Oh, for some public policy reason …

Oh, for some public policy reason …

Summer doesn’t officially arrive until 11:54 a.m. on Friday but already some of those involved in or commenting on public policy are acting as if they are suffering from heat stroke.

Less than an hour away, where a gallon of regular gasoline can be pumped for 40 cents a gallon less than in Pittsburgh, administrators at Wheeling Park High School (WPHS) have joined the national effort to pump up the dumbing-down of life’s necessary rigors.

As the Sunday News-Register of Wheeling reports it:

“Administrators are seeking to eliminate ‘the game’ at WPHS that forces students to compete (with) each other for higher grade-point averages, class standing and valedictorian status.”

It seems students have been embracing the audacious concept of “taking honors classes that have more impact on the GPA,” the newspaper reports.

Not only will the school take care of that obviously deleterious valedictorian competition (ahem) by eliminating the honor, it will no longer, beginning with the freshmen class of 2020, calculate class rankings.

In a nutshell, according to the News-Register, the school wants to remedy what it calls a lack of “equity in the school’s GPA system.”

To wit, and as but one example, “those in performing arts do not receive honors credits for participation even if they are selected for an honors choir. Additionally, career and technical students don’t receive honors credits even when they excel and complete their program,” the newspaper reports, citing the high school principal.

By now, thinking people will have detected the obvious, if not delusive, sophism: The educratic establishment that devalued some curriculum now wants to devalue the accomplishment of those whom “the system” gave greater weight.

Thus, “the solution” is not to penalize those who “played the game” created by administrators who now want to turn “competition” into a four-letter word but to allow the previously devalued to – GASP! – compete.

A Post-Gazette editorial not only takes to task Insight Equity for the forthcoming closing of its Riverbend Foods canned soup business on Pittsburgh’s North Side but also Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald for “nary a peep” of counteraction.

The food factory site has been in continuous operation since H.J. Heinz Co. first opened it in 1888.

The P-G claims that Insight purchased the facility in 2017 “with the intention of stripping the company down and selling off every last piece, the employees be damned.”

Now, we don’t know if that’s the case or not. But the P-G offers no supporting evidence to buttress its allegation. And its skewering of Peduto and Fitzgerald is most curious.

Despite stipulating that “soup production is not the most profitable industry these days” and that “the fate of Riverbend’s employees has been clear for some time,” the newspaper chides the elected leaders for not having “tried to keep the Riverbend plant running.”

“Either man could have tried to protect the jobs of its employees,” the P-G opines.

How — by throwing more taxpayer money at the operation? Were not taxpayers shaken down enough 20 years ago to “save” and expand the facility in the Pittsburgh Wool Co. debacle?

And how would government “protect” these jobs? Perhaps by passing yet another patently illegal ordinance attempting to compel Riverbend to stay in business, pay a certain base wage and offer benefits to cover this, that and any other thing?

But, alas, as Thomas Jefferson noted in his March 4, 1801, inaugural: “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.”

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).