Sunday, September 29, 2013

Period 6: HAVE SPORTS TEAMS BROUGHT DOWN AMERICA’S SCHOOLS?

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/09/have-sports-teams-brought-down-americas-schools.html
1. Read the article.  Consider the author's tone, structure of the essay, and your personal reaction.
2. Please add an intelligent comment (minimum 3 sentences) in response to the linked article from the NY Times.  Be sure to reference specifics from the article.
3. Comment on a classmates post in a second post (minimum 3 sentences)
*Use only your first name, last initial and period of class to identify yourself.

36 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Miranda S. 6
    After spending almost 3 years being on a sports team with good grades, I'd definitely question this article. This article implies that by playing sports, its going to lower your grade or make you less intelligent, but if I got out my report card, I'd have to say differently. My grades are solid. My sport, swimming, has made me associate with people I normally would never talk to nonetheless, work with. I have learned the aspect of being and feeling a part of a team. I have felt what hard work brings through teamwork. No teacher could teach me the result of what winning state championships could feel like or what it feels like to practice 6 days a week 2 hours at a time, or most importantly how it feels to have others cheer you on. That isn't a teachable moment. It is a moment only you can teach yourself. Sports also make you healthier, it gives you a break after working your brain for 6 hours at school. It gives you air to breath; it makes your study time efficient after relaxing for a couple hours. If all a person does is study, they will eventually be unhealthier than say a person who does sports. Being on a team, bulks you up for the future. As I said before, it teaches you how to associate yourself with people you don't know too well. In the future when you get a job, your going to have to learn to get along, and having this background will no doubt help you. Poland may be up in their smarts, but being intelligent isn't going to get you anywhere, you need to show you have the charisma and the energy. Without these two essentials, a person won't be going far. If you can't work along with your coworkers and have enough energy to power through reckless hours, there is no way to succeed. Finally, Poland seems so cut off, other than statistics claiming they are intelligent, what else is there? America gives so many opportunities to outstretch limits, sure we aren't the smartest, but that is the thing. Our country has sculpted the most iconic figures in centuries out of college dropouts like Bill Gates (CEO of Microsoft, billionaire, philanthropist), Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), and Steve Jobs (founder of Apple and Pixar). These figures have shaped the world. They have connected the world and pushed forward this age of technology. They are probably smarter than what Poland could ever form. All in all, I would just like to say, sure being smart will get you somewhere, but for that extra step, for that last little push, when in America college admission officers look for extracurricular and that’s when sports shine. Sports aren't a hindrance to education; sports can help in so many ways. Thus I believe that sports haven't brought down American education, but instead it has enriched the educational culture in so many ways.

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    1. Exactly as Miranda is saying, sports teams provide special lessons that you just can't teach. Such as winning a state championship. I know that my gymnastics/track career has taught me more life lessons than my school textbook has. There are simply some things that you cannot read in books and learn from someone telling you. Sometimes it is necessary to go out and experience things for yourself. Sonny G.

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    2. Along the lines of what Miranda commented, sports are important for the future, especially to colleges. For example, discouraging participation in sports could alter a college application. Many colleges look at students who have several extra curricular activities and those who play sports, especially those who are captains and who can lead a team while keeping their grades up. Would a student who gets straight A's but plays no sports look as impressive as the one who also gets straight A's and is captain of two different sports teams? Similar to what Sonny said, sports can be just as important as math and reading in that they allow a student to gain many skills that cannot be taught in a classroom, but only learned through experiences. Jessica M. P.6

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    3. Sports are definitely a valuable high school experience. I know that not everyone does sports, and that’s a personal choice, but I know I wouldn’t give up running cross country. I completely agree with Sonny and Miranda that you gain experiences that are better life lessons than anything you could learn in school. When you pass someone at the end of the race, or when someone passes you, you will push yourself even harder than you knew you could, and work as hard as you can to do better the next time. Sports teach this hard work, and they teach commitment. They also teach teamwork, a lesson that is crucial to success in anything. Jessica L. Period 6

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    4. As Miranda said sports provide essential life lessons that cannot be taught in class such as teamwork and the ability to work with all types of people. Also sports provide unique experiences that can provide kids with an opportunity to push themselves and work hard to achieve a goal that they truly care about. While sports consume time with practices and games many kids still maintain good consume time management skills that will prepare them for the future.
      Hannah B pd.6

