We’ve been having an interesting discussion. While lamenting the horrors of our harsh, deep annual cuts to education in DeKalb, we wondered why we are so focused on teachers and classrooms with nary a second look at sports spending. We pondered the idea of creating ‘sports magnets’ – along the lines of magnet schools for high achievers, the arts, early college, etc. We have squabbled for years over the extra per pupil funding for these academic/arts magnets yet we have never questioned spending on middle and high school sports. Until now.
On the subject of our American love for sports, one of our contributors provided a link to the shocking chart below:
And The Atlantic magazine online just this month posted an article titled, “The Case Against High-School Sports”
It’s a fascinating article, comparing on the American love of sports with our overall lackluster academic results.
Sports are embedded in American schools in a way they are not almost anywhere else. Yet this difference hardly ever comes up in domestic debates about America’s international mediocrity in education. (The U.S. ranks 31st on the same international math test.) The challenges we do talk about are real ones, from undertrained teachers to entrenched poverty. But what to make of this other glaring reality, and the signal it sends to children, parents, and teachers about the very purpose of school?
In these days of harsh budget cuts to our classrooms year after year after year, isn’t it time we took a good hard look at what we are spending on our sports programs and perhaps think about consolidating some and eliminating others? Our SPLOST IV plans include rebuilding and/or renovating all of our football stadiums. Is that wise, considering that we still have schools with leaky roofs, broken HVAC systems and too few textbooks?
DSW will be filing an Open Records Request in order to find out exactly what is going on regarding sports spending in DeKalb. We will let you all know if and when we get an answer.