A worthwhile program that rewards academic excellence is missing from Montgomery County schools this year. In May the Montgomery County Board of Education decided to eliminate the National Junior Honor Society from junior high and middle schools. This went against the advice of the Parent-Teacher Association, the Student Government Association and most people whose responses the groups had solicited. The board's alleged reason for eliminating the program is that it is competitive and elitist. If that be the true reason, then interscholastic sports should also be eliminated from junior high and middle schools. Unless one is a fine physical specimen and in many cases part of the "in" crowd, one doesn't make the team. If that is not elitist, then maybe we should redefine the English language.
In fact, the school system would save money by eliminating interscholastic sports. The system would not have to buy as much sports equipment. There would be no need to transport the teams to other schools or light stadiums at night. In addition, the psychological harm done to children because they cannot make the team would be lessened. There might even be more time for the students to study if they did not have to worry about practicing for sports.
Rather than abandon the search for academic excellence, the school board should look for ways to encourage students to do the best they can academically. However, if the real reason behind the school board's decision is to obtain some homogeneous level of academic mediocrity, then the voters of Montgomery County need to elect different members to the board of education.
BRUCE H. HENDRICKSON Gaithersburg