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  3. This article is just really absurd. School work in high school is #1 across the board for most people. We start the day at 7:30 and and don't stop until 2:25 with school work. After the long day we need to get outside and be active in order to stimulate ourselves. Not having a school related sports team could be severely detrimental to the growth of a adolescent. You don't have to go outside to the track field and be the next Olympic star, simply having a sports team promotes social interactions with your peers and allows for staying in shape. This article makes it seem like everyone can just fund a private sports team and not everyone has the money for that which is why high school sports teams should always be around. I know I wouldn't sacrifice my athletic activities for 2% higher on a standardized test. Sonny Giannini Pr. 6

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    1. Miranda S.6
      As Sonny was saying, school sports is just a way of exercise. It keeps you healthy, sure, maybe some of us won't be the next professional sports player but we aren't here to judge or exclude. As long as you tried and as long as you worked your hardest, you are acknowledged for your effort. Every person on the team is essential. This is why it is a team not an individual sport. The team is behind you to cheer you on. I also believe that sports will help make the mind clearer and more relaxed thus, proving better standardized test scores.

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    2. Along the same lines of what Santino was saying, sports get students active in a way in which gym class does not. It nurtures a competiveness that is vital in a young adults upcoming. You don't have to be the next Michael Jordan, because what really counts is the effort, and the positives that come along with being a part of a team. That is why team sports are very fundamental in building a young persons social skills; because no matter what, you know that your team has your back. And having these social skills are much more important than knowing a math equation that you wont need to know after college. Aidan D. Per 6

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  4. I would have to disagree with this article. Sports are supposed to be an outlet to school and a time to get away from studying and working to refresh your brain. If all I were to do is sit home and do homework and study all afternoon after spending seven hours at school I'm pretty sure I would go crazy. Kolbert's main argument seems to be that the United States scores lower on math and reading tests than other countries, but how could this correlate to sports? What if it’s our education system that is flawed and causing the lower test scores in reading and math? What I’ve always heard is that students who participate in sports are the ones with better grades and performance in school because it teaches them time management. I know that without dance or track I would certainly not be home studying math or reading skills anymore than I have to. Overall, sports don’t seem to be the reason for the lack of math and reading skills in America. Jessica M. P.6

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    1. I agree with what you are saying. Playing sports helps kids get outside and exercise. It wouldn't be benefiting kids by making them go to school all day then come home and just continue to do work. A brake is needed in between.
      Rachel C p.6

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  5. In my opinion, this article has the wrong idea about how sports relate to grades. Typically, the grades of those in high school come before sports and I know that many coaches support this idea that sports aren't always #1. Sports are so essential to the growth of an adolescent, as they promote the ability to work and socialize with your peers, physical activity, and nurture friendships which would otherwise may not be created. Sports are something exciting to look forward to after being stuck in school all day; they are an outlet that gives our brains a much needed break. Kolbert is very general and condescending in her idea of sports being a bad influence on students, that they distract them from their work, and consume so much of their time that their grades suffer. This is, to put it simply, not true. Even if high school students didn't have sports, which some don't, you can't expect that they are going to go home and immediately do their homework, and study for upcoming tests. I experience this first hand because for the first season of school, I do not play a sport. And when I get home from a long day at school, I am certainly not touching my backpack for at least a couple of hours, because we need a break from the stress of school work, and sports are that perfect outlet. This leads me to believe that its not the sports that are hindering America's standardized test scores, but that the system in which we educate our youth may be flawed, and that's something that needs to be evaluated and discussed rather than just blame it on 2 hour practices and strict coaches. All in all, this article makes false generalizations about sports hindering academic scores, but in reality sports only build character, nurture friendship and teach invaluable life lessons to our youth. And that is a lot more important than getting 2 or 3% better on a standardized test. Aidan D. Per 6

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    1. Jackson Mariotti P6
      I agree completely with what you said. There are more to learn from sports than there is to gain from taking them away. Also, you were right when you said the relationship is not between sports and grades. There are many other factors, that she overlooked. It is never good to glance quickly and create an opinion, and it seemed as if she did that. I would like to see more statistics to prove her point as she proved none that linked sports to grades.

