Sunday, August 15, 2010

The ACLU goes after school districts, because there aren’t enough ambulances to chase lately.

It is one of the most common rules that has been broken since the banning of “pay-to-play” in 1984; making athlete’s contribute money towards athletics. The “problem” is that according the American Civil Liberties Union (a hypocritical, bias organization), schools are pressuring student families to pay to be involved in high school athletics, something that is illegal in California because it prevents equal access to education, although it’s interesting that athletics are selectively considered part of the educational process when the situation benefits particular parties.  A recent story had Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines saying that he was “livid” when he found out that his schools were having kids pay to be a part of athletics.  I’ll take a stab in the wind and call “bullshit”.  Nearly everyone in the last twenty years has had to ask/borrow/beg/demand some sort of monetary assistance to keep athletics afloat. 

We were warned years ago that parents were hiring lawyers to go after schools that were demanding money.  For the record, Ukiah High doesn’t demand a thing, which is why freshmen sports could disappear this year.  I ask for money to help with tournaments.  Some years I get help with tournaments, some years I don’t.  What this creates is an attitude that makes me ready to say, “You guys pay for it or we drop it”, which will occur this year.  We clearly don’t have enough money to transport students to tournaments or even pay for all the basketball tournament fees.  So pay-to-play will happen in a different way, by donation. 

This creates an interesting situation for public versus private schools as well.  Schools like Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa or De La Salle in Concord don’t have the problem of “pay-to-play”, because the students do pay to play.  That, and the filthy rich donations that alumni make to the schools.  The problem is that equity doesn’t exist for the students of, let’s say, Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa, or Ukiah High School.  Cash strapped systems have to make real decisions that end up taking kids away from some of the most influential lessons they might learn in school.  Wonder why the ACLU doesn’t comment on that.

I don’t like the idea of inequity in education (the reason behind the 1984 court case), but let’s stop with the hypocrisy and either call athletics a part of school or don’t.  With America getting more sedentary and quite frankly, fatter, physical education needs to reprioritized near the top, and athletics needs to be classified as an Advanced Placement style course.  It’s been proven that students in athletics tend to have much better grades, so let’s get cracking. 

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