Everywhere I Look, Royalty
The New York Times runs a story on the status of valedictorians in high schools, which, like the high school GPA, is becoming rapidly and irrevocably inflated.
The schools profiled have anywhere from seven to ninety-four – yes, ninety-four – valedictorians. Although the crux of the article focuses on the controversy over giving multiple people an honor usually reserved for a single person, the odd part about this is that these schools have essentially initiated a cum laude system; they simply label each person who’s received honors a “valedictorian”, which is sort of like naming a Pro Bowl team in the NFL and then simultaneously declaring every qualified player the MVP.
I’m not sure what the problem is, other than tradition (which at this point has been firmly broken with since the system is now gamed to get as many people as possible the highest grades possible). If you’re determined to make sure that every person in a given academic system who meets a certain set of requirements receives the highest honor, there’s already a system in place that won’t leave people feeling all butthurt about the fact that the 5.2918 GPA kid isn’t the sole valedictorian over the 5.2916 GPA kid.