Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 16, 2012

CONFER: Cut school sports - for philosophical reasons

Niagara Gazette — Last week’s column discussed the dire straits faced by school districts and how it makes good fiscal sense to cut sports. It’s also good practice from a philosophical standpoint.

Very few people would argue against society having a responsibility, within reason, for the education of

our youth. It’s only fair: it was done for us and we should do it for them. It’s also a good investment: The

introduction of knowledge to and the fostering of critical thinking skills within our children will always

pay huge dividends when they became capable, working adults who will contribute to the greatness of

their generation and those that follow.

But, a line needs to be drawn.

We should fund science, math and the humanities. They contribute to the basic premise of public

education. The burden that taxpayers shouldn’t shoulder, though, are the extra-circular activities. Not

only do athletics have the potential to adversely affect the budgeting of the intellectual pursuits and/

or create undue financial burden on local, state, and federal taxpayers, but we’ve been saddled for too

long by a sort of misguided belief whereby society thinks that entertainment and leisure deserve the

same investment of energy and public funds as the things that really count in life.

It should be noted that by strengthening the important aspects and outcomes of education (know-how,

creativity and productivity) in the home, in our community and in our nation, leisure will follow as an

improved people (singularly and collectively) have the time and money to invest in it. We’re not even

close in that regard -- not only are our students getting trounced when compared against the rest of

the world’s children, but our society is in an escalated state of decline (see our struggling economy, for

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