Last weekend, I was at a graduation ceremony where students with top grades stood to be recognized and the colleges they will be attending were announced.
It’s a common practice. But after this spring's college cheating scandal, there are signs of rethinking around such customs.
A group at Palo Alto High School in California decided recently that announcing college plans perpetuates a “toxic” culture of competition. As editors of the student paper, they broke with a decades-old tradition and chose not to publish the annual map showing which colleges seniors are headed to in the fall. “We hope this decision sparks discussion about the values and priorities of students, families and community members,” they wrote.
On the face of it, the map just presents facts, argue some students. But as the editors saw it, the cumulative effect of the map, plus constant discussions about who did and didn’t get into certain schools – and a day set aside to wear college T-shirts – created an environment that wasn’t inclusive. Other student papers have also dropped the map in recent years.
Instead, the editors published comments from students and faculty describing a range of post-graduation choices, like the military and community college. One teacher-adviser included a reminder he often gives: “College is a match, it is not a reward.”
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