There is an alarming trend in public schools, probably due to NEA liberal policies much like distribution of income/socialism that Obama and his progressives in his administration advocate.
Some schools are giving the title of valedictorian to all "A" students or the top 10 even if some have been taking all honors and Advanced Placement (college level courses). This is just part of the national liberal move toward mediocrity and removing competition among students to avoid self esteem, political correct and equality issues with students. Do you think that the Germans, Japanese, and Chinese will follow this trend - I don't think so.
We have been slowly dropping behind in science and math for years and this will accelerate that trend. I coached the state champion UIL science team at Highland Park High school for 20 years and believe me the drive to be #1 in the class is a strong factor in competition and excellence at the highest levels. This is another reason why I believe the public schools are doomed to mediocrity and ultimate failure and the private and charter schools will be the future of education. If you take away a major reward for success, you will take away the drive to excel in the very best, brightest, college bound students.
My home town ,Tyler Texas , used to be a model school district which many other school districts modeled but has slowly eroded due to liberal policies. A teacher was actually killed on campus by an psychologically unstable student who should have been in an alternate (like jail) school setting due to previous criminal activity even after warnings were given to administration and counselors - unbelievable, but sadly true! The civil rights of a dangerous student was more important than than faculty safety - God forbid we wouldn't want to damage a student's self esteem!
By the way, many conservative educators and politicians like Newt Gingrich advocate abolishing the Department of Education and the NEA as it exists today because of the destructive effects of rampant liberalism in American school administrations and the "dumbing down" effects on students.
According to a conservative high school classmate of mine from Tyler who is a Constitutional scholar, says the Department of Education is unconstitutional and should be abolished!
The reason why Highland Park will survive is because it refuses all federal funds and doesn't pay any attention to the NEA. It is a "private" public school and has its own funding from a private foundation to supplement what the socialistic "Robin Hood" tax redistribution plan takes away every year.
Another indication that liberal policies in public schools, like teaching less American exceptionalism and history, is dumbing down students was evident in a Fourth of July survey today of young Americans in which 26% didn't know we gained our independence from Great Britain. Some actually answered China????
This is much like what you see on Jay Leno's show when he asks people on the street very easy questions that all Americans should know, like what happened on the Fourth of July and who George Washington was yet they know who Fifty Cent, the rapper and Lady Gaga are! Unbelievable but true!
True progressive socialists don't believe America is exceptional and we should open our borders and establish a world government and economy like Europe has done and balance the wealth among nations - a scary possibility with Obama in charge! Consequently they don't want our children to know much about our great American History and Heritage!! We must reverse this trend somehow or our children will suffer in a European socialistic society.