Parents say school ranking system needs changes
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Kirk and Anita Hilman are disappointed.
The parents of Mt. Pleasant senior, Lauren Hilman, told the Mt. Pleasant School Board they are disappointed in the school district’s class ranking system.
“I don’t think the ranking system has kept pace with the top of the class,” offered Kirk Hilman. “There is a lot more than bragging rights to class rank. There are a lot of scholarships riding on it.
“The Mt. Pleasant system rewards people for taking study hall instead of class,” Hilman continued. “We should be pushing students to take challenging classes.”
Board members said they have heard this complaint before. “This isn’t the first time this issue has come up,” reflected Brad Holtkamp, board president. “How do you come up with that perfect formula? I understand the disappointment for kids who put in the time and then see kids who don’t finish ahead of them.”
The matter was eventually referred to the board’s policy committee for further study. However, policy committee member Michelle Skubal questioned whether it was fair to change criteria in the middle of the year.
Director Regina Erickson recalled she was also a parent of a child ranked third in the senior class (the exact same spot Lauren Hilman is ranked in this year’s senior class). “I know what it is like to be third,” Erickson said. “I don’t think this is an issue that is at just the top of the class but throughout the entire class. It affects the entire scale, not just the top three positions. To make changes now, I don’t see that happening.”
Board member Lonny Morrow, a former instructor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., said test scores are looked at much more closely by colleges than class rank.
Hilman alleged that students were working the system at Mt. Pleasant. “What kind of message are you sending kids when they know they can play the system? The ranking system does not seem to be consistent with school board policies and is a de-motivator for kids to push themselves. You have 1,018 hours to fix this before graduation.”
Director Ken Feldmann eventually moved to refer the matter to the policy committee. “We are not going to solve this tonight. I would recommend this be referred to the policy committee and for the committee to bring a recommendation to the board.”