Saturday, January 14, 2006

The fat lady is singing in the middle of the semester. That ain't right.

In some school systems, the valedictorians (yes, PLURAL, stupidly enough) and salutorians (again, plural) (and it has nothing whatsoever to do with tied scores, either.) are selected at the end of the first semester of senior year. In other words, for seniors, after Christmas they don't have to do a darn thing and they can still be valedictorian. Woo-hah, break out the poker chips and the playing cards; it's fun time. Lots of students drop the really hard courses after first semester, because they know grades don't matter after the mid-year cut, anyway. Why keep struggling and sweating when it's all settled at Christmastime?

These schools' official excuse for this is, that it just takes too long to figure out the standing of every single senior by the end of the year, and they have to do it half-way through the year to get it done on time.

In this day and age of computers? I don't THINK so. In most large (and small) high schools, all the grades are entered, figured, and stored on the school's server. Any teacher, administrator, parent, and even any KID can go in there at any point in time, and see his/her exact standing. It's done automatically. And if choosing a valedictorian/salutorian isn't just a matter of looking a numbers, then what is it? A popularity contest? A beauty contest? A local prominence contest? Surely not. The valedictorian is that senior student who, at graduation, earned the highest grades. Key word: earned. Weird Al EARNED it. Alicia Keys EARNED it. Conon O'Brien EARNED it. Hmm, where are all the politicians? I don't think this "honor" is so much "earned" nowadays, as "presented." Ugly. Unfair. Bad. Nothing should matter except the stat. Politics, religion, popularity, parents, nothing. Just the student's score. And this is probably the only area in which I have that opinion.

Rumor has it that most guidance department and principals have 'favorites' that are going to be chosen regardless, and that prominent parents want to take their kids to the Bahamas in February which would knock them out of the contest if it wasn't over with in December, and that late-winter basketball tournaments absolutely prohibit athletes from studying, and (get this one!) that kids returning from Spring Break just aren't able to concentrate any more and their scores wouldn't be accurate, and, and, and. . . . Well. I'm just positive those are all rumors. No truth to it at all. No, not at all. Too outrageous.

Besides, when a kid can get caught plagiarizing, have the failing grade expunged by the principal, be allowed to take the course over again with a different teacher, and STILL be valedictorian, why bother trying to be ethical or logical about anything else? I mean, really.

Two years in a row, it happened here. Coincidentally, the parents of both students were wealthy influential extremely abusively vocal parents, professionals, and both connected to the system.

But as I said, it's entirely coincidental.

But you know what? With a computer, it would be sooooo easy to wait till absolutely the last minute, on the last day of school, at the end of the day, to find the valedictorian. And it would be infinitely more fair. Heck, it might even make the title MEAN something again, because right now, in this town, it's nothing but a joke.

That's right. The last day of school. Keep working and sweating, seniors, because it shouldn't be over till it's really over.

In real life, things aren't 'over' in the middle. They've 'over' at the end.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:48 PM | |


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