Among the many recommendations to the White House for how it could have better handled the rollout of its website was a public declaration by eight Democratic senators suggesting that established entities and companies with relevant expertise should have played a larger role in the process. In other words, the federal government shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel when much of what it’s trying to accomplish already exists. Still, this is a mistake many fear will be repeated as the administration introduces its college ratings plan.

While consensus about the actual necessity of a federal college ratings system is unlikely, the ratings could still become a reality. The recent rollout of the website clearly showed that our government is strongest when it guides policy development and funds its implementation, as opposed to building the technology or software to execute it. Instead of starting from scratch, the administration should work together with the educational system to leverage existing resources and build a usable platform before mistakes of the recent past are repeated.

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