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  • No More Competition: Demerits for Valedictorians

    The York, Pennsylvania, school district has decided to eliminate the practice of honoring the top-achieving students as “valedictorian” or “salutatorian.” According to school board officials, this practice may promote unhealthy competition. Students, however, appear to have a different view of such honorifics. Caroline Klidonas, a 17-year-old rising senior asked in an interview on Tuesday with the York Daily Record,

    “How would anybody succeed at anything if there’s not competition? You get what you work for and that’s all there is to it … Why wouldn’t the school want us to have that kind of mindset?”

    In an interview with Fox News, Caroline expressed her displeasure with the school board’s decision to no longer honor academic excellence in her school district.

    “…[students] would definitely like for valedictorian and salutatorian to be honored… if you have awards in all the other areas just like athletics and even the performing arts…why not the top two overall?”

    This practice of avoiding hurt feelings has led to serious consequences for those at the top, especially when applying to colleges. Schools that do not use class rank have made admissions and scholarships more difficult for their students. Without a comparison within schools, admission counselors have to give more weight to standardized test scores and even eliminate these students. In a 2006 interview with the New York Times, William M. Shain, dean of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University explained that students from schools that calculate class rank are more frequently admitted, and students without a rank or grade information had the lowest admission rates. Shain stated:

    “The less information a school gives you, the more whimsical our decisions will be. And I don’t know why a school would do that… You’re saying your grades don’t matter and that you won’t tell us what they mean. I think it’s an abdication of educational responsibility.”

    Most Americans realize the significance of distinguishing the work and achievement of top students from the rest. Not recognizing good work minimizes the importance of academic achievement and fails to reward those who have excelled in school. By contrast, promoting competition serves students’ best interests and prepares them to be successful in the future.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to No More Competition: Demerits for Valedictorians

    1. Joe Kelley says:

      Proponents of school reform, probably including the Heritage Foundation, want Buffoons like those in the York Pa. school district to decide who gets raises and who doesn't (aka merit pay). Does anyone think an excellent teacher who demands that students work hard and earn good grades would benefit in merit pay.


    2. Mike, NM says:

      And the Penguins should give back the Stanley Cup too…

      Why do so many people here strive to be 2nd rate citizens, in a 3rd world country?

    3. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      This is another building block to the Socialist Society. "Everyone is equal and treated the same" – the Nirvana of Liberals! This has been going on in youth sports for years. "All games end in a tie so as not to cause hurt by loosing." But in reality, the kids keep score! Deep down, we all strive to be the winner or the best. Yes, even Liberals do this as we see some rise above the masses to "ruling" positions.

      The honor of Valedictorian and Salutatorian are prestigious positions that are only given to those students that excel above all others. Sure you could say "Why not MY kid?" (which is probably what started this, but the answer is simply "Your kid just wasn't good enough!" THIS is the statement that adults cannot handle! It is not the kids that can't take loosing, it is the parents!

    4. Spiritof76 says:

      This is the Communist manifesto. The government-run propaganda centers called the public schools are cesspools for failures. Why? It is because that is what they celebrate. That way, the teachers, unions and adminstrators won't have to be held accountable for anything.

      God help America as she is fast plunging into a 3rd world standard.

    5. Robert, Virginia says:

      We live in a competitive world, and schools systems should be training students to succeed in that world. Schools are doing a disservice to the students by denying competition.

    6. Greg, Tijeras,NM says:

      Joe – wake up and smell the roses. No matter what obstacles the liberal statists place in the way, achievers will find ways around them. Evidence, just look at the expansion of home schooling, look at the growing number of people basing their small businesses in central American countries, and look at the growing number of people who travel outside of the US for medical and dental work (performed by US trained and board certified professionals). Don't accept poor performance under the guise of "equal outcome".

      Excellence is all around us, even if it is part of the underground economy – huge here in New Mexico.

    7. Vicki Schad, Vassalb says:

      As a teacher, I find this appalling. As an American, I find it defeatist. As a human being, I believe it goes against human nature. Without motivation to excel, we will become a nation and society of mediocre sheep. Without even the possibility of recognition and reward for hard work, we will slump into a morass of lazy living.

      God calls us to do our best at everything we attempt. For some of us, his smile is enough; but for others, the approval of our peers or our leadership provides a huge incentive.

      What about the Academy Awards? How about the World Series? Has anyone even realized the blatant competition involved in winning a presidential election? We are a planet of competitive people. Let us teach our children well, in order to give them a chance at success.

    8. Jim in Wisconsin says:

      Go read (or re-read) Robert Bork's "Slouching Toward Gomorrah".

      Look for his discussion of "radical egalitarianism".

      Liberalism has already co-opted the educational system and turned it into an indoctrination system. Now we are going to demote the students who, despite ever-increasing odds, actually learned something in school other than "Republican bad, democrat good, capitalism bad, socialism good".

