Counterpoint: Rebelling against easy As is pointless and absurd

Ryan Wiskerchen, Staff Writer

There are those who are very bitter about the frequent education trend of grade inflation, believing that it diminishes the value of their own hard work.  While it is true that the A is not the elusive creature it once was, a vocal minority seek to restructure the system to their selfish gain.  It is important to realize that grade inflation is not something to be hated or feared, rather it should be, if not embraced and encouraged, tolerated and accepted.

One of the most common arguments against the spread of higher grades is that it makes it harder for exceptional students to stand out.  That’s a foolish claim because grades are not the only thing that determines whether a student is exceptional or not.  There are so many opportunities to make yourself stand out to a college; extracurricular activities, jobs, volunteering, and unique personal essays.  It’s absurd that those who complain about their As not being fully appreciated are the students that are, by nature, more likely to be involved in things outside of school that help them stand out.

A good grade is helpful not only in getting a student to look more appealing to college, but also because of the good feelings and self-esteem boost that are associated with it. Likewise, a bad grade can be extremely detrimental to a student’s educational process. All it takes is one failing grade to establish a sense of hopelessness and defeatism.  One bad grade can be a slippery slope to academic apathy.  Good grades can encourage and convince a student to keep applying him or herself and restore their faith in the ability to succeed that bad grades may have eroded.

Instead of engaging their more cooperative instincts, those complaining about grade inflation would rather have a harsher, more unforgiving educational system. Their inflated egos push down other students. And for what result? No one would benefit from more difficult grading, not even those clamouring for it.

Those who do not care about the end result, already demoralized by the existing system, will have nothing to lose except more hope. And those who care about their grades will suffer because whether the As come easily or with difficulty now, sacrifices will have to be made to account for more competitive standards. Students who strive to achieve will be under more pressure. Any system that punishes the members of society who actually desire to be successful is flawed, no matter what the motivations behind it.

Many of the arguments against grade deflation that focus on the suffering of others will likely be lost on those advocating for harder As.  They are a selfish lot, unconcerned with who they will have to push down on their way to the top. But grade inflation is institutionalized in our educational system, for better or worse. Why should South be an exception? What advantages do we gain by going against the grain?  What on Earth could be gained by making the already trying experience of high school more difficult? Nothing.

Because it’s not just the underachievers who will suffer, as in the fairytale world that those who advocate for stricter grades seem to live in. To those of you who feel upset about how students who don’t try as hard as you do still get As, suck it up. It’s part of our educational culture. From Florida to Alaska, the exact same situation is happening, and considering that the people who you’re competing with for college spots and scholarships are not limited to just South, the only thing that will happen is a school-wide series of shooting students in the foot when it comes to applying for those limited awards, as will continue to happen to everyone else who passes through this windowless building in the years to come.

If you’re feeling unchallenged at school, there are much better avenues to take to reaching your own personal level of satisfaction than by sabotaging the chances of other students. What right do you have to deprive your peers of the chance to succeed, especially when it is for such a miniscule result as a possible, mind you, possible, improvement in your class ranking? It’s a big world out there, and if the only way that you can feel fulfilled and successful is by stepping on your fellow human beings, you are in for a lonely, miserable existence, and I pity you.

But don’t mistake that emotion for sympathy for your selfish agenda. You shall not press down upon the brow of students this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify future generations upon a cross of higher expectations!