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Old 10-10-2008, 09:49 AM
 
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I don't know about the rest of the small towns in Montana, but here in Lincoln, it seems like football is more important than our children's education. We have a class C football team who have won no more than four games in the last two years. We have a nice new electronic school sign and get this, three, count them, three varsity football coaches. We have the money to pay for three coaches but don't have enough money to hire a new teacher. In the last year, the academics have been put on the sideburner to concentrate on football. This year we have two combined classes. 1st and 2nd combined and 3rd and 4th combined. Last year it was just 3rd and 4th. We have wonderful dedicated teachers who do their best. Our third graders are learning from the fourth graders Science and Social Studies books with tests being graded different. Makes me wonder what they are going to learn next year, the same thing? Only on the right level the second time around. They are going to develop negative feelings toward these two subjects because it is a stuggle to learn at the higher level this year. The Science is way out of third graders learning range. Our first graders are constantly having to pack up their books and supplies and go to different empty classrooms to be taught by teachers aides. Although our aides are top notch, the kids should be taught by teachers. Hence the title "teachers aide". One of our fourth graders is the junior high football team's manager because..ha ha...grandpa is the coach. This kid gets to leave school for the games and has an ego the size of the moon, which in turn causes problems for the other kids in his class, not to mention parents. It's no use talking to the sports parents. Telling them that college scouts do not come to Lincoln scoping players out so chances of their star athelete going onto college with a sports scholarship is out of the question. As long as they can say Monday morning "My kid scored the winning touchdown" is all that is important to them. I am reluctant to let my kids join sports because I feel that academics is so much more important. Am I alone?

Last edited by magoomafoo; 10-10-2008 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,540 posts, read 12,571,634 times
Reputation: 2952
Quote:
Originally Posted by magoomafoo View Post
I don't know about the rest of the small towns in Montana, but here in Lincoln, it seems like football is more important than our children's education. We have a class C football team who have won no more than four games in the last two years. We have a nice new electronic school sign and get this, three, count them, three varsity football coaches. We have the money to pay for three coaches but don't have enough money to hire a new teacher.
Are they specialty coaches who don't teach any other subject, or are they teachers who coach on the side?

That latter is how it was at Great Falls HS when I was there (1969-72). Even the gym teachers were required to primarily teach other subjects. The wrestling coach was also one of my math teachers. (And he was pretty good -- very concerned and helpful to students.) -- And the whole attitude of the school was... everyone wanted to be one of the eggheads, cuz they got all the glory; the poor jocks were 2nd class citizens, who weren't allowed to participate in sports unless they kept at least a B average. The school made a bigger fuss over getting 8 kids on the .. ah, what the heck was it called? (I was one of 'em and I can't remember!) National SomeScholarshipThingee Finalist list, than it did over winning the state football championship.

But it's more typical for sports to dominate a school's thinking, because that's where the vast majority of alumni donation money comes from, and the vast majority of public attention (even for tiny public schools).

Parents are often the worst culprits -- they get a big whoosh of pride out of their kids winning the football championship, and the schools reflect that -- parents seem to want it, so it's what they get. So what you've really got to do, if it's getting to be a problem academically, is to get together with other parents, go to the school board meetings, and make your concerns known. If you're already doing that, take it to the state education board.

It can also be a matter of being given NN-many dollars to spend on YY-subject, and those dollars CAN'T be spent elsewhere... plus if you don't eat 'em all up, next year you get less money. It's very wasteful, but it's how gov't typically runs funding decisions.

Beware of thinking that "more/newer computers will fix everything" -- in fact they tend to inhibit learning, as the kid learns NOT the actual subject, but rather, how to get the computer to cough up the "right" answer. (Our local PC user grope gets lots of used school computers donated to us, and as the person who vets out those machines, I've been thru a lot of the "learning materials" thereon. In EVERY case, they teach nothing but how to make the program produce the desired response -- no actual learning is even possible.)

Anyway, those are my thoughts; sorry I don't have any better answers... tho "firing the school board" might be a start.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:34 PM
 
Location: SW Montana
352 posts, read 1,004,719 times
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I've given this some airtime with friends over the years, as I grew up in a small rural area where the sports scene was a big deal. I didn't really have the size and stature to play much in high school - college was when I got my growth and was involved with several intramural teams. What I did do was the music thing, all areas plus three other guys and I had a band.

In both high schools I attended, a great deal of attention and funding was given to sports while very little was given to music, debate, drama, etc. not to mention classroom materials. The curious thing was, the sports teams never did all that well while the music and debate teams consistently held the highest honors in the state. On a shoestring, at that.

