This week’s Time Magazine arrived in the mail a little while ago. Here’s what the cover looks like. Accompanied by a big picture of a deflated football, the cover stories are “The Most Dangerous Game. How to Fix Football” and “The Crisis in High Schools.”
My immediate thought was that somehow football is more important that education? Will football impact America’s ability to compete in the world economy more than what high school kids are learning?
I have a soft spot in my heart for educational issues, so I opened it up and tried to find the article on what crisis is befalling our high schools. I could find no such article title in the table of contents, so I began to flip through. Oh, look 10 questions from readers posed to Ozzy Osbourne, that’s nice. Good picture of him too. Bomb crater in Baghdad, shame the picture isn’t in the online edition. Flip, flip, flip…. Joe Klein on “Failing our Schools“. Huh, not about high school, but about how the evil teachers unions are preventing meaningful reform of our schools. Not even the same author mentioned on the cover. Moving on. Disaster porn, pictures of the devastation in Haiti. Can Bank Bashing Help Obama (yes, only if it comes with rules and regulations that protect us from predatory banking). What Obama should learn from Reagan (stand up for something, blame the guy you replaced for everything that’s wrong). Oh, we’re up to the cover article on football now.
And the article on what’s wrong with our high schools! Finally fount it! Is it standards that are too low? Curricula that don’t get kids to the standards? Is it teachers? Is it helicopter parents? Is it student apathy? High stakes testing? Too little focus on preparing kids for college and the workforce? Underfunded technology initiatives??
No, the article that the cover bragged was on a crisis in our high schools is in fact called “A Lifetime Penalty: In Texas, catastrophic spinal injuries aren’t enough to change high school football.” The article isn’t about instructional issues at all, but the tragedy of a handful of kids who suffer serious, crippling injuries on the football field. What schools are “failing” to do is keep young players of a dangerous, full-contact sport safe. The writer’s answer to this problem? Not better coaching to avoid injuries. Not getting rid of a dangerous extracurricular activity with debatable educational value. Not educating the teen-aged players about the risks of concussions and more serious injuries. Not changing the “win at any cost” mentality that makes this an acceptable risk for communities, coaches, and the players that understand the risks. No, he thinks there should be an ambulance at every high school football game.
Yeah, that will really keep kids from ending up in wheelchairs.
Not to make light of these kids, but is that really the biggest problem our high schools face?
This is what passes for a news magazine in our country. And that is part of the educational crisis in our country.