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Lockport District 205 responds to criticism for eliminating class rank

Lockport Township School District is getting rid of its class ranking of students and some are not happy about it.
Lockport Township School District is getting rid of its class ranking of students and some are not happy about it.

A petition recently was started on Change.org regarding the Lockport Township High School District 205’s decision to eliminate class ranking of its students.

The main complaints of the petition and it’s over 1,000 signees include what they see as the school administration not properly notifying the public about the decision.

“Lockport Township High School was not forthcoming or transparent about their decision to eliminate ranking,” the petition reads.

But the district defended itself, saying that it gave the community notice on several occasions.

“We have done our due diligence in communicating this,” district spokeswoman Kimberly Brehm said.

Brehm added that the district has been communicating this for about four months through surveys for incoming freshmen, asking for feedback in a newsletter, several stories in local media, flyers and a website communication button. The button has since been taken down, but parents could have clicked on it and given their concerns specifically on class rank.

The school board had discussions on the matter at meetings in October and November and voted on the decision in December, Brehm said.

The other main concern of the petitioners is that class rank is a way to recognize students’ academic achievement and the way that colleges judge their academic success. Brehm argued that colleges actually are less likely nowadays to care about a student’s class rank.

Plus, she said, this allows students to pick classes based on content instead of which classes are weighted in a way that would help them achieve a higher GPA. Brehm said this system also hurts certain students, such as those who take band classes, because none of those classes are weighted. Other elective classes that are not weighted don’t get as much attention from students looking to get as high of a GPA as possible.

“It’s certainly not done to lower the bar,” Brehm said.

Brehm also said that students will still be able to earn academic Latin honors based on GPA and the district will still have the class rank data held internally. She said the district can still provide that information to a college or university if required.

This is also a practice with other local school districts. Joliet Township High School District 204 got rid of class rank in 2006. Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 eliminated it in 2003 and Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 did so last year.