theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Z_CNHI News Service

October 1, 2013

Will the lights go out on Friday nights?

Many of us will travel Friday night to cheer on the local high school team. It’s a reoccurring ritual – one that’s been passed down over the generations -- where young men and women carry the pride, hope and dreams of a school and a community.

It’s been that way for more than a century. High school stars became hometown heroes, helping to shape a town’s character, reputation and identity. But is that long relationship headed toward a slow death?

There are worrisome signs. Some say the demise is inevitable.

The reasons are numerous. The cost of funding athletic programs is climbing at the same time schools are being forced to fire teachers. Crowds at sporting events are dwindling. Lawsuits stemming from concussions sustained on athletic fields are a growing concern.

Now comes a damaging article in The Atlantic, a magazine that’s developed a reputation for writing about important societal issues. It attempts to make the case that the emphasis on high school sports is, in part, responsible for America’s international mediocrity in educating students. Sports, not learning, have become the central mission of American high school, author Amanda Ripley observes.

Andreas Schleicher, a German educator cited by The Atlantic, said the most engaging environment students can be offered is one of cognitive challenge combined with individualized support. “If you offer boring and poor math instruction and try to compensate that with interesting sports activities, you may get students interested in sports but I doubt it will do much good to their engagement with school,” he said.

Certainly, it is agonizing and frustrating to see extremely gifted high school athletes, ones that have demonstrated they can play for the best college teams in the country, barely make it through high school and then fail to have the minimal test scores necessary to qualify for a scholarship.  But it seems unfair to issue such a sweeping indictment of high school sports and then link it to academic achievement by the entire student body. There are many student-athletes who have shown the ability to exceed both on the field and in the classroom, just as there as those who have failed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Stocks
Poll

Do you think Russia President Vladimir Putin will invade Ukraine?

Yes
No
     View Results