Budget Crisis - all extracurriculars and sports cut

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ron6103, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Well, this is quite the development. While not in my district, this district is a mere hour away, and their board just approved the closure of ALL extracurricular activities, and virtually all sports. Included in the cut were: art, music, technology, basketball, cross country, track, and much more. The article is below.

    What are your thoughts on this? I ask because my own district is (as are many) entering a financial crisis, and I sincerely hope this isn't the route we take.

    http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/education/article_e4b69ee8-30b2-11df-8ef2-001cc4c03286.html
     
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  3. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    The district I live in did this 2 years ago....and then the community raise 100 Thousand dollars to fund the Varsity sports!

    This year if the budget doesnt pass there will be no sports again and they have already announced that they will not allow the community to fundraise. It should be interesting to see how it works out in May!
     
  4. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    WOW, how do you explain this to the kids? They certainly deserve better than this solution. What a sad state of affairs for our future...
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I believe this method will backfire for school districts. Parents, as we all know, value sports and activities, some more than academics. I think parents will end up pulling kids out of schools like this, and transferring either to private or to other schools. Funding per kid gone.
     
  6. Bumble

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    AGAIN, I say school is no longer fun! :(
     
  7. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Band?!?!?

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    My best memories from high school are from band and drama club. What a TRAGEDY!!!

    Wait-how are these kids going to compete on college applications? I depended heavily on my extracurricular activities to give me an edge for my entrance....
     
  8. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Will somebody educate me on something...how does Obama/The Federal Dept of Ed, have 4 BILLION dollars for this Race to the Bottom (Top) for more standardized testing etc, but there's no money to help these schools and employees and important extra activities continue to operate?

    I don't get this at all.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

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    It isn't Obama, webmistress: this is a local decision.
     
  10. Grover

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    Well, it isn't exactly precisely Obama, but it is the Feds. The Feds hand out funds for particular things, and they don't even hand those out unless the states, and therefore the locals, adhere to the Fed's policies and priorities. Obama has very notably NOT taken any steps to significantly alter the NCLB structure, so at the very least he is responsible for a massive failure of leadership.
     
  11. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    My own district cut all extra-curriculars including sports. We also closed all school buildings 1 hour after our official end time, even teachers and principals had to leave the building. There was no high school busing and middle schoolers had to walk up to 2 mi.
    It was rough. Then we finally passed a levy after 4 failed in a row. Now all those things are back, great for most, but sad four seniors who missed out on football/band/soccer etc.
     
  12. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    That just stinks.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is so incredibly sad. I can't imagine what my daughter's high school experience would be like without all of the extra-curricular, arts and sports she is involved in; it would be a much "emptier" experience.
     
  14. Brendan

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    Sports, Art, Music, and Extracurriculars is on the chopping block here, too! Average class sizes next year will be over 40. My APUSH class is expected to be 60, yup, 60.
     
  15. KinderCowgirl

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    I agree with Jem-what about kids counting on scholarships as well as padding those college applications? I really don't understand what they're thinking-does it really cost that much to have a team. I know they probably pay a coach for extra hours, but I always thought in most places parents bought their own uniforms, instruments, etc.

    Where will all those kids go after school would be my concern too. One good thing about being involved in those activities, was it helps keeps the kids out of trouble, not to mention keeps them healthier. Very upsetting.
     
  16. atomic

    atomic Companion

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    We have all these activities at the HS still, but not for much longer.

    We have town run programs too. Sure you have to pay for your kid to play football, field hockey, soccer, etc, but is that so wrong?

    There needs to be some seperation between schools and extracurricular activities. They are "extra."

    I wonder how other countries, the ones beating us i education, handle this?

    The German teacher in my building said that in Germany schools educate and you pay for your kids to play soccer in leagues organized by your town.
     
  17. futureteach21

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    My local district did a similar thing. The Super posted a survey online about where people would like to see cuts first, and what is most important to NOT be cut. I filled it out and will admit that sports and extra curriculars weren't at the top of my preservation list. I really don't disagree with the choice to eliminate all the extra stuff. Is it sad? Yes. I think its tragic we have reached that point. But I would rather have less extras and be able to keep staff and class sizes the same. Cuts are inevitable and people need to decide what is most important. To me, sports and extra's are really important, but they are not the most important so I am okay those being cut out.

    I hope my post didn't come off the wrong way. Just my two cents!
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

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    But "the Feds" are evidently not mandating that all local