Niagara Gazette

Web Extra

October 1, 2013

Will the lights go out on Friday nights?

Many of us will travel Friday night to cheer on the local high school team. It’s a reoccurring ritual – one that’s been passed down over the generations -- where young men and women carry the pride, hope and dreams of a school and a community.

It’s been that way for more than a century. High school stars became hometown heroes, helping to shape a town’s character, reputation and identity. But is that long relationship headed toward a slow death?

There are worrisome signs. Some say the demise is inevitable.

The reasons are numerous. The cost of funding athletic programs is climbing at the same time schools are being forced to fire teachers. Crowds at sporting events are dwindling. Lawsuits stemming from concussions sustained on athletic fields are a growing concern.

Now comes a damaging article in The Atlantic, a magazine that’s developed a reputation for writing about important societal issues. It attempts to make the case that the emphasis on high school sports is, in part, responsible for America’s international mediocrity in educating students. Sports, not learning, have become the central mission of American high school, author Amanda Ripley observes.

Andreas Schleicher, a German educator cited by The Atlantic, said the most engaging environment students can be offered is one of cognitive challenge combined with individualized support. “If you offer boring and poor math instruction and try to compensate that with interesting sports activities, you may get students interested in sports but I doubt it will do much good to their engagement with school,” he said.

Certainly, it is agonizing and frustrating to see extremely gifted high school athletes, ones that have demonstrated they can play for the best college teams in the country, barely make it through high school and then fail to have the minimal test scores necessary to qualify for a scholarship.  But it seems unfair to issue such a sweeping indictment of high school sports and then link it to academic achievement by the entire student body. There are many student-athletes who have shown the ability to exceed both on the field and in the classroom, just as there as those who have failed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Web Extra
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 22, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 22, 2014

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • NIA Space station art 042114 'Easter Dragon' has special delivery for space station Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA New planet art 041814 Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected -- a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 17, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page