A small town school in Washington State (Bridgeport) has reached the final round for the possibility of having President Obama speak at its graduation. Bridgeport’s excellence in academics despite having the proverbial deck stacked against them has earned it this distinct honor.
However, instead of narrowing the decision based on merit and some set of criteria the schools must meet, a popular vote will help narrow the field. A small farming town of 2000 people must compete in a popularity contest with schools in Memphis, Newark, San Diego, and Pittsburgh (as well as Goldsboro, N.C.).
How is this even a consideration? Besides the obvious disparity in populations, why would an honor supposedly based on one’s laurels be decided on a popular vote? I guess education is becoming no different than NBA All-Star weekend.
No matter which schools lose the vote, they will have to live with the idea that they did not get chosen because they weren’t popular, not because they were unworthy. And that may hurt most of all.