North Carolina High Schools Will Stop Naming a Valedictorian Because It Leaves Some Children Behind

| MAY 20, 2016 | 1:10 AM

The titles “Valedictorian” and “Salutatorian” aren't inclusive enough, according to North Carolina's Wake County school board, which voted on Tuesday to change the way the schools rank their students at graduation.

In a unanimous decision, the board voted to bar principals from appointing valedictorians and salutatorians — usually the top two most prestigious positions in a graduating class based on grade point average — and instead implement a new system that would reward more students.

The News & Observer reports that:

Starting in 2019, high schools would begin using a new system that recognizes seniors with Latin titles such as cum laude if they have a weighted GPA of at least 3.75... recognizing students with a weighted GPA of 4.25 or higher with the distinction of summa cum laude. Seniors with a weighted GPA of 4.0 to 4.249 would receive the distinction of magna cum laude.

According to school board chairman Tom Benton, the age-old system of assigning a valedictorian was encouraging an “unhealthy” level of competition, and students were choosing courses based on what would boost their GPA rather than what they would learn.

He added:

“We think it’s much healthier to set high expectations and high requirements for magna cum laude. The students now have a target that they can shoot for, and if they achieve that they’re recognized for that.”

As expected, the debate on social media has been fiery, with some slamming the decision:

But some are happy with the change:

And Twitter wouldn't be Twitter without at least one jokester:

A cursory Google search offers a bevy of articles in favor of and against removing the valedictorian system. But for Wake County, the decision to move from recognizing just two seniors to recognizing a broader spectrum of students is now a done deal.