Tecumseh High School is considering a wide-scale overhaul to its graduation requirements, sources say. The changes would place an emphasis on competition and reduce the number of students who receive a diploma each year.
Two sources with knowledge of the proposed changes spoke with Main & Lake on the condition of anonymity. Both confirmed that Tecumseh’s new graduation process would allow only the top 10% of performers from each class to graduate with a diploma. Performance ranking will be determined by grade point average and standardized test scores. Tecumseh currently follows state guidelines for graduation, which requires at least 20 credits spread over a variety of subjects, as well as satisfactory marks on one of several available test paths.
The news out of Tecumseh comes on the heels of Mason High School’s (near Cincinnati, Ohio) decision to eliminate the valedictorian and salutatorian titles in an effort to “reduce competitive culture” among their classes.
Cleveland Browns star quarterback Baker Mayfield weighed in with his thoughts on the changes in Mason via Twitter. His sentiments have been roundly praised across social media. Mayfield does offer a unique perspective as someone who has reached the absolute zenith of his field.
This is so dumb. You’re telling me competition doesn’t bring out the best in people? If you want something bad enough, work for it. People are too soft. https://t.co/fKUSJhFUF5
— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) May 11, 2019
“We are diametrically opposed to that line of thinking and we think they’ll suffer for that change sooner rather than later,” one source with knowledge of the Tecumseh changes told Main & Lake. “Competition is vital and, if anything, it should be amplified. We don’t celebrate participation trophies in sports and we no longer want to celebrate participation diplomas, either.”
What happens to the 90% of students who will not graduate under the new rules?
“Those students will have the option to repeat 12th grade and try to improve their standing to earn a diploma. They may also seek employment opportunities and enter the job force,” a second source told us.
The source also said he expects the change to make Tecumseh a destination for students seeking to set themselves apart from their peers. “If you’re a top football player what do you do? Your parents fake an address or job in another district and you transfer to a better football program for more exposure and better resources. Why should education be any different? Top performers should be incentivized, and poor performers should be punished.”
He continued: “I’d love to see us get to a place where we have live rankings of which students are leading. Imagine that. ‘Joey Duncum is leading the school in math, but Paytin Peterson is right behind him. It’s going to come down to Friday’s test to see who graduates.’ School could become a spectator sport, possibly a revenue generating entity. Very exciting possibilities.”
Won’t this affect the futures of the 90% of Tecumseh students who don’t graduate?
“Losers are losers, and pretending they aren’t losers is how we became a nation of snowflakes in the first place. Maybe the 90% will go learn a trade instead of bogging down the system with unpaid student loans and government assistance like everyone else,” the source said. “I need someone to fix my garage door right now and I can’t get anyone to do it because all the young people would rather go to college and read about paintings. Imagine if all those liberal arts degrees were garage door repair certifications. Every garage door in New Carlisle would work.”
Our other source had a different idea. “Get a GED and join the military. This is America and we can never have too many troops. Especially if we get back to fighting to make America great. Yeah, we’re going to need a lot of troops.”
What do you think? Has participation trophy culture ruined our schools like it has our sports? Is this idea overboard? Should school be competitive, or should simply showing up for four years and getting marginal grades earn a student the same certificate that all but the top students currently receive? Sound off in the comments and let us know!!