High Schools Getting Rid of Valedictorians

High Schools Getting Rid of Valedictorians

Teary-eyed parents, poorly chosen footwear and speeches chock full of Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes. Sounds like high school graduation, right? According to The New York Times, not anymore; the speeches are falling by the wayside as some high schools abolish the concept of a single valedictorian.

With many students achieving the same grade point average, or with such tiny fractions of points separating the top few kids, administrators want to honor more than one student. “When did we start saying that we should limit the honors so only one person gets the glory?” asked Joe Prisinzano, the principal at Jericho High School in New York.

Principals say that recognizing multiple valedictorians is a fair solution, and also reduces pressure and competition among students. But some scholars and parents have criticized the practice, saying it’s a symptom of grade inflation that holds back the true valedictorians from gaining admission to top-tier colleges.

“It’s honor inflation,” said Chris Healy, an associate professor at Furman University, who said that celebrating so many students as the best could leave them ill prepared for competition in college and beyond. “I think it’s a bad idea if you’re No. 26 and you’re valedictorian. In the real world, you do get ranked.”

What do you think? I’m not sure that the title really matters, because whether or not you’re labeled a “valedictorian,” colleges will see your true rank, one of the most important factors in admission. Grade inflation is a whole different issue…but I remember being thankful for weighted grades when I took those killer AP classes!

Photo: Crushable