School District Budget Relief: Simplify Athletics

The following comment on a previously written blog, The State of Education, has inspired this posting:
From Has Been Hoopster:
March 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm |

I don’t know much about how school districts allocate their money into different programs, but there are many different stumbling blocks for school districts. I’m going to comment on just one…

As a life long athlete, I know the importance of athletic programs. What I don’t understand is how high school sports are mirroring college sports. How can taxpayers trust schools to spend money wisely on education when schools put money into useless aspects of athletics. When schools pay for coaches to stay in hotels and watch teams play at state (when their team is at home in school) is a breach of trust and a form of betrayal to the taxpayer. It shows carelessness with money and reflects negatively on school.
In the big picture, we can talk economy and money, but schools ultimately need to be trustworthy and responsibile.


This posting, I believe, is insightful and thought provoking for two reasons.  First, school districts across the nation are facing major budget cuts due to many factors, including a flat lining economy.  Second, in light of the grave financial holes that are burying educational reform and growth, school districts must examine the purpose of high school athletics to make critical analysis of the continuation of funding such programs.

Like Has Been Hoopster, I have been involved in athletics in some way, shape, or form for as far back as I can remember.  I am a firm believer that high school athletics, as well as other extra-curricular activities high schools provide students, are key components in the complete maturation of our high school students.  In addition, high school students can learn lessons taught via these activities that can not be taught in any classroom.  At the very least, extra-curricular programs, when managed and administered properly, serve as an extension of the classroom teaching cooperation, discipline, work ethic, and positive mental attitude.

Has Been Hoopster hits upon a critical point of reflection, “What I don’t understand is how high school sports are mirroring college sports.”  Until recently, I  coached at the high school or middle school level for 20 years.  In the past couple of years I have spent time coaching my own children’s teams of elementary age.  High school sports are beginning to mirror college sports.  Some 20 years ago when I was in high school it was common to have student athletes participating in three sports during the school year.  Those three sport athletes are dwindling.  One reason, among many, is the amount of specialization that is happening by each sport.  More specifically, head coaches are demanding more time from the student-athletes in their sport limiting time for our students to participate in multiple sports.

Across the country there are out of season contact days for most sports that usually occur over the summer months.  Some head coaches begin programs for elementary aged students as early as age four.  There are AAU and other club teams demanding time from our student-athletes.  The values of high school athletics have become misaligned.

School districts need to examine the purpose of high school athletics.  What are we trying to teach our student-athletes through their participation?  Winning?  Maybe, but what are losing in our learning to win?  Maybe extra-curricular activities could provide some pressure relief on school budgets if we just simplify a little more and re-establish the most important elements of educating our children.  After all, it is imperative that we stop taking away from the educational experience of our children and put them first in our budgetary concerns.

School districts that carelessly spend money to fund accessories to education must refocus their priorities a build a mission statement the puts children at the center.  Schools that focus on students and academics first are trustworthy, responsible, and ultimately create great educational opportunities for our children.


About jpsteltz

Proud husband and father of four; Literacy Specialist; Reading Teacher; Literacy Coach; HS ELA Teacher; Published Author
This entry was posted in #edchat, Athletics, Education, Education Administration, Educational Leadership, Family, Parenting, students, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to School District Budget Relief: Simplify Athletics

  1. luxuryskiarticle says:

    Thank you very much for your article.

    Liked by 1 person

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