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    2. The problem with a lot of coach's views of "academics first", is that they really mean, "get your GPA high enough so that you are eligible." If any students can take honors/AP classes while being varsity athletes while also maintaining a 4.0+ GPA, every student is more than capable of being far beyond the minimum requirements for eligibility. We should raise our standards.

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  6. Jackson Mariotti P6
    The author of this article argues that Americans score lower on tests because of sports. She strengthens her argument by showing that in Poland, where there are no school sports, the average test scores are higher than in America. While this may be true, it is not a causation. The fact that schools with sports have lower scores is a simple correlation. There are many factors, such as funding and teachers, that she ignores. It is not the sports fault. She blames football for bringing down test performances but it is not what she should be focusing on. It is the individual and the system. A person will do what motivates them. Many students are more motivated to play a sport than to learn, and that is their choice. Whether there are sports or not, their level of motivation will stay the same for school. For example, I do two sports the entire year. Still, I receive good grades and am able to take tough courses. I spend most of my day running for cross country or training for taekwondo, yet it doesn't affect my grades. Another thing is that our education system needs to improve. It isn't the fact that people are distracted by sports. The way school is taught, kids do not want to learn. This is unfortunate, but won't change if sports are taken away. What needs to change is the education, not the extra-curricular. Also, sports serve a purpose. They teach teamwork and social skills, both which are important for jobs and to become leaders. I think that she was right to point out that our schools are lower, but she was wrong with why they are lower.

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    1. Michael Caminear Period 6
      I couldn't agree more with everything you mentioned, Jackson.
      She sort of seems to narrow in on sports as a problem and ignore other significant topics such as funding and a schools' background. Also, the fact that she is generalizing sports as a preconceived drawback to education and not focusing on the motivational aspect of it all. Everyone is an individual and has their own personal desires.

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    2. Ben Greenvall p.6
      Jackson I agree with you! You have a great point about the benefits of sports. They truly do play a critical role In the development of the character of people. I think that a slight increase in test scores is not a worthy gain, if In order to get there, we must get rid of things that relieve stress, put us in better physical condition, and make us better teammates and leaders for life.

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  7. First of all, I agree that plenty of good can come out of high school sports. They are a great chance to be active, they build character, and they help build relationships students may not have without the team. However, sports are a privilege. No town, student, parent, etc. should be spending any more time or money on sports than academics. In a town like Branford, most students can play multiple sports and be academically successful, but that's not the issue. The issue is people who are completely devoted to high school sports, and high schools that recruit athletes regardless of any other achievement. At the end of the day, high school sports are still just something that should be done for fun. Last year they finally passed a state law requiring literacy before taking part in school sports. In more urban communities, there are literally teenagers who are nearly illiterate, yet they are still a key varsity player on their school's sports team(s).
    Furthermore, when sacrifices have to be made in the budget, the math and science departments should be getting new equipment before thousands of dollars are dropped into a football program. Academics can, and would, be improved if there are cuts in athletic programs. Or better yet, athletic funding could be entirely based on school-wide academic success.

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    1. ahmad zaidi
      I agree with you when say that even though sports are really important but still they should never have a precedence over academics. And since schools are made for education so its fit that most of the money should be on education instead of sports. And I also think that kids should have to maintain a fair grade average in order to keep playing sports, this will ensure that education is always placed before sports.

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  8. It strikes me, as I read this, that grades are placed on a pedestal. It's as if that is all that matters in life. Personally I don't put much stock in grades, beyond the benefits and drawbacks of their rise and fall. It's not as if good grades in physics means that I'm clever, or that bad grades in math makes me an idiot. Our classes are generalized, which is acceptable in today's society, but will eventually become more specific to the student and what they need to learn and can do best at. Even in colleges I am told that, while long ago they have pushed for many well rounded students, now they would prefer many students who have narrower interests but are particularly good at a certain thing. It's the world we're moving into, where the master of a trade is better than the jack of all, and how are we supposed to allow students to adapt to this change if we narrow our curriculum further? It's ridiculous. We may not all be sports champions but there are certainly people who want to try for that, and why should we encumber them or stand in their way? No, I don't think sports are a distraction. I'm not too fond of them, honestly, but I'm not about to say that makes them bad. I believe, like my peers, that a few points up in the grade percentages is not worth as much as values taught in sports. And that the problem of distraction is not the fault of the sports, but of the school system itself.

