Saturday, April 29, 2006

More proof that educrats are dumbasses ... 
One out of every seven graduating seniors - 75 students in all - are named "valedictorian" at Westview High School in Beaverton, OR.(No, that's not Beaverview High in Weston, you perv! And yes, Beaverton's a really nice place, but not quite for the reason you would think from its name.)

Yes, the REAL valedictorian in my graduating class, and a former schoolteacher, recently quit the Oregon Public School System in disgust. (Maybe that very district! I know she lives in Beaverton.)

The reporter does a great job of digging into the consequences of valedictory inflation:

The rising number of valedictorians is not lost on college admission officers.

"All of us acknowledge that what valedictorian means is different now than it was 20 years ago," said Martha Pitts, assistant vice president for enrollment at the University of Oregon. Pitts said UO used to offer a scholarship to every high school valedictorian but ended the practice years ago because there were simply too many.

That's right, you dolts. By watering down the achievement, you screwed over your REAL valedictorians.

And here's a district "executive administrator, Rick Miller.

"We're talking about many different things, including, is there a need for a valedictorian? It's kind of an old vestige," Miller said.

Spoken like a true product of the education establishment. Your commitment to mediocrity is touching.

I also like the reporter's deft and wry wit, in selecting these words as the closer for her article:

In a perfect world, we would have all students achieving at that level," said Mike Osborne, Beaverton School Board chairman. "They would all be valedictorians."

Isn't that special?

Splash, out


Remember, it's all about equality of outcome. It does't matter what the outcome is as long as everyone gets the same one.*

*Except for those responsible for ensuring the equality, they need a bit extra.
That's one thing I expressed more than once in one of my classes this past semester - we need to provide equal opportunities, but we can not get equal outcomes. I think that's one reason I want to teach the younger grades - I'll teach one class all subjects (except for things like art, music and PE), and I will do my best to give my students a proper foundation for the rest of their academic careers. I'll also try to teach them about making choices and dealing with the consequences of the choices they make - for good or bad. Maybe that will help them to apply themselves to their school work?
This reminds me of rankings on officer fitness reports. If I were ranked as 1 of 1 at a small command, does that make me a better officer than 2 of 10 at a larger command?

About 10 years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from Corvallis High School. Demographically, Corvallis, Oregon is similar to Beaverton. My Daughter graduated 14th in her class, so was unable to make the Valedictorian or Salutatorian list. Now mind you, she had taken every AP course she could get her hands on and had received an "A" in every single class she took except AP English; which she took in her Freshman year. That particular class she received a "B+" (the highest grade given in that class) and the teacher had openly stated that she didn't believe in giving "A"s anyway. That one "B+" was enough to drop her to 14th. The competition at her school was extremely stiff. After graduation from CHS, my daughter was admitted to Oregon State in the Honors College with Sophomore status and with an Oregon Laurels Scholorship.

If you are going to expand the concept beyond the first and second place students (which may or may not be warrented,) where do you draw the line? If you had decided that a 3.9 GPA was sufficient, then my daughter's class would have had approximately the same percentage of Valedictorians as the recent Westview class. I don't know what criteria Westview used to determine who qualified for Valedictorian and I'd suggest that the criteria be tightened significantly in order to maintain some value to it. I do know that it is possible that you can have that high a percentage of graduates in one school that might equal academically the top graduate in some other school. Westview HS might be guilty of PC running wild, or just setting their standards too loose.

Since we don't have any method of determining the relative merits of one Valedictorian from another, it seems sort of a moot point anyway.
This former Aloha Warrior is glad his high school has decided that the award goes to the top GPA.

Weighted GPAs are ridiculous and merely for show. An A is an A is an A; none of this 'B' could be a 'A'. What are we gonna start doing, issuing handcaps like in golf?
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