North Carolina has initially approved a policy which, if it passes would ban its’ high schools from naming valedictorians and salutatorians claiming that this kind of competition is hazardous to the student’s health. A final decision on the policy will not be made until June 7th. If the policy passes it will not be implemented until 2019.
According to National Review Online:
Under the new policy, the schools would use the Latin honors system that’s used in colleges, giving a “cum laude” designation to students with a 3.75 GPA or higher, a “magna cum laude” designation to students with a 4.0 to a 4.249 GPA and a “summa cum laude” to students with a 4.25 GPA or higher.
Another concern was that students who have class flexibility will have a tendency to choose easier classes to pad their GPA.
There are a couple of problems with this policy. Changing the words isn’t going to change anything else. No matter what title you choose to give those who reach a certain GPA. If students are choosing classes not based on their future plans but on their GPA, they are going to continue to do so, because “they still have GPAs” noted Katherine Timpf in her NRO article.
Secondly, it does not eliminate competition. Under the new policy, rather than competing to have a higher GPA than others, students will be competing against themselves and their own GPAs to see how high they can climb. This will only increase their sense of competition rather than eliminating it. However, it is much better to compete against yourself than against others.
If this policy does anything it will increase students sense of competition, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s a good thing. Competition is healthy, it drives you to do your best, it drives you to push your limits and push past where you thought you could go to discover your true capabilities. It also tests you to see how much you really care. Those who don’t care won’t try. Those who do care will continually push themselves. Occasionally competition can get out of hand and can cause a true detriment to our health, but this is a rare occurrence. Also, sleep deprivation unless it is truly serious, does not qualify as being detrimental to your health. Just ask any college student.
Competition is not only healthy, but it is a completely normal part of life, and it will prepare these students for the real world. In the job market we compete for jobs, positions, titles, money, even respect. Competition is how we survive.