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  9. I disagree with this article 100%. I personally run year-round, and I’m not doing poorly in school. I’m taking plenty of challenging classes, and cross country is not hurting my grades. In fact, between seasons I know that I actually have a harder time focusing on homework. I feel like I have to go out and exercise after school, otherwise I get distracted and bored. Sports also make sure we stay healthy. If we take away high school sports teams, there would be a lot more unhealthy kids. Our country has focused a lot over the past few years on our obesity problem, and I really don’t think that taking away sports would be helpful. It would make our country even less healthy, and may even lower our standardized test scores, if the other athletes are like me, and feel that the exercise helps them focus and even relax. If our nation's test scores are not where they should be, sports are definitely not the cause. Jessica L. Period 6

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  10. Ahmad zaidi, period 6
    This article says that sports are the reason American students perform badly in school and we should just get rid of sports altogether. I disagree with the author because sports are just an outside activity and do not conflict with studying. If a kid did not join sports he would use his time on some other random activity like watching TV or playing on the computer because kids just don't study 24 hours a day.The author said kids who play sports do not do well in school but there are many kids who excel at education and sports, so you can’t just blame a kid who is not interested in studies on an unrelated outside activity that doesn't even take long. I do agree with the author when she says that american education is weak but its because how our education is structured not because of sports.

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    1. Jonathan Williams, period 6

      I agree that it's more about the student's interest in doing their work than whether they play a sport. There are athletes who do extremely well in schools, while there are non-athletes who don't get good grades. It really comes down to how much work the student wants to put in. Although I think that sports take away from study/work time slightly, there's not really any significant difference.

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  11. I think the author does make some valid points in saying things like how some parents may prioritize sports over schoolwork, but the thing is is that this isn't true for every situation, in fact for the majority of parents whose kids play a sport I don't think it is true. Isn't that why we have the minimum grade requirements? To make sure that students who play on teams are also putting enough attention towards academics? The author also fails to adress the benefits of sports. For example, not only is it a reason for kids to go outside and get exercise, but think of how many highschool kids have gotten college scholarships from playing a sport. As well as building skills that can be helpful later in life, or meeting new friends. Plus, childhood obesity has been a talked about issue in the country for several years at least, and taking away school sports teams would do nothing to help this issue, in fact it would probably hurt it.

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  12. The topic of if sports should be a school activity has actually been talked about a lot in my house. One of the points that keeps coming up is how it affects our school schedules. I'm sure everyone can agree that at some point in their high school history they have wondered why they have to get up so early for school. The reason is because sports need hours of after school time to practice, and most sports can practice in the dark so they need daylight. That means most people are doing their homework after sports when its dark outside. That cuts into sleeping time for most of them. Add to that the fact they have to get up early in the morning too means most are sleep deprived (by medical standards). Sleep deprivation causes lack of concentration and ability to retain data. Think of sleep as wifi and your brain as a computer. If the wifi has low bars (you didn't get enough sleep the night before) then it takes a while for the new window to open. As a person who doesn't participate in a school sport but has a job and is co-editor of Calliope I can personally say that I know how to manage my time effectively and can work in a group which as I see it are the two biggest "life lessons" that come out of sports. Yet I get enough time to sleep each night, while earning money for college, and learning other "life lessons" like food prep, initiative (as in predicting what the boss wants before they ask), and dealing with people. And yes I will admit that in our school we have some pretty amazing people that can get straight A's and be a captain of a sports team, but not everyone can do that. And sometimes going out for a sport really hurts their grades. So yes sports affect grades.

