No more high school valedictorians? For reals??
In the latest brilliant move out of North Carolina, a school board has voted unanimously in favor of "a policy that would prohibit high school principals from naming valedictorians and salutatorians — titles reserved for the two graduating seniors with the highest grade-point averages — after 2018."
According to Wake County Board of Education Chairman Tom Benton, the decision was made because the board “heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy.”
Benton continued to say, "Students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to. Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans."
Perhaps Mr. Benton and the rest of the board may be a wee bit confused.
Given the extreme pressure on today's high school students to achieve impossibly outstanding GPA's in order to win a coveted fat packet (read "acceptance letter") from a decent university, let alone the university of their actual preference, choosing coursing strategically in order to cushion their chances towards a high GPA seems like a wise move towards achieving "future education plans" if those plans do indeed include attendance at a 4-year college.
It also seems like an odd jump in reasoning to say that students are not collaborating with each other, siting their "choice of courses" as a prime example of such "unhealthy" competition.
Apparently, the board believes "singling out two people for their grade point averages just encourages students to take easy classes and to not help their classmates study."
I see what you're saying, Wake County.
How dare those bright, hard-working, self-empowered and proactive high-achievers make smart choices for themselves and their "future education plans," darn it?! They should be using those big brains of theirs to hold hands with
comrades fellow students who haven't been quite as adept at studying and managing their own educational careers.
Or maybe, just maybe, that is complete and utter bullshit.
Then again, this is North Carolina, the state that's become quite the impressive self-advocate for Most Ignorant Of The 50 United States status.
Yes, that's correct.
After Charlotte updated an existing ordinance preventing local "businesses from discriminating against customers based on race, age, religion, and gender" to include new provisions adding "gay, lesbian, or transgender customers to the list," the state legislature went ape shit and called an emergency special session of the North Carolina General Assembly to bring such a dangerous act of inclusivity to a halt!
Not only does the new law passed by these
bigoted hard-working legislators overturn Charlotte's updated policies, but "it also prevents any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s."
So basically, we take your non-discrimination policy and raise it about 5000 levels of back-tracking, full-on discrimination at its most baseless and ugly.
In yet another North Carolina school board vote straight out of Bizarro World, a few weeks back the Rowan Salisbury Board of Education approved a proposal allowing "high school students to carry pepper spray, a policy one board member had said may be useful for students who encounter transgender classmates in the bathroom."
What the what?!?!
Listen, I can understand and have patience with people who find the concept of transgender confusing and uncomfortable. I don't expect people to all be able to jump on board in acceptance of new ideas about gender and sexuality when they come from a culture so ingrained in outdated beliefs, many based on religious rhetoric.
You can be uncomfortable all you want. But you don't get to arm minors with weapons in schools, non-lethal or not. Are you freaking crazy?!
Thankfully, yesterday that particular ruling was repealed.
According to The News & Observer, Rowan Salisbury "Board of Education Chairman Josh Wagner says liability concerns raised by parents and law enforcement convinced them to change course and place pepper sprays and disposable razors back on the list of items that students aren't allowed to carry on campus."
Wait. Disposable razors were going to be OK'd too ...? I just can't even.
At least it's good to know fear of litigation is still worth something in this world, because "liability concerns" seem far more troubling to the good folks in charge of shaping the educational environment for North Carolina's children than plain old common sense and human decency.
But don't you dare try for straight A's now, you hear!
Unless someone in risk management suggests you file suit against North Carolina for preventing your acceptance into an Ivy League school because you couldn't compete against the valedictorians from EVERY OTHER STATE IN THE U.S.
But that's really none of my business ...