Leave choice to districts

Published 10:01 am Friday, June 14, 2019

A Republican lawmaker in the state has made headlines in recent weeks for an effort to require every school district in Ohio to designate a valedictorian and salutatorian.

The legislation from state Rep. Niraj Antani comes in response to reports that Mason City Schools was eliminating valedictorians.

Reports on Mason City’s move were covered sensationalistically across the country, with many acting as if such a move was unheard of.

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Critics accused the district of being “too PC” in making the move, a sentiment that was echoed in Antani’s remarks.

“Look, we don’t want to create a society where everyone gets a trophy,” he told TV station WSYX of Columbus.

The fact is, what happened with Mason schools was nothing earth shattering.

Many school districts in the state, including some here in Lawrence County, do not name valedictorians.

Whether one agrees with Mason Schools and other districts that such titles are an outdated, pressure-focused approach to education, or thinks such a competitive approach prepares students for the workplace, one should hope the decision on the matter is made at a local level.

Antani’s proposal comes as a top-down dictate, the kind of “big government” approach Republicans have traditionally been against.

In matters of education, no one knows the community’s desires better than local faculty and school boards.

We would ask that legislators trust local officials to do what the community thinks is best, rather than forcing yet another state mandate on educators.