Thursday, May 29, 2008

Penalised for academic excellence!

I read this news report on Dallas Morning News and was really shocked. Though US universities have established themselves as the ultimate destination for higher studies, the primary and secondary education is suffering from archaic legislations and stupid interpretations.

This is one classic example of a student who is being penalised and refused the honor she truly deserves. The reason, she completed the four-year high school diploma in just three years and the school board laws state that only students with four-year high school records are eligible for the highest honor. And more than that two attorneys both of the school district and the state board of schools have upheld this archaic law and said that the excelling student should not be awarded the honour. Can it get any more absurd?

I had heard great accolades about the wonderful government and legal systems of America but after reading these types of news reports I wonder where things have gone wrong.

"Grapevine High School senior Anjali Datta holds the highest grade-point average of the 471 students graduating from Grapevine High School this year. In fact, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD officials believe her GPA of 5.898 may be the highest in the high school's history. It's still not enough to make her the valedictorian, which brings a one-year college scholarship from the state," writes Dallas Morning News correspondent Laurie Fox.

Isn't it ironical and down right humiliating for Anjali Datta who has worked hard and completed high school credits in just three years. Normal students take four years to complete this course work and now she is being slapped right across the face for excelling academics. After seeing the treatment meted out to Anjali, will any other student attempt a similar feat? Aren't the school authorities stifling talent and creativity by insisting on archaic rules?

Well, I am no expert on American law or education system to talk about these issues. It is just that I felt that this is a great injustice done to a bright student so I decided to blog about the story. Read more on Dallas Morning News and leave your comments to the editor as well as the school district. Maybe public pressure will make the ISD change their minds.

There is a poll on Dallas Morning News Website with option for voters to leave their comments. It is interesting to read the comments both in support and against Anjali Datta. I would like to quote some reactions here:
Reactions in favour of Anjali
"This is not only unfair, it is outrageous! Regardless of my personal disdain toward such potentially inflammatory outcries, I find myself questioning if racial, religious, political or gender bias has not been in some way employed to justify such an illogical conclusion. Miss Datta was encouraged and assured, by the only school district officials with whom she has access, that her valedictorian honor status would not be affected by early graduation. (there is more online)"
If anything, students who graduate early (with top grades) should be even more recognized for their accomplishments!!! Shame on Grapevine ISD for not giving the true Valedictorian the credit she deserves!
What a joke. This is why our puplic school systems are is the mess that they are ! So not future students will be planning their futures to now work the system vs doing their very best.
She worked much harder in three years than the boy did in four!! The board members of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD should consider revamping their policy, which is very unfair!!
If she were "white" this not not be an issue.
To have a policy that does not reward excellence at an accelerated pace is ludicrous and inflexible. Boneheaded decision.

Reactions against Anjali
She's not an american any way
Of course it is fair. I completely support the decision of the school district. Ya, you might be a smart cookie and can get all your stuff done quicker than everyone else, but you know what, High School is usually Four Years. Congrats on your 3 year plan. No, just step aside and quit your bitching.
These students who graduate early usually have a superior IQ anyway, and why is that fair to your average student who busts their tail every night trying to just keep up with someone so gifted. Therefore, I think the student who has tried the hardest (taken a full 4 years to accomplish this) should be the one honored!

Read more comments: Survey


Anonymous said...

I've gone to school with Anjali since middle school. She's smart, yeah, she's been the top of my class ever since she moved up into my class. But she wasn't even considered a senior until the middle of this school year. The GHS yearbook still classifies her as a Junior because that's how many credits she's had up until this semester.
It makes since.
If you'd been going to school with the same kids for years, and then some girl you don't know comes and takes away the title of valedictorian from a kid that the whole class really likes, you wouldn't be happy, trust me.
She hasn't had any trouble getting into colleges, she's just never been able to be 2nd best. It's always been this way.
She's still getting a Valedictorian title and she's getting a ridiculous amount of publicity so now every single college knows that she's the rightful owner of the GHS 09 Valedictorian title. Big Whoop.
The 09 Senior class would refuse to walk as a whole before they'd let Anjali be the Valedictorian. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

Sahasi said...

A topper is a toppers whether the class likes her or not. If she has the higher grade and necessary credits. She should get the title due to her. The other guy though took four years couldn't come anywhere close to her grades... that goes to say how good she is...
Everybody in this world has a right to his/ her opinion. You have expressed yours. Thanks for the comment.

Sudha said...

it is not a popularity contest! She is the topper.period. I hope it gets sorted out and she doesn't get penalized for being that smart...

Sahasi said...

I agree with you Sudha. This was a completely unncessary controversy created by archaic laws of the school district. Let us hope things get sorted out and the topper gets due honors.

Anonymous said...

Very useful topic