As WNBS-10TV of Columbus, Ohio reported on Monday, a local school district has “done away with valedictorians, salutatorians and any kind of number system.” A district-appointed committee of parents and educators made the decision to drop class rankings.
The committee was concerned that children were being too competitive. More specifically, the district was worried about kids taking weighted classes to improve their ranking instead of classes that interested them. Apparently, ambition is something to be discouraged.
“The district found students were choosing weighted classes, advanced courses that score above the traditional 4.0 system, to elevate their grade point averages and, therefore, get a higher class ranking. Some students completely forego what actually interests them,” the article said.
John Bandow, Hilliard’s Director of High School Curriculum, mirrored these concerns, saying, “[Class rankings go] against what we’re all about in education, we want kids to try things. High school should be where you’re trying new things and dabbling in things, who knows what you’re good at?”
Put differently, this line of thinking essentially encourages students to not be their best. It is the crux of how our education system got off track in the first place. Some prestigious liberal arts colleges now have majors like Puppetry, where students rack up thousands of dollars of debt to pursue their interests.
This ending of class rankings is just another branch of the ‘everyone should be equal and get a trophy’ line of thinking that breeds complacency and mediocrity. It discourages greatness and ambition. It depresses our natural urge to be better than those around us and deters students from putting in their best effort to be all they can be.
This competition still exists in society at large. Students will face competition getting into college, during college, and when they search for jobs after college. The teen who challenged himself with difficult classes and fought his way to the top of his high school class will be more prepared for this reality than the one who took all the interesting classes in high school.
It is important that kids try new things to discover their interests, but most kids in high school have absolutely no idea what they want to do with their lives— and that is perfectly fine. Their minds haven’t developed enough, nor have they the experience to determine things of this magnitude. Thus, high school education must prepare students for their first couple years of college, which are typically more influential to a student’s career path than any high school courses will be.
As a society, we don’t need to dissuade kids from competition and contest. Doing so will leave them unprepared for life and college. Life is built around competition, and this will never change. We should be preparing children for this reality.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.