Thing was, we got a really well rounded education at that time (H.S. grad in 1978). Lots of my teachers were in their forties and early fifties and still taught real subjects under a cloud of skinny funding in such a sparsely populated area. Reading through textbooks now, it's a different world and makes you wonder if sports aren't being offered as a panacea for a below par academic experience. I believe many teachers do their best to deliver a good education for students, even down to springing for materials that the school districts don't (or won't) provide. Bottom line, my opinion is school should be for learning first, and to me sports are an extracirricular activity and should be funded as such. Even if you pursue athletics as a career, a basic education is still a very necessary thing to making good decisions and having a successful life.
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,523 posts, read 7,782,324 times
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It is nothing new. I graduated High School in 1959. To this day, I have a strong dislike for sports. Any sports. This attitude was drilled into me by P.E. teachers and classmates all through my school years, because I wasn't good at any sport, and sport was KING in the schools.
These days, anytime there needs to be a budget cut, they trim the arts or the sciences, ANYTHING but SPORT!
How much fuel is burned up each year from team busses criss-crossing the State? How much fuel is wasted by bringing ALL the wrestlers and basketball players to Billings for the All-Class tournaments?
Sport has always been KING in schools, and always will be, until parents demand change. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:30 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,459,897 times
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There is talk among parents here from time to time, especially when the subject of another raise in school levies and the subject is "why are 100% of the people paying for something that less than 5% use?" I don't agree with the idea that we'll cut teachers,cut the sciences,reading,math,cut field trips and other educational things but the sports budget is king. Needless to say the parents that bring this up are not very popular with the "sports" parents who want to live their childhood again through their child. I'm much more impressed with a kid who excells in speech and debate or band than I am in "johnny" who's learned how to flatten someone and score a touchdown. Our team HAS NEVER won a title nor do they regularly win games but god forbid you mention cutting their budget...
I think the parents of the kids in sports should have to fund a greater share of the cost so the funding for education (surprise,surprise what our kids are there for to begin with) gets the funding it needs.
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:05 AM
 
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Hi, I can sympathize with you; however, please do not hold your children back from sports activities just because your area has serious educational priority issues.I am a personal trainer and have 4 children of my own and certainly understand not only the physical value related to being physically active, but also the emotional,psychological and social values of being part of a team. That being said, education must ALWAYS come first! Why do you not ,rather ,talk to your city council members or hold a town meeting? If that does not work, then write or visit your congressman,senator, or governor. They are there for you! Use them. You have certainly paid enough in taxes to pay their salary. Another point, I myself am a real sports fanatic. I am sure (as you stated) that there are many there in your district who are like me and actually can be level headed! Don't give up on talking to them. Do your homework too. Show them,i.e. a ten to twenty year in the future outlook of how their children will be without a proper eduaction and how they will suffer for it. It is up to you as a parent to secure your own children's future until they are old enough to be independant.Good luck and again, please do not keep your own children from reaping the benefits of sports. Let them choose and be supportive and teach them right from wrong!( you sound like a clever parent who really cares for his/her children ). Again, good luck! Fitnessmom
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,540 posts, read 12,571,634 times
Reputation: 2952
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerider View Post
In both high schools I attended, a great deal of attention and funding was given to sports while very little was given to music, debate, drama, etc. not to mention classroom materials. The curious thing was, the sports teams never did all that well while the music and debate teams consistently held the highest honors in the state. On a shoestring, at that.
Good teachers only need a blackboard, decent textbooks, paper and pencils, and a classroom free of disruptive elements**. They don't need a lot of props, or tech stuff, or fancy equipment, or an ever-growing budget to get the job done.

**meaning the power to discipline rowdy kids as needed -- when I was in school, that meant a paddle! it wasn't the single physical whack that did the trick, it was the humiliation.
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:41 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,459,897 times
Reputation: 15488
Quote:
Originally Posted by fitnessmom View Post
Hi, I can sympathize with you; however, please do not hold your children back from sports activities just because your area has serious educational priority issues.I am a personal trainer and have 4 children of my own and certainly understand not only the physical value related to being physically active, but also the emotional,psychological and social values of being part of a team. That being said, education must ALWAYS come first! Why do you not ,rather ,talk to your city council members or hold a town meeting? If that does not work, then write or visit your congressman,senator, or governor. They are there for you! Use them. You have certainly paid enough in taxes to pay their salary. Another point, I myself am a real sports fanatic. I am sure (as you stated) that there are many there in your district who are like me and actually can be level headed! Don't give up on talking to them. Do your homework too. Show them,i.e. a ten to twenty year in the future outlook of how their children will be without a proper eduaction and how they will suffer for it. It is up to you as a parent to secure your own children's future until they are old enough to be independant.Good luck and again, please do not keep your own children from reaping the benefits of sports. Let them choose and be supportive and teach them right from wrong!( you sound like a clever parent who really cares for his/her children ). Again, good luck! Fitnessmom
Let me start by saying I've got nothing against sports, I played football in high school (not very well I must admit) and survived though I do think that A. there should be a minimum age that you start and B.A real understanding of some of the consequences that can occur.
That being said, as a personal trainer exactly how good do you think high contact sports are on a body who's growth plates are not yet finished doing their job or on a young body not yet formed for the punishment? I'm just wondering from a trainer's point of view...
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:43 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,459,897 times
Reputation: 15488
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Good teachers only need a blackboard, decent textbooks, paper and pencils, and a classroom free of disruptive elements**. They don't need a lot of props, or tech stuff, or fancy equipment, or an ever-growing budget to get the job done.

**meaning the power to discipline rowdy kids as needed -- when I was in school, that meant a paddle! it wasn't the single physical whack that did the trick, it was the humiliation.
I agree to a point but would you concede that the teachers shouldn't have to buy their own pencils or paper,or books for that matter? That's happening regularly here as I'm sure it is in alot of places.
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:58 PM
 
1,078 posts, read 2,281,615 times
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It's happening here. Our school can afford three coaches for varsity class c but cannot afford a third grade teacher. We have 6th graders playing on the junior high team and a 4th grader managing it. The lack of respect for our academic program has caused not only my children but many others to drop sports all together. I know parents who force their kids to join at least one sport. It should be up to the kid. Mabey, just mabey some kids want to make honor roll, get scholarships (based on acadmic achievement) and go off to a good college to OMG!!! LEARN!!! Not get beat up and broken bones and screamed at by coaches.
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