Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

May 6, 2013

High school honors are losing importance

(Continued)

No wonder any kid who doesn’t make honors is devastated. Back when the term meant something, 80 percent or more of the students didn’t make it, so they had lots of company. Now, there are so few of them, they feel like total losers.

According to local press reports, the principal has said the honor students will still be recognized, in front of all their peers at an end-of-the-year assembly. If so, that will go directly against his assertion that it’s not educationally sound for non-honors students to feel badly.

Beyond that, however, to declare that this is educationally sound is ridiculous. It does students no favors to shield them from reality.

Yes, all students are unique and special. But that doesn’t mean that they are good at everything. A key element to a successful adult life is learning, and accepting, your strengths and weaknesses.

I was grievously disappointed when I didn’t make my high-school baseball team. But it taught me to put more emphasis in areas where I did have some aptitude — writing and music.

Not making the honor roll doesn’t need to undermine happiness, or success either. I have childhood friends who I blew away in the grade-point-average department who ended up making much more money than I did because they were good mechanics or electricians.

“Protecting” kids from the “devastation” of trying and failing is failing them. If they don’t learn it in middle school, it will be that much harder, and more devastating, to learn it later.

— Taylor Amerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

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