The Edmond Sun

Opinion

October 1, 2013

Opinion: 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.

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Opinion
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    July 26, 2014

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    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

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    July 25, 2014

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    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
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    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

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    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

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    July 21, 2014

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    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

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    July 19, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
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