This is not a joke

Afraid of lawsuits by the parents of mediocre students, Nashville schools won’t post honor rolls.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The school honor roll, a time-honored system for rewarding A-students, has become an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.

As a result, all Nashville schools have stopped posting honor rolls, and some are also considering a ban on hanging good work in the hallways — all at the advice of school lawyers.

After a few parents complained their children might be ridiculed for not making the list, Nashville school system lawyers warned that state privacy laws forbid releasing any academic information, good or bad, without permission.

Some schools have since put a stop to academic pep rallies. Others think they may have to cancel spelling bees. And now schools across the state may follow Nashville’s lead.

Some principals are asking parents to sign permission slips allowing their children’s achievements to be recognized. But others want to abolish academic honors and competitions.

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  1. Lovely. And of course, tax dollars are paying the fees of these lawyers.

    Sometimes I feel as though we’re living April Fool’s day every day.

  2. I remember crap like this when I was in high school, there was a proposal to award Academic Letters (like one would get for lettering in sports), but the Jocks and their parents soon objected, and the plan was dropped.

    There is no rationale to how far the legal morons have messed up the school system.

  3. Yup.

    In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is running the risk of being knocked down and blinded.

  4. Reminds me of something…

    I would say Harrison Bergeron, but that make me sound too elitist and cause emotional harm to the people who didn’t think of it.

  5. And America continues to be pussified

  6. In some high schools, like the one I graduated from, I was better off not being recognized for anything exceptional that I did. That was true for all the kids who were not part of my class from their earliest years. Only certain students were supposed to excel. Virtue does not lie in receiving honors but in deserving them.

  7. Alex Bensky says:

    How about not handing out letter jackets to varsity atheltes because the less atheltic kids might feel excluded? Nah; what a silly idea.

  8. We value sports more than academics. You can’t lengthen the school day, or heaven forbid, have a later start time to take into account the scientific fact that most teenagers need to sleep later in the morning; you’ll interfere with the sports programs! Whenever I mention what school I teach at around here, everybody knows our quarterback and football coach. One of these days I’d like to ask them to name a single member of our math team.

    By the way, I’ve never met an embarrassed underachiever. If they were truly embarrassed, they’d do their homework.

  9. I am just shaking my head at that article. Unreal.

    Rita: So correct. I get parent e-mails and phone calls asking for “an extra day” for homework, etc. because “of athletic responsibilities.” Responsibilities? We even dismiss ridiculously early from school for away sports games, so kids can miss up to two full classes at the end of the day. Our district is too cheap to pay an extra bus driver to haul them at our regular dismissal time, yet we have all sorts of “activity buses” available for just about anything else! Yeesh!

  10. Merit is racism.

    Equal opportunity means equal results.

    Whatever Educators holds to be education is education.

  11. jeff wright says:

    Well, duh. We all made it this way. This didn’t happen in a vacuum. How many of you vote? How many of you pin your elected representatives down on school issues? How many of you say, “Ah, it’s too much bother to go to that school board meeting?” Or, “I love those Spartans (or whatever) when they go out and kick the crap out of those Tigers (or whatever)?” How many of you teach your daughters to go after the football hero? To be cheerleaders? How many of you speak disparagingly about nerds?

    What do you think would be the net impact if girls just flat-out refused to be cheerleaders?

    Well, duh.

  12. Mark Odell says:

    Shawn wrote: Reminds me of something…

    I would say Harrison Bergeron, but that make me sound too elitist and cause emotional harm to the people who didn’t think of it.

    Bill wrote: There is no rationale to how far the legal morons have messed up the school system.

    Reminds me of something else….

  13. Walter Wallis says:

    Can you say “pussified” on blog?

  14. Art Davis says:

    Okay, so why don’t the schools stop bragging about their outstanding athletes? It goes on and on, but think of “how it makes the athletically challenged feel!”

    From another slant, where did all these lawyers go to school? Probably didn’t, or they would know that it is the other way around: it’s the kids on the honor roll who get jeered at, not the other way around.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Shawn posted:

    “I would say Harrison Bergeron, but that make me sound too elitist and cause emotional harm to the people who didn’t think of it.”

