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Archive for March 6th, 2009

More on state legislation and youth sports (emphasis on “Moron”)

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A North Carolina Senator has a brilliant (read: stupid idea) he thinks will improve academics: barring interscholastic athletics for at least two straight years at schools where more than half of the students score below the 50th percentile on end-of-grade or end-of-course tests. From WRAL-TV in Raleigh:

Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin, the sponsor of the bill, said the proposal isn’t intended to punish students who are doing well. He said he only wants to encourage students who aren’t performing well in the classroom to do better.

“We certainly want our kids to keep playing sports because we know how important that is, but we need to remember the first thing about a school is to be able to learn to read and write and do math,” Albertson said.


Now that the good senator has cast every opponent as being against schools teaching kids to read and write and do math, I’ll tell you, as one who is against schools teaching kids to read and write and do math, why this bill is so dunderheaded.

Exactly what purpose does it serve punishing kids who are studying by disallowing their participation in athletics because their principal stinks, or their teachers are awful, or more likely, because their schools are “supported” by parents with little regard for education, or parents who don’t want to spend a dime of tax money on schools, or parents who are merely so overwhelmed with the problems in their own day-to-day lives they can’t focus on their own children’s academic issues? Also, with the draconian punishment of two years, you’re knocking out potentially half of a child’s athletic experiences.

Meanwhile, by keeping the number firm at 50 percent, you’re creating, potentially, a rolling list of schools. Some perpetually troubled schools will never get off the list. But some will dip down, then get out while others take their place, and so on. For practical purposes, how can you ever create a schedule? Also, how can you attract good teachers who wish to coach when there is the possibility that you’re going to have to can the coaching staff?

I as recall, most schools or state high school athletic associations have policies covering academic achievement, or lack thereof, already. Students are supposed to maintain a minimum grade-point average or at least minimize D’s and F’s, especially if they have college aspirations and need to meet NCAA standards of having a certain grade-point average in a proscribed series of core courses.

Interestingly, Albertson didn’t extend his bill to include other extracurricular activities, such as, say, the school band. (That might be because Albertson is a professional musician who has performed at the Grand Ole Opry.)

Also, Albertson, whose district includes a lot of large hog and poultry operations, isn’t much for punishing polluting megafarms or poultry companies who abuse their workers.

How about this, Charlie Albertson? How about if your county is among the worst 50 percent of polluters, you don’t get state money for two years?

I didn’t think so.

Three Little Words: I Thank You… for being a grandstanding legislator in the NC General Assembly — BC