Local schools ditch valedictorian title

District should keep title, but make changes, honor more students


The Orator Staff

It has become routine after the new semester kicks in for students to open Infinite Campus and check what their class rank is. Some students are joyful they moved up and some are disappointed they have moved down, but it gives the students something to work on, a reason to keep trying.
It is a shame however that high schools across the country and even here in the Metro area are getting rid of class rankings and valedictorian titles. Bellevue Public Schools is the latest of the schools to end the valedictorian tradition at their schools with the class of 2022. The schools have cited similar reasons for ending the tradition such as schools shouldn’t rank the students and unhealthy competition between high achieving students could arise and cause problems.
Doing away with class ranking and valedictorians takes away from high achieving students. Those students who work hard throughout the school year deserve to be recognized.
Schools getting rid of competition in the classroom simply doesn’t make sense. Getting rid of competition means our students won’t try as hard because there isn’t that motivation in their mind to keep them going.
Some schools have even said it’s not their job to rank and sort students. However, this logic is inconsistent within schools and the real world. If schools aren’t supposed to rank and sort students, why separate students by academic skills in honors and AP classes or even have grades at all?
Schools do this to better serve students at their academic levels so students who are struggling to read are not put into an AP English class. Schools themselves are ranked by test scores and AP/honors participation.
The world is driven by statistics and those who have a higher rank are rewarded with salary raises, promotions etc. Getting rid of the valedictorian status tells our students that their hard work and achievements from the last four years shouldn’t be celebrated because other students can’t compete and they shouldn’t have gone the extra mile.
However, schools can have both. Schools can still recognize high achieving students without the need to only have one student recognized. A tiered diploma system where students are awarded special diplomas based on their GPA in addition to the current valedictorian system would allow more students to be recognized for their academic achievements while not taking away from the top student.
Colleges across the country including the University of Nebraska at Omaha use this system.
BPS and Westside are moving to a tiered system to recognize more students, but they have replaced the valedictorian. Both systems together would be best to still honor the top student while recognizing the achievements of more students.