    I wonder if Vonnegut ever imagined that the logical consequence of politcal correctness would be upon us so soon.

  16. The rot is very deep, and while it will not extend to high school atheletics because of their strong cultural significance, the levelling impulse is present in sports at the elementary and even middle-school levels. A reading selection I had been constrained to use in my third-grade class presented as admirable the act of a soccer played who betrayed his team by forgoing an easy goal to pass the ball off to a weak player. The lesson: making others feel good trumps integrity. It is not the game that matters, but the feelings of the member of Rawls’ “worst-off class.”

  17. Walter – Not sure if you can say that, but you can say, “estupidification”, which is Fred On Everything’s term for what’s happening in today’s schools.

    What I find so mindboggling about the “educators” who fear competition and public praise are the two completely inaccurate assumptions that they make when opposing things such as honor rolls. The first wrong assumption is that removing public ranking will remove real differences among kids (this is akin to the assumption that removing tests such as the SAT will make achievement gaps go away).

    The second assumption is that removing school-sanctioned rankings will remove the tendency of kids to assess and judge one another on a multitude of attributes, including looks, grades, money, cars, clothes, you name it. This assumption goes against pretty much everything we know about human nature; for teenage nature, it goes double.

    Whatever happened to teaching kids to treat everyone with respect and to understand that people achieve in different areas, and everyone should recieve praise for their area of achievement? This is why there’s nothing wrong with sports awards nights, honor rolls, cheerleaders, and voting kids “Nicest” and “Best Sense of Humor” in the yearbook.

  18. oh, for pete’s sake. If they are going to do away with honor rolls and hanging “good work” in the halls, I sure hope they abolish sports as well – or at least stop publishing the pictures of the school sports stars and stories about the teams’ big wins in the paper. And the same with drama, art, music, etc., etc.

    For some of us, academic ability was all that we had. This is tantamount to telling the students “yes, you’re smart, but that doesn’t matter.”

    The really stupid thing is, when you get out into the real world, there ARE people who do better than you. There ARE people who are better than you at whatever you choose to do, just as there are people who are worse. I would think that school would be a good time to begin teaching children how to deal with the disappointment of being shown up at something, the guts to gird their loins and work hard to do better when they feel that way, and the class to be gracious and sportsmanlike when they do succeed, and not to rub their peers’ faces in it.

    Also, of course, in many districts, the culture is such that getting good grades is a ticket to nerd-dom and second-class citizen status among the students, so many places the value of being a spelling bee champ, or writing excellent papers, or getting straight A’s has effectively been taken away already.

    And I do suppose there’s a lesson in it somewhere about appreciating the accomplishment and what you can do without being rewarded for it. But still, it’s sad to think of a kid working his or her tail off, getting straight A’s for the first time, and being told “oh, no, we don’t do the Honor Roll any more, it might make someone feel bad.”

  19. D. Cooper says:

    Don’t you sports fans worry … those lawyers are hard at work … soon we’ll report that Happyville HS played Joytown HS in football last night. No scores of course, we wouldn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. And of course when little Johnny rips a double down the left field line in a Little League game … his parents watching in the stands will not be permitted to cheer… after all … well you know.

    Does it get any more absurd than this ??

  20. PJ/Maryland says:

    D., I don’t think we can allow Johnny to rip a double, either. Think how bad the opposing pitcher must have felt… I think we’ll just have to go to some random element; have the pitcher and batter do rock-paper-scissors to see if the batter gets on base, or something. And we should have lots of ties, because then no one’s feelings will be hurt.

    Makes me think of the Simpson’s episode where Principal Skinner introduces uniforms to end independent thought by students. The game of tag goes:

    Todd (touches Lisa): You’re “it”.
    Lisa walks over and touches Milhouse.
    Lisa: Now you are the one who is “it”.
    Milhouse: Understood.

  21. Man, I grew up in the wrong decade. If my parents has just waited 20 years I’d be camping out in Underachiever Heaven right now, laughing at the students who actually do their homework.

    Who can I sue retroactivaly for making my high school years a pain in my tuckus?

