Thursday, August 15, 2013
At its March 7 meeting, the Fulton School Board did away with class ranking and having a valedictorian and salutatorian, switching instead to the cum laude honors system.
During last night’s meeting, Rob Hunter — who was elected to the board in April — brought up the issue again. Hunter expressed concern that by doing away with the valedictorian and salutatorian designations effective in 2016, the district is “taking a step backward” when it comes to encouraging academic achievement.
“I didn’t understand the need for that. Everyone knows achievement isn’t always recognized in America the way athletics are,” Hunter said. “I don’t have a problem with going to sigma, magna and cum laude, but I don’t know why it meant the top two can’t be recognized.”
He went on to outline the top three arguments given in March for doing away with the old recognition system, the first being that having a valedictorian and salutatorian is unfair to students who also perform well academically.
“I think by the time they graduate high school, students have learned the lesson that life is unfair and there are winners and losers,” Hunter said, pointing out that district sports programs do not hesitate to designate winners and losers. “I don’t think that’s a valid argument. We have stop watches that go to the third digit at track meets, so we do care who wins and loses — why are we saying we don’t care in academics?”
He also dismissed the point that with class ranking, many students forgo certain elective classes they would like to take in favor of more heavily-weighted academic courses in order to achieve a higher ranking.
“They will do the same thing with the summa, magna and cum laude system,” Hunter said. “That is really a weighted class issue.”
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