Home > Uncategorized > Bake Sales for Books? NO… for Sports? Hm-m-m

Bake Sales for Books? NO… for Sports? Hm-m-m

December 30, 2012

In Diane Ravitch’s blog post today she responds to the question of whether public schools should rely on charity. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut yes-or-no answer to this question because there is no clear cut definition to what constitutes an “adequate education”. In an op ed piece I wrote several years ago I offered the following list of items that constitute an “adequate education”:

  • Kindergarten
  • Class sizes of 18-22 in the primary grades
  • Class sizes of no more than 25 in intermediate grades
  • Art, Music, and Physical Education at least twice per week in the elementary grades
  • A media center in each school equipped with internet access
  • A computer classroom in every school large enough to accommodate a class
  • At least one computer in every classroom with internet access
  • Opportunities for High School students to enroll in courses that prepare them for SAT II tests in all content areas
  • Opportunities for High School students to enter the workforce upon graduation with pre-apprenticeship skills
  • Funds for each teacher to pursue graduate level courses and/or professional growth opportunities throughout their career
  • Teacher compensation levels that attract and retain talented and creative college graduates
  • Clean, well maintained schools

This list DOESN’T include extra-curricular activities like athletics. It also assumes that other extra-curricular activities like drama, music, and journalism-related activities would be embedded in the academic curriculum. If schools have limited resources, it seems to me that those resources should be directed primarily if not exclusively to academics.

So… the answer to the question “should public schools rely on charity” is NO when it comes to the elements of an “adequate education”… but a qualified YES when it comes to everything else.  Changing the status quo in this area, however, will be more daunting than changing the notion of age-based grade levels, for the funding of sports programs is sacred in many parts of our country.

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