  22. David C. McNair says:

    Tax credits are the only way to put competition back in the government schools. Arizona was the first state to do so, and it is working quite well. Teachers, parents, and superintendents are pleased; the thought control folks, the ACLU and the teachers’ unions, objected. Other states are going in that direction.
    This hogwash about “public schools forever” is ridiculous; all eduction is public. We all function in the public arena when we finish formal education, whether government or private. Too many parents have been taken in by the institution of public schools and really don’t care about the education of the students.

  23. Richard Cook says:

    We are mophing into the society of fear. Scared to demonstrate excellence, scared to speak your mind, scared to achieve without assistance, scared to stand up for yourself, scared someone may notice, scared to boast about you son/daughter, scared to play, scared to run, scared to shout, scared to standout and finally scared to live.

  24. Kimberly: Whatever happened to teaching kids to treat everyone with respect and to understand that people achieve in different areas, and everyone should recieve praise for their area of achievement?

    Whatever happened to teaching kids to exhibit any sort of decent or appropriate behavior?

    Oh, don’t get me wrong; I realize there are still parents out there who bother to discipline their children, because I do see them in public from time to time. Overwhelmingly, though, the attitude is “the world revolves around the fruit of my loins, and through them, me, because I Have Gone Forth and Multipled.” [*retch*]

    I once shushed a 3-year-old in a local Staples after having had to listen to his shrieking from the other side of the store for over 20 minutes. He wasn’t even throwing a tantrum, either; that was his normal speaking voice. His outraged mother’s reaction was, “If you don’t like it, leave.” I’m sure lots of parents would consider me as having been rude. I don’t care. I think they’re the inconsiderate ones, and for the most part, a gentle request doesn’t work with them, either. (“How dare you criticize my little Bratleigh?!”)

    If parents can’t teach kids such simple behaviors as “don’t run amok through the store” and “speak in an indoor voice,” how do we expect them to teach their kids more complex behaviors as “treat everyone with respect and kindness”?

    Oh, and as far as sports goes: I can’t find it via GIS, but I once saw a wonderful Photoshop of a “bumper sticker” that said Sports: The Opposite of Reading.

  25. Valkyrie … can you imagine trying to teach a class with 2 or 3 of those ‘well mannered’ youingsters from hell er I mean Staples … and talking to their parents …

    McNair wants to give tax credits … fine, but as a public school teacher, just give me an even playing field and keep the ACLU lawyers at bay. You wouldn’t go to a surgeon who had his hands tied, but you’ve tied the hands of teachers in many respects and expect the world. We’re not magicians; just ordinary folk trying to do best for your children.

    Too many kids (in High School) ask: When will we ever need this? This question usually arises when something to be learned is difficult or someone else(like a parent) hasn’t sat down with their child to explain what an education is all about. Somewhere, kids High School have gotten the impression that High School is job training. As I’ve told my students on many occassions … you get job training in most jobs, when you get the job. What I’m doing is trying to help you get the job in the first place. These are the kinds of ideas parents should be instilling in their children. Sadly, not enough are. It’s difficult enough to teach them the subject matter, it’s even more difficult when they don’t want to learn it and need to be convinced. Parents can help in that department.

  26. Let’s not turn this into a thing about jocks vs scholars. The cure for abolishing the competitive spirit in academics is *not* to also abolish the competitive spirit in sports.

    A far better line of attack is to draw analogies and to point out the implications if this kind of thing is allowed to continue.

  27. D. Cooper says:

    I think David, that I at least tried to point out the absurd extension of this madness. I taught in a school where the honor roll listed the names alphabetically so as not to ‘shame’ someone who didn’t cut the mustard. Now they’d like to eliminate it altogether just to make sure no one feels bad. There was also a senior awards night to honor a variety of student academic achievements. It’s still in place but who knows down the road what will happen. Just when you thought ‘political correctness’ has reached its absurdity limit … bam … it gets raised a little higher. I taught about limits in mathematics … none here as far as I can see.

    When these kids hit the real world and find out that there are no free lunches .. what then? … It wouldn’t suprise me if the ACLU sues some school district on behalf of an underachiever for telling him/her that he/she wasn’t as great as he/she (I need to he/she here so as to be PC) ..thought he/she was.

    The question is; who is going to deliver the wake-up call and when? Seems like no one, and if so, it’ll be too late.


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