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Friday, 05 June 2020 18:55

OUR VIEW: Richmond County School Board picked wrong year to make honor-system switch

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The Richmond County Board of Education has done a disservice to the district’s top students.

Earlier this week, the School Board voted 6-1 to switch to the Latin Honor System instead of using the valedictorian-salutatorian system — a long-used system that Dr. Kate Smith, executive director of curriculum and instruction, called outdated.

Smith said the biggest concern with just naming a valedictorian and salutatorian is that the competition is so tight, with eight thousandths of a point separating the top two. She added that only a thousandth of a point separates those ranked 1-31.

She made the proposal to board members, saying this year would be the best time to make the switch because of all of the inequities caused in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We completely disagree.

This is possibly the worst year to do it for the same reason she mentioned.

The class of 2020 has been robbed of a normal senior year.

And those who have worked hard to have the best grades have been robbed of the honor of being the top two in their class.

The upside is the class ranking will still be available on the students’ transcripts — just no pomp and circumstance.

We applaud School Board member Pat Campbell for trying to compromise with a combined system, where not only would the top however-many students be recognized, but the salutatorian and valedictorian would also have their moment of glory.

“Why take that away from them?” Campbell asked Smith, saying just going to the Latin system “feels like it’s a participation trophy” and called the change the “next step toward socialism.”

Why, indeed.

And just days before the awards ceremony, at that.

But it doesn’t just affect this year’s graduates. The underclassmen who have already started working toward that goal have had the honor rug pulled out from underneath their academic feet.

While we don’t totally disagree with switching to the system, it would be more fair to start with the Class of 2024 so everyone would start out with that expectation. 

And isn’t this about fairness?


Last modified on Friday, 05 June 2020 19:00
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