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  13. Michael Caminear Period 6
    I completely disagree with this article and what it tries to prove. While I appreciate the author's attempt to present this issue from a bicameral point of view, it is obvious that she is partial to the idea that high school sports are detrimental to one's education. As for her recognition toward the opposing argument, she merely glosses over the positive effects that playing a high school sport can bring forth. Therefore, I feel that this article is unreasonable simply because it does not provide balanced analyses for both sides of the debate.
    Also, being a successful two-sport athlete, I know from experience that playing any type of sport creates unforgettable memories, boosts morale, and promotes teamwork in a way that can be built into useful social skills that forge life-long friendships. Not to mention, it is a great way to get exercise and compete with your peers. More importantly, in regards to academics, I believe that playing a sport can IMPROVE one's scholastic ability and not be detrimental to it. This holds true because it, in a way, forces students to balance their lives and set their priorities straight. Meaning, it allows students to get a better sense of what the real world may be like because it allows students to budget their time according to their schedule. Furthermore, I think that the solution to any academic issue does not lie in eliminating high school sports; it lies in changing the attitudes of students everywhere to push themselves to balance their lives with their own specific priorities.
    The one portion of the article that I agree with is the part where it says that schools budgets are mainly determined by sports. This, undoubtedly, has to change because academics are superior to anything with respect to any other activity. Knowledge is the most valuable thing that any individual possess. This is true simply because no one can take it away.
    So, to answer the question, "Have Sports Teams Brought Down America's Schools?" I would say absolutely not. Sports provide an alternative outlet for students to funnel their interests while also teaching kids valuable skills. In my opinion, the way to fix this issue is by teaching students to balance their priorities.

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  14. Jonathan Williams, period 6

    I agree with Elizabeth Kolbert that sports probably take away from students' grades. It leaves kids with a lot less time to study and do homework. However, I don't feel this is a significant issue or that anything needs to be done about it. School shouldn't consume kids' lives; it already takes up 7 hours of the day. They should spend more focus on what they enjoy and are passionate about, like sports. This develops friendships, social skills, and other qualities that are just as important as school. In the short term, it may seem like grades are more important than anything. Longterm, however, things like sports end up being just as important in developing positive characteristics.

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  16. Benjamin G pr. 6
    I completely agree with what the article says, except for the idea that something like this could actually work. To clarify, I agree that when children don't play sports, they have more time for their studies. And obviously when kids spend more time studying their grades go up. But the part I don't agree with, is that it would work. To quote the author, the reasons coaches get away with hard and long workouts, all the time, is because "kids like it." I feel that kids will be less likely to fully participate in their studies, if the don't have soccer to look forward to. I for one know that swimming is the ONLY reason that I am able to get through the day. Without sports, my life would be much more stressful.

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  17. The author of this article is trying to say that low grades are related to sports, but I completely disagree because this is just a coincidence. There are plenty of athletes in our school that get stellar grades, in fact most of the schools high honor students play a varsity sport. Not only are sports and low grades not connected, but sports are very good for you. Sports keep you in shape, help you meet new people, and builds a good character. I no way are sports bad for you.

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  18. Emma Pottenger
    I would strongly disagree sports participation are positively correlated with low test scores. I have been playing sports year round all my life, and it has actually helped me grow academically. Freshman year I had trouble balancing, but having to schedule out your week and when you need to get things done has forced me into creating habits that will help me later in life. I have learned how my brain works and what I need to do to make sure I stay organized. I agree with the author, people that are gifted with physical intelligence, they are not always also gifted with the same academic intelligence. However I do not think this is a cause and effect situation. I think this is a case of people and their own unique abilities.

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  19. I would disagree with the authors viewpoint on sports and education. While she points out the fact that many foreign countries such as Poland and South Korea have better overall test scores than that of America, you have to step back and consider the different cultural lifestyles and the mindsets of students in each country. Would cutting sports in american schools truly increase test scores? will american students devote their new found free time to studying? The answer would most likely be no. With more free there is more time for procrastination which would have an overall negative effect on our school systems.
    Hannah B pd.6

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  21. I disagree with the author's point of view. I dont think getting rid of sports would do anything. Sports are part of kids lives. Most of the students in America play at least on sport. Sports are what helps the students get through the day. For me, Lacrosse has helped so much for me to go through the day. After a long day at school, I go to practice and play and work out. It relieves stress and it helps me focus on my tests and homework when I get back from practice. Also playing sports help you figure out a balanced schedule. This lets individuals become more independent and more organized. If the students were only focusing on sports and falling low on academics, then the students shouldnt be able to participate. But as we all know, you need to meet certain academic requirements to participate in a sports team. Concluding my thought, getting rid of sports isnt going to improve education.

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