What do you call a graduating high school senior whose scholastic achievement outshines that of any other student? The answer if you live in Wake County in North Carolina is “nothing.”
There used to be a name for that in the Tarheel State. The student with the highest grade point average in his graduating class was called the valedictorian and was invited to deliver a speech at the commencement ceremonies.
Not no more. According to the Raleigh News & Observer:
The Wake County school board unanimously gave initial approval Tuesday to a policy that would bar high school principals from naming valedictorians and salutatorians – titles which go to the two seniors with the highest grade-point averages – after 2018. Starting in 2019, high schools would begin using a new system that recognizes seniors with Latin titles such as cum laude if they have a weighted GPA of at least 3.75.
The insidious motivation behind the move is the same one that has given rise to participation trophies and the even more odious decision by the state of California to award diplomas even to students who flunked out: To wit, it encourages an unhealthy competition among students.
The notion of unhealthy competition is somewhat redundant among liberals who view all competition as unhealthy. For every winner, there is a loser — and losing is bad, especially where youth is involved. Many young people feel the urge to give up after a loss. (Yes, some youngsters are motivated to work harder, but somehow they don’t fit into the calculus of ensuring that no child is left behind.)
Give the school board credit. It has come up with a nifty rationalization for abolishing the title of valedictorian: Students will now be to “take more of the courses they’d like rather than just the ones that will boost their GPA and class rank.”