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