Letter: Not publishing honor roll is wrong idea

To the Editors:

I don’t agree with the Board of Education’s decision to no longer publish the Wilton High School honor roll. Both my daughter and son graduated from WHS. Kids who work hard and achieve the GPA required for Honors and/or High Honors deserve to be recognized. Life is not fair. The sooner our kids learn that, the better. They also need to learn that hard work pays off. Unfortunately, it seems that in privileged communities like Wilton, we bend over backwards to coddle our kids and protect them from disappointment and failure. We’re doing them a disservice because we’re raising kids who don't know how to function well in the real world.

Not every kid is an A student but every kid has something to offer. Whatever that "something" is can be recognized and supported. Some kids may excel at biology or history, others at being kind or funny or painting or swimming. And some kids may be good at many things, because, well, life's not fair. In the big bad world, our kids may not get that job, grant, or promotion they wanted. As parents, we can help them develop into emotionally healthy adults, not by removing the bumps, but by helping them learn to ride the bumps.

I also don’t agree with the BOE’s decision to no longer publish the list of graduating seniors and the college they’re attending. Students should be proud of whatever college they attend — whether it’s Harvard or Boston University or Norwalk Community College. Not publishing this list supports the idea that certain schools are better than others. What determines whether a school is “better” should be based on each student’s own criteria and needs. While no one can dispute that Harvard is a top academic institution, it’s not necessarily a “better” choice for every student. Kids need to find the right fit; that fit is different for every kid. Unfortunately, too many parents push their kids to apply to schools that have perceived prestige but may not be a good fit for their child, and may be embarrassed if their kid isn’t accepted into a “brand name” school. Our kids are lucky to be attending college at all. At Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport, a very small percentage of graduating seniors are able to go to college. Their high school education is sub-par, thanks to a lack of adequate funding, and most of these students can’t afford college and have no one helping them apply for financial aid. Many of them come from single-parent homes where the parent’s most urgent concern is making the next rent or utility payment.

The “privacy” argument seems specious. Clearly the BOE and WHS have caved in to parents who have complained, most likely because their kids didn’t make honor roll or get into a college the parents are proud of. These parents might help their kids more by supporting them for who they are, not who the parents want them to be.
Carey Field
Wilton, Jan. 10