    9. Dennis Idaho says:

      Outstanding achievers will continue to do very well because it is in their nature to strive for the best. I hope that one day soon real achievers will be elected and turn this country around. Perhaps the reason we do not have good leadership is that most Real Achievers are honest and truthful. They do not rely on deception and manipulation to reach their goals.

    10. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      This is yet another socialist program that most

      people in our country do not realize is happening due to the main stream news media continues to hide the facts. Unless we stop it now, how long will it be before achievement is not considered in any part of our society, except the unions. This is what Obama and the socialist call "a level playing field". The next step is sports, form play ground to professional. That's their

      real target, "a level playing field".

    11. ame, PA says:

      More "progressive – liberal misplaced sentimental nonsense" that has undermined education and our children's future for many years now – EMPATHY (except for us mere serfs with Obamacare) – No Competition, lying to students about their ability and their performance by GIVING them high grades (principals decare that GOOD teachers HAVE students with high grades (not EARN grades – hence, BAD teachers…), making getting (again. not earning) college degrees a business and, therefore, devaluing them – students know all about making a power point, but NOTHING about content – except for a few universities, the college degree is the high school diploma and the high school diploma is the grade school diploma – and many of these uneducated college idiots voted the Fascist socialist anti-Constitution Obama into office – WE ARE DOOMED IF THIS CONTINUES. Education does NOT need more money – NOTHING will change until the philosophy of building self-esteem through pampering stops and we get Obama out – he is a proponent of soft bigotry/low expectations/ victim hood/ and nationalization of our capitalist economic system – Joe Kelly is exactly right

    12. John Roane Sarasota says:

      Silly don't you know that everyone needs and must be equal. The way to achieved that is to praise all equally and to compensate them as equals.

      After all when everyone is treated and compensated equally there is no need to out achieve anyone else, therefore no hurt feelings, no progress, no greed and no need to go on.

      Mankind can sit on a stone until he blows his brain out, oops, all things being progressive and equal, he hasn't got one.

    13. Elizabeth, NY says:

      After 35 years as a guidance counselor lack of rewarding hard work is my biggest complaint!

      When they did away with homogeous classes in math and English in the middle school and threw all students into heterogeneous classes no matter their needs and abilities, the top students were bored and afraid of being seen as "geeks" and and the less able didn't ask questions for fear of ridicule. No one benefitted and all seemed to take easy way out -not doing homework etc. We're on the road to Communism it seems!!

    14. Ron, North Dakota says:

      The dumbing down of America. Kill incentive.

      Everyone can now be equally stupid.

    15. Tim AZ says:

      Just another example of the state run education producing parasite adult losers who's only hope of survival is through socialism. I read an article about a month ago written by Walter Williams titled The Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber. In the article Williams explained using national performance test scores that education for children who attend public Schools peak by the fourth grade. After that their education continues to decline through the rest of their attendance in public schools. How else could we have the government we now have? If you wish to read this article you can go to http://www.creators.com and find walter Williams under the opinion columns and you can search his archives for the story.

    16. Jack Dean Santa Ana says:

      Instead of elevating the achievers in class, and give others something to strive for, we push them down so as not to be recognized. How is this helping anyone? The spirit of good competition helps everyone aspire to do better. Another in a long line of poor decisions by the school district. God bless our kids as they wade through this liberal mess that is calling itself education.

    17. Kahu, Hawai`i says:

      I believe there was a similar story a few years ago in Lousiana where a parent filed a lawsuit against the local school board due to the fact that she felt the practice of displaying names of honor role students discriminated against her daughter. Needless to say her daughter was not on the honor roll. My son is an average student and he tries his best and in a few rare times he has made it on the honor roll and he was very proud. I'm proud of him for trying and doing his best. He hasn't given up and he keeps working at improving his grades the best he can, however not as much as dad would like.

      This decision by the New York, Pennsylvania, school district is idiotic. Why bother with grades, attendance, keeping score in sports; we are all winners. In Hawaii there is a saying that measn; "Moving forward, striving to be your (the) best (number one)."

      I guess someday that may have to be changed to; "Move if you want to and as long as it doesn't make anyone else feel bad or less about themselves then it is okay by the general consensus to stand out from the rest becuase everyone understands that you have that "special" need to be different and can't fit in with everyone else." or words to that effect.

    18. Sharp, General Deliv says:

      We are moving quickly toward a society which attempts to make the lowest of the low types of persons living (the subhumans) feel equal to the best, the Shining Lights amongst us. And they will be, equal then, when the "best" are no longer allowed to exist and make them feel ashamed of who and what they are. Congratulations haters of America, for what you condemn as our cowboy "arrogance" you are close to achieving your goals of destruction from within.

    19. candyrose ny says:

      How sad this is. No incentive in life anymore. If the students want to fail. You have to do the same. Ignorant and uneducated people do not find work. That is how the new administration (communist)wants you so you have to depend on them for everything. They eat the cake and then they throw you the crumbs.

