#rsrh Arkansas valedictorian punished for having a child.

[This was edited.  Heavily.  I was in a white-hot fury when i first wrote it.]

Via the Anchoress comes one of the more offensive stories that you’re going to read today.  Short version: there’s an African-American woman* from McGehee, Arkansas.  She was working to be valedictorian of her local high school and maintaining a 4.0, but became a single mother junior year; so she redoubled her efforts and clawed her way up the academic ladder (via AP classes) to regain the best grade point average… and was made to be c0-valedictorian with white student.  School officials gave her family the runaround on why, reportedly; as the school district apparently has a reputation to routinely shunt African-American students to supposedly less challenging academic tracks, this is perhaps not that surprising.

The special wrinkle, of course, is that McGehee, Arkansas is a Democratic town in a Democratic county in a Democratic Congressional District in what is largely a Democratic-run state – executive and legislative…  and this is where I had to throw out most of the post, because I went on to say some exceptionally rude things.  But I should accentuate the positive, instead: thank God the woman kept the baby.

Helps to remember that that sort of thing is the important thing.

Moe Lane

*I think that recognition of adult status has been earned, here.  Also, name redacted out of privacy considerations: I think that she’s going to have enough problems as it is.

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  • Jim B says:

    There’s a little more to the story than just her side:

    link here.

    “The issue that someone’s trying to paint is that this was a racially motivated,” Gathen told CNN. “That wasn’t an issue with (the co-valedictorians). This is strictly an academic issue and a policy issue, not a racial issue.”

    According to the school’s handbook, the only requirement for Valedictorian is that “students must be continuously enrolled at McGehee High School the last two semesters without transferring during this time.” When determining class rank, the handbook says, “If two or more students take the same or equivalent course work and receive the same grades of ‘A’, a student with a greater number of courses will not be penalized.”

    Gathen told CNN that Wimberly’s co-valedictorian had half a credit more than Wimberly and the difference in the students’ GPAs was minuscule—.03 or .05. If the white student’s GPA had been higher than Wimberly’s, Gathen said, he still would have appointed them co-valedictorians.

    “I would have made the same decision,” he said. “I was the one who made the ultimate decision.”

    One has to wonder: Is race really the only issue here? Or is part of the so-called “big mess” the fact that Wimberly is an unmarried teen mom? With valuable scholarships on the line, should grades be the only criteria by which valedictorians are chosen, or should officials be able to pick the student they feel best represents the school?

  • Jim B says:

    Another link

    The complaint says:

    “African-American students were not encouraged to take Honors or Advanced Placement classes,” the complaint says. “Caucasian students had to almost opt out (of advanced classes).”

    But yet, earlier in the article:

    Wimberly said she had one teacher, for AP biology, who encouraged all students to take the class. Its racial makeup was half black, half white, and was more reflective of McGehee’s student population, which is 46% black.

    After reading everything, it’s sound like a case of entitlement. The other girl did the same work, got virtually the same GPA, but did an extra semester of work.

    This girl and her mother want to pretend that the extra semester doesn’t matter, but the handbook clearly says that a student should not be penalized for having taken more classes.

    I don’t see where the girl has a case: she admits that at least one of her AP classes was racially-balanced so there goes the claim that the school somehow systematically discriminated. It sounds like the superintendent did exactly what he was supposed to do within the rules of school system. Unless she’s got more than this to back up her charges of discrimination, then she’s got nothing.

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