a story of slavery and the South intertwined with reinvented details — like a literal railroad system serving as the historic slave escape route. The fictional novel won the 2016 National Book Award.

"It's a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation's history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking," Jenkins said in a statement. "In Amazon we've found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision."

Actor Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment and Jenkins' production company Pastel are on board to executive produce the limited series. The New York Times noted the series has not "officially been given the green light, though the high-profile nature of the title and figures involved make that seem likely."

A potential debut date has yet to be announced. Becca Stanek

3:05 p.m. ET

Thieves have stolen a 221-pound gold coin from the Bode Museum in Berlin, Time reports. The heist (and heft) took place overnight, and police unsurprisingly suspect it was the work of multiple burglars.

The "Big Maple Leaf," as the coin is known, is worth more than $4 million due to the amount of gold in it. The coin was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint ("because we can") and features an image of Queen Elizabeth II on one side and a maple leaf on the reverse. It is more than 20 inches wide.

Investigators found a ladder on nearby train tracks, but it is unclear if it is related to the burglars' getaway. Jeva Lange

2:48 p.m. ET

The Oakland Raiders will relocate to Las Vegas by the 2020 season, after a Monday vote among NFL team owners approved the franchise's relocation request 31-1. Only the Miami Dolphins owner dissented.

The Raiders will remain in Oakland for at least the 2017 season, if not both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and may share Levi's Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers for the 2019 season while they await the construction of a brand-new 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas. The team will share the venue with the University of Nevada.

The Raiders are the third NFL franchise to relocate in the last year, after the Rams and the Chargers both moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis and San Diego, respectively. They are also the second new team for Sin City, after the NHL designated an expansion team for the city; the Golden Knights will debut on the ice next season.

"The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA," Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. For more on how the Raiders franchise ended up in Vegas, head to Sports Illustrated, or read Davis' full statement below. Kimberly Alters

2:01 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday demanded an end to sanctuary cities, saying such policies "cannot continue."

"When cities and states continue to refuse to help enforce our immigration laws, our nation is less safe," Sessions said. He added: "Countless Americans would be alive today … if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended."

Sessions went on to say that the Department of Justice would look to "claw back" grants from jurisdictions that do not comply with federal authorities' immigration-related efforts.

Trump has already signed an executive order to block federal funding to sanctuary cities. At least 633 counties in the United States "limit how much local police can cooperate with requests from federal authorities to hold immigrants in detention," The New York Times reports. Jeva Lange

1:56 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Cash Cab is coming back. Discovery Channel announced Monday that it is reviving the Emmy-winning game show, which previously ran for 10 seasons until its cancelation in 2012. The series will return later this year.

While the new Cash Cab will still feature the usual unsuspecting passengers getting into innocuous cabs only to find out they're part of a game show, the revival will include the added bonus of sometimes featuring celebrities behind the wheel. Passengers will still be evicted from the cab should they get three questions wrong, and a cash prize will still be up for grabs.

Comedian David Steinberg has signed on as executive producer, though a host has yet to be announced.

So, New Yorkers, next time you're about to call an Uber, you might want to reconsider. Becca Stanek

1:33 p.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's approval rating hit a new low Monday, with just 36 percent of Americans approving of the president, Gallup has found. Fifty-seven percent of people disapprove of Trump's performance in office.

Prior to Monday, Trump's lowest approval rating was 37 percent, which he hit March 18 following the announcement of the Republican health-care bill to replace ObamaCare and Trump's claims that he was "wiretapped" by former President Barack Obama. He also recorded his highest disapproval rating of 58 percent on March 18.

The highest disapproval rating of Obama's entire presidency was 55 percent, which he hit twice in his eight years as commander-in-chief. Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti notes that Trump has hit a disapproval rating of 55 percent or more 12 times since becoming president on Jan. 20.

Gallup tracks American's daily approval of the president, with the results coming from 1,500 adults across the U.S. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent. Jeva Lange

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