Class rank eliminated in Anne Arundel County by school board

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) -- A Maryland school district has become the latest to eliminate class rank for high school students.

The Anne Arundel County school board voted 5 to 4 Wednesday to get rid of class rank and select valedictorian and salutatorian based on factors besides just grades.

This proposal came from the board's student member, Josie Urrea, who's also the board's vice-president.

"I truly believe that class rank and (valedictorian/salutatorian) are an equity issue and mental health issue within our school system," Urrea said.

She initially proposed to get rid of valedictorian and salutatorian but changed her mind after hearing feedback from those who wanted to keep the tradition alive. Candidates for those honors will now go to students with a weighted GPA of 4.3 or higher, but it won't just be about grades. Leadership, character and outside activities will also be considered.

"Heck, why give grades at all? Why not do away with weighted grades while we're at it?" said board member Bob Leib, who opposed the change. "When it comes right down to it, I am convinced that competition is healthy. Academic stress is meaningful and can be beneficial."

This change will impact students starting high school in the 2021-2022 school year.

Many school districts across the country have already eliminated class rank, including Montgomery and Fairfax county schools.