    20. libertybel, Rye, NY says:

      Looney liberals.

    21. Madelyn Reuter, Glen says:

      candyrose, you jogged my memory!! This applies to higher education as well. I think it is very timely. This has been dumbing us down for generations and we see now how we elect our

      leaders and what we as a nation choose to elect:

      "It is in the schools, at the desk, in the first class, that the foundations for a Communist outlook are laid in the future Soviet citizens. The country entrusts the school with its most treasured possessions– its children–and no one should be allowed to indulge in the slightest deviation from the principles of the Communist materialistic upbringing of the new generation."

      "Literary Gazette," September 3, 1949

    22. Chuck , Cumming , Ge says:

      Once again I am astounded that the "local" folks in these towns around the Country just sit there and let these bafoons do what they want…remove them, they are not like a seat on the Supreme Court…they can be removed, come on folks…this is just a small example of what the whole Country is suffering…FIX IT…don't jst bitch about it !

    23. Antonio, Burke VA says:

      This is rediculous. Our public schools are so built on self esteem to the point where it drags down kids who want to win, work hard, and succeed. I am not the type who believes everyone is a winner. There are the people who win and the people who lose, simple as that. Competition is a good thing because it encourages hard work.

    24. Bridget Lynn, Massac says:

      There are legitimate problems with the valedictorian system, such as students who game their schedules to aim for the highest possible GPA, lawsuits such as the one in New Jersey, and competition that goes beyond that which is appropriate to motivate high school students. Those issues, however, cannot be fixed by removing one metric by which students measure themselves; it is best combated by ensuring that the metric is finely tuned to measure excellence, cannot be gamed, and that there are other metrics by which students may succeed.

      Removing one metric does not decrease competition; it merely increases it in other areas (or, as per the Vanderbilt case, ensures that all competitors fail).

      Aside from the sheer absurdity of this, I'm angered by what this does for minorities and women. We are finally entering an era in which female valedictorians are equal or greater in number to their male counterparts, and minorities have begun to receive these honours rather frequently. It is beyond absurd – and cruel – to remove the best way for these groups to demonstrate their abilities (and remove the horrible specter of affirmative action).

    25. Roger S., MA. says:

      Were I not firmly opposed to zynicism for being a very ugly turn of mind, I'd be tempted to repeat after Marx: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need."

      Question to any left-leaning teachers, school-board members, or administrators who might happen upon this page: How long, do you think, will a child, who in this way is essentially punished for achieving, continue to strive? A year? Five? Ten? What happens and becomes of him when he runs out of emotional steam? Do you really believe that those you unjustly preferred will then take up the slack? If so, then with what ability? How many will it take to make up the lost talent? Two? Five? Ten? A hundred? Will you then set up an "affirmative action" program for burned-out "past over-achievers"? Will your second and third-raters even come close to being able to fund it? Are you even honest enough to face these questions? If not, why did you apply for jobs in education? You could have learned a trade. Good pay. Hard work, too. Too hard and uncertain? Well, you could have become a community organizer, maybe even someday gone to law-school, then into politics? Made rousing speeches to please everyone? No? Why? Even harder? Less certain? Why did you pick on children? Because they're weak and can't fight you? (You were wrong. They can and they do; only, you won't like the results.) Because that was the "level playing field" YOU were looking for? Wuss-a-matter? Couldn't compete with the rest of us?

      Many more such questions come to mind. Let's see these people for what they truly are: haters of the human mind. Let's recognize that it takes a good mind to shape a good mind, that challenging competition is just the means for applying a yardstick to human endeavors, that all who compete are improved by the process. A uniquely American insight and virtue, the cardinal ingredient of American greatness. Let's remove such people from the responsibility of educating our children. Let them take up green gardening!

    26. Joseph Perez says:

      From Joe. Don"t you Liberals and controlling people know and realize that the kids and everyone else know who the fastest runners and jumpers are. Who are the best spellers and readers without getting a piece of paper at the end of the year. They know who the best pitchers and hitters are. We always want to strive to be better to help ourself and our team. They know who gets picked first on a team for a game after school. You liberals will NEVER change Mother and Human Nature. We are still TRIBAL by nature and want to cheer and boo and get excited. We want to do better for ourself and others. That is called the JOY of LIVING ! We would still be living in a cave if we did not strive to do better. I know a cave you can live in if YOU do not want to improve ! It has LEVEL ground.

    27. Sebastian says:

      These spelling errors are driving me insane. You just spelled "ridiculous" wrong. It's characterized by ridicule. Not redicule. You may turn red when you feel ridiculous, but there's no E in the word. My dad is German. That's why he makes spelling errors. Every time he makes those mistakes, I correct him.

    28. Keith says:

      Update. In 2009, the Central York School Board has decided to recognize the Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

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