Parents of students at Langley High School in Virginia are outraged after the school administration announced they would be eliminating merit awards to promote a more inclusive approach – making it the second school in Virginia to take such an action. Though intended with good intentions, this decision has sparked resentment amongst many parents as their children’s hard earned merits could no longer be recognized and celebrated by the institution.
Carrie Lukas and Asra Nomani have been vocal in their disapproval of the school’s new award ceremony policy, arguing that students should still be recognized for their academic achievements before engaging in the college application process. They feel merit-based awards are necessary to celebrate those who excelled academically.
“We now have two high schools in the same school district – in the school district that has just been nakedly political, nakedly focused on things that are not about advancing kids’ interests, but about this idea of equal outcomes for everyone,” said Lukas to Fox News host Ashley Strohmeier. “They want them all to be equal. That means they don’t want the top 3%.”
Langley High School took a compassionate approach this year, delaying the merit awards until after college applications had been sent out. This way, they could avoid unintentionally hurting any student’s feelings who hadn’t received an award.
Kimberly Greer, the principal of Langley High School, offered her apologies to parents whose children have yet to receive their awards. In an email addressed directly to those families, she wrote: “I am delighted to let you know that your student was designated as committed a student by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. I must apologize that certificates were not distributed to these students in the usual way this past fall. I am deeply sorry for this mistake.”
Lukas was offended by the school’s resolution to postpone the merit awards. She believes that it sent a message to students that their hard work will not be recognized and appreciated, ultimately thwarting any efforts made for success. As well as this, some pupils’ college opportunities may have been jeopardized due to the delay in these awards being issued.
“What does that mean for those kids? It means that the school doesn’t want them to succeed, or certainly the superintendent and Fairfax County Public School Board doesn’t,” Lukas stated.
Nomani and Lukas both lamented the delay as a “tragedy” that extended beyond their immediate community.
“On a national scale in terms of this war on merit that’s happening, but in the personal lives of kids,” Nomani (above)said. “They’re waiting right now for answers from colleges, and there was this critical data point that was missing, which is this amazing honor of being in the top 3% of kids nationwide.”
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Virginia was the first school to discontinue its merit award system. This decision was made to protect students from feeling discouraged or unfulfilled if they did not receive recognition for their hard work and achievements.