Every parent hopes to ensure their child thrives in his educational setting.
Since the second grade, when his national scores were shown not in numbers, but in asterisks, I began a journey to discover how to properly educate a child with an IQ more than 3 standard deviations above the norm. Instead of thriving, the query evolved into how does such a child survive in a school setting designed for the norm and the special education students.
The answers are unfortunate but his success is not due to public education. When a community demotes academics to the lesser of the extracurricular programming provided by schools, waving the extracurricular banners as more important, several things occur: the national scholars are lost, the country becomes less competitive globally, our best colleges are overrun by the more motivated, more competitive international students.
Of course extracurricular activities are important, but most important, before any discussion, is whether the school's foundation, its student's core subjects, and its difficulty level is sound. Is there business math, social science exploration, investment curriculum, honor roll & perfect attendance recognition, peer guidance, peer tutoring, advanced foreign language, AP offerings, BOCES counseling and requirements beyond what the minimum laws require to push students academically?
Not every kid will lead the class in academics, but it is unforgivable in America when a school's design lets slip this generation's Einsteins through the cracks into mediocre oblivion. These children, if left to their own devices are doomed to be bored out of their minds in unmotivated classrooms, will never be celebrated as the next American inventors or heroes, simply because the student-athlete's budget concerns dominated the community discussion boards and pushed votes towards obliterating the dominance of American excellence in academic achievement.
Less than 1 percent of any graduating class will make it to a professional sport level. We ask our schools to make our student body 100 percent employable, not after college, but upon high school graduation.
What is the sense, really beyond happier childhoods, to devote most of the discretionary budgets to sports? The goals of education are not to field as many teams as possible, but to educate and make our children employable in a global economy. For purposes of debate, if you advocate for more teams do you realize you are advocating for less skilled, less competitive future employees?
Boards of education must stay true to the goals of the promise of educating all students of all abilities, and honor the celebrations of not just the fastest students, but also the smartest students.
Constance F. Roland
Wantagh resident in Seaford School District