Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Feature: Do Sports Hurt Academics?

Earlier this week, I came across an October 2013 article from The Atlantic entitled, "The Case Against High School Sports." In this piece, Amanda Ripley expounds on this idea:
The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?
As an educator whose daughter has been involved in our community/district's basketball program for eight years as both a player and a manager, I was immediately sucked in by the teaser, and, as I read the article, I found myself nodding along with Ms. Ripley's points.

As I went in search of the article to use it for this post, I came across something interesting.

A counterpoint.

In their article, "High School Sports Aren't Killing Academics" (published in the same month in the same magazine), Daniel H. Bowen and Colin Hitt argue just the opposite. Citing studies that correlate athletic excellence with academic excellence, the authors provide a completely different take on the same subject.


Whichever side of the argument you come down on, I urge you to read both pieces, especially if your kids are involved in sports. Both articles are compelling and the authors do an excellent job of backing up their points, but more important, both raise questions we should be asking about excellence in both programs. Written in 2013, both pieces predate the recent findings of the negative lifelong impact of concussions in kids, evidence we need to factor into the way programs are run if we want our kids' futures to be as productive as their high school years.

If you'd like to share your thoughts, leave a comment. I'd love to know what you think.

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