Moving in the wrong direction… and picking up speed


Before I get started, I want you to check out this article… “Stoneham cuts all sports at high school”… which is from the web site of the Boston Globe.

Mike and I exchanged some information about this, and we seem to be in agreement… the world is losing its mind.

One of my favorite arguments is about how clueless people seem to be… especially people with agendas. For example… monitoring the obesity problem in schools. Decisions are made that it must be the soda machines and cupcakes at second grade birthday celebrations. So let’s remove the soda machines, but not give a single thought to the fact that the monies collected from those machines are being used to fund academic clubs and sports and other school programs. It’s an action – reaction situation, but people never want to consider the reaction.

But let’s leave that idea for a moment. Here’s what Mike had to say…

I think you and I are on the same page as far as to what school sports mean to many high school students… everything!

Sports are a big part of the high school experience. How in the world would someone take that away from the students? Wearing the team jersey at school the day before a big game, school spirit, stuff like that. I don’t want to overstate it, and get into one of those debates about in-crowds and outsiders, but the general feeling of being part of something is true.

I've heard that up to 60% of students in some high schools participate in sports. That’s a majority, my friend.

That being said, I think, at one time or another, high school sports must be privatized. One of the first things to be yanked from a school budget would be non-learning activities. These would be non-open-book activities. Non-classroom activities.

Non-learning… right?

That's where I have a problem...

If a coach of any high school sports team is worth his or her salt, they are teaching every day. Every practice, every game, every bus trip.

Get rid of the drama club. The band. The chess team. The debate team. To hell with them all! Cheerleaders? Who needs them? Gone too.

It’s sad.

These kids are our future. They need to be well rounded. This includes extra curricular activities. No matter what they are. That is why, I believe, that perhaps, the extras in high school must be privatized. The parents will do a much better job than will the teachers. Trust me. That's where the money comes from. They will find it. Don't be surprised if you see "Bob's Deli" on the back of a school uniform.

And the teachers union will eat the money from the sports program for lunch... health care, pension, etc... and the extras will take a small hit... but not for long.

Take a few seconds to read that again, because Mike has absolutely nailed some great thoughts. Consider:

Privatization – While I may not agree with doing it in general (I recall “graduating” from the leagues into school sports), he’s right. The idea of getting the local pizza place to donate a couple of hundred dollars for uniforms and a few supplies works. It would dedicate the funds to buying exactly what they were intended for.

Non-learning – I attended a presentation by Frank Zappa once. It was while I was at college and he made the absolutely stunningly brilliant observation that none of us were there to learn our occupation. We were there to learn how to learn. The idea essentially being that once we graduated, our employer was going to have different equipment than what we used while earning a degree. And we would have to adapt to survive. I recall some of the best experiences during my college years involving working for the school ambulance, and the best classes were pretty much without exception taught by my favorite teachers. Add in the experience of competition… handling defeat… learning to think under pressure… it is absolutely a learning environment. And a valuable one at that.

The money isn’t automatically going where you want it to – Mike is using the teachers union as an example here people. What he is trying to say is that just because you scraped together $5,000 by eliminating an athletic team, you didn’t necessarily get to spend it all on new math textbooks or tables in the cafeteria liked you had planned or stated. And just because it worked to buy a DVD player and televisions in year one doesn’t mean it can be used for that again in year two… if it’s even there.

There’s more, but that’s enough to consider here. Folks… action – reaction.

Unfortunately, the decision seems to be get rid of the sports… and then in a couple of years we can use the exact same money we saved this time to fund a study of why the kids aren’t getting enough exercise.


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