Allen B. West

Is school honors night offensive to those who can’t participate?

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‘Tis the end of another school year and time for graduations and the recognition of academic excellence for the year – at least you’d think.

Now it seems some schools no longer share the drive for excellence — but instead collective mediocrity. According to a report by Foxnewsinsider.com as seen on The Kelly File, a Rhode Island middle school canceled honors night because it didn’t include everyone, then backtracked on its decision.

You have to wonder what possessed someone — an adult — to come up with that whacky idea in the first place. Life is a competition and we all strive to be the best we can be. As a matter of fact, “Be all that you can be” was the Army’s famous marketing motto. But the fact is, there are levels of achievement for just about everything in life. Achievement is not an “all inclusive.”

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Fox reports an email was sent to parents of students at Archie R. Cole Middle School in East Greenwich saying honors students would be recognized during team-based ceremonies and graduation instead of at the traditional honors ceremony. “Members of the school community have long expressed concerns related to the exclusive nature of Honors Night,” the email stated.

“How else are they supposed to learn […] coping skills, not just based on success but relative failure – it might not even be failure but understanding what it takes to achieve high levels,” parent Joe Kosloski said of the celebration’s cancelation. After days of controversy and feedback from parents, the traditional honors night is back on.

It is of great concern to me that this sense of entitlement and not wanting to offend and hurt feelings is starting at such a young stage. We cannot shield children from the truth and shame on schools for trying to do such as thing.

Principal Alexis Meyer wrote in an email, “We had no intention of failing to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary student accomplishment… Rather, our intention was to create a venue where all kids who meet the high expectations that we set for them are recognized and celebrated.” Yeah, right!

This morning at Detroit Metropolitan Airport awaiting my flight home after a great week traveling and speaking, I ran into University of Michigan football Head Coach Brady Hoke and his wife. I wonder what Coach Hoke feels about being the best in the Big 10 and going to the Rose Bowl or playing for a college football national championship? I’d imagine pretty good about achieving that standard of excellence.

I’m quite sure Coach Hoke would love to have the honor of coaching a Heisman trophy winner. And the downtown Athletic Club in New York City doesn’t gather all college football players together just to say, “All y’all are winners.” Someone will always be the best and we need to prepare our kids to excel, not just be a part of the average collective.

After all, there’s a reason why grades go from A to F. The liberal progressive socialists believe in the equality of outcomes. We conservatives believe in the equality of opportunity.

As I depart Detroit, I just have to ask, which perspective and governing philosophy was best for Detroit?

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