Letters to the editor – Sunday – 4-30-17
End madness of selecting valedictorians & salutatorians
As a former high school counselor, I must speak up on the topic of doing away with the distinctions of valedictorians and salutatorians. This is such a must needed change! And it is definitely not a new problem. When I retired from East Rowan in 2001, it had been a problem for all of my 12 years there.
Students begin their quest to become first in their class at the very beginning of their freshman years. The “weighted grade” system gives some courses more quality points than others, making the race for first in the class a different ballgame than many of us experienced many years ago.
Without trying to give a complete explanation of the process, let me tell you that students choosing to take four years of band, chorus, ROTC,business, agriculture or any other elective course stand no chance of being first in their classes. To be first in one’s class, one must take all advanced placement and honors classes, whether they need or want them for their futures, and make A’s in them.
Then, when the final calculation is done, when all senior grades are in, sometimes on the very day of graduation, only a quarter of a point is the determination of who is No. 1. Sometimes this determination is done at the end of the winter semester of the students’ senior year, so it is really not a true picture of who has the highest score.
Please, let us end this madness! Getting away from the weighted grade system would help with the problem, but that is not going to happen.
Consult with the high school guidance counselors before you make this decision. It is they who understand this issue the best of all!
— Margaret Basinger
A supremely ridiculous idea
As a former parent of public school high school students, I find the idea of eliminating the designations of valedictorian and salutatorian supremely ridiculous, but typical of modern social trends in this country.
I actually laughed when I read the reason according to Ms. Kuhn: the race to become top in the class has become “somewhat competitive.” Heaven forbid we should ask our young adults to be somewhat competitive! After all, this exemplifies the pernicious ideology that everyone is a winner.
Young people who compete in school will be our future leaders. Why would you not want them to strive as hard as they can if they have that competitive streak? Honoring them as valedictorian and salutatorian gives them confidence and self-empowerment that can propel them into college. Who do we plan to hear speak at graduation? The students who are elected to office because they’re good looking? What great role models for underclassmen! We encourage our athletes to work harder; I suppose so they can be our future NFL stars. Now that’s a realistic goal! I suggest that the school leaders get their priorities straight and deal with the real problems in public education.
— Amy Wimmer
Preserving wealth at the top
Part of Trump’s new tax plan is to eliminate the federal estate tax. Sounds good doesn’t it? But unless your estate is valued at more than $5.4 million (per individual), this doesn’t affect you anyway. This is essentially another tax break for the rich.
If he really wanted to help the middle class and the country, why not close the loopholes that currently allow the rich to avoid or minimize this tax? Didn’t he promise he’d “close the loopholes”?
If passed, a significant revenue source would be eliminated so this will cause more deficits for the middle class to shoulder. Think about it. Who would benefit from this proposal? I know I won’t. More wealth at the top doesn’t mean it’s going to trickle down no matter how rosy an economic picture he tries to paint.
— Joanne Bryla
Still trying to clear the air
Several years ago, Kinky Friedman wrote a book titled, “You Can Lead a Politician To Water, But You Can’t Make Him Think.”
A couple of weeks ago, I asked a different question to five different politicians/people. I guess you can’t get them to answer a question, either. Maybe the questions were too hard.
This week I will ask just one person, Alyssa Smith of Healthy Rowan, five different questions:
1. Who do I need to contact to help Healthy Rowan to rectify a very unhealthy situation?
2. What is Healthy Rowan doing to ban tobacco products from RoCo parks?
3. When will all those way too many ridiculous signs be replaced with just one sign — Welcome To Our Tobacco-Free Parks?
4. Where is the “healthy” in allowing this most “unhealthy” problem to go on and on around our children?
5. Why is Judy Klusman on the Healthy Rowan team?
— Whitey Harwood