The End of the Valedictorian

NPR had an article yesterday about Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota, which is graduating its last valedictorian this year.  They are eliminating the honor starting next fall.  The article claimed that this was a growing national trend.  Too many students connive with their parents as early as middle school to figure out how to attain the honor, and this supposedly leads to less collaborative efforts with other students who also want to succeed.

I was not valedictorian of my high school but I knew who was likely going to be valedictorian and I did everything I could to get as close to his grades as possible.  It became my goal to try to reach that bar.

The article didn’t mention whether or not the school was also eliminating the award for the top athlete in the school, or the election of the prom king or the prom queen.  If I had to guess (and I do) I would guess that these other number one positions were not eliminated.

I don’t get this at all.  I can find no rationale for justifying how the elimination of a goal helps more students to achieve it.  I am terribly discouraged to think that our educational system is setting the bar closer and closer to mediocrity.


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