Friday, March 14, 2008

Cut Back

"Stop balancing the budget on our children's backs," is a popular quote going around among district officials in California. Because of Swarzchenegger's budget project, the layoff process of many faculty members statewide is becoming more of a reality. Vital members, like teachers, principals, counselors, school nurses and other non-teacher positions are dreading these soon realistic cutbacks. Those with non-teaching jobs have already faced the effects from the Governator's cuts. Yes, it's unfair for the essential team players to be laid off, but I feel like we've overlooked a department that does not play a significant role in academics: the athletic department.

With a relatively small population among all schools, the athletic department has somehow dodged the priority list of branches that need to be totally cut, if not restricted. I don't understand why I'm not hearing the word "coaches" or "physical educator" mentioned as I hear far more important faculty members being listed down as if they didn't make it on the varsity basketball team; "Sorry Geometry Teacher, but we have some high standards on this team to reach our goals. Take some tips from P.E. Instructor and observe what it takes to be a high priority on the team." The news has mentioned nothing related to athletics, so the department must be doing it's job of students reaching the general ideal goal: graduate from high school with a full-ride scholarship to a distinguished 4-year university.

I'm raising my left hand up and using the other to point at the school coaches. You're damn right I'm tattling on you guys. The only coaches that were addressed as being laid off were writing and math coaches, and from what I've heard, the brain needs more of a workout than the biceps and glutes. I appreciate that these teachers are advocates of health, but let's be real: these P.E. classes aren't making an impact on the malnutritioned and obese kids, especially in this day of age when kids are turned into passive learners because of the internet. OK, you can argue* that there are other classes post-graduate students won't reminisce, but I'm a firm believer that any history, math, english, or science class and the teachers that indoctrinate them prompt students to genuinely think about possible careers to research; it's not often for a student to say, "Coach McCloud really inspired me to become a kinestheologist."

"Academics over athletics," is what you'd hear from my former Honors Intermediate Algebra teacher, who is also a Cross Country and Track & Field coach. I've never heard anyone say anything so true, asides from my former basketball coach: "Your priorities should be listed from least to most important: basketball, then school, then your religion." He didn't like fags, though, so that kinda invalidates the last part of his inspiring words. Nonetheless, strengthening the brain is more important than the body, and that's the message that should be taken out of this. It kills me to hear that former wrestling teammates still struggle in classes because they've been focused and stressed about the sport; and not to mention cutting pounds of water weight, which makes concentration in school difficult. So, let's face the fact that not every student is a star athlete with an above average grade point average, though it is highly doable, but I don't doubt that a high GPA is put into more consideration by universities than a perfect touchdown record; besides, you would need a minimum of a 2.0 GPA with no Fs in order to play.

I don't know for sure how California's budget cut is going to seriously effect schools statewide; I actually just heard on the news that the probability of teachers actually getting laid off is low, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take this whole deal ardently. Maybe only a few teachers will be laid off, and the biggest problem would be oversized classrooms -- which is still a significant deal. I'm sure students will still get the chance to check out books at their school libraries, but librarians won't supervise those buildings. Restrooms will still be used, but custodians aren't going to clean the graffiti off the walls and stalls.

In school, you are a student to learn and find out what kind of career you want to pursue, not to train to win the basketball state championship. In school, you are a student to move on to a higher level of education, not become a professional football player. In school, you are a student, but being an athlete is an option.

*thanks Sue!


Sue said...

This is a well written argument with only a couple of grammatical errors. Rebuttle is not a word and rebut would probably suffice there. You have a great point and I'm not sure why the athletic departments are not being looked at in the cuts. Is Education in general all that fat to begin with?

Hope you are well Douggie! Death by a mysterious clown incident, huh? lol

D said...

Thanks for catching me on that Sue! Every essay I've turned in, I have had points taken off for my grammatical errors! >:( I'm really glad you caught me on that, 'cuz I'm trying to be a perfectionist in my writing, b/c, you know, I'm perfect in everything else. ;)

'n yes, a mysterious clown incident, so if you see my face on a milk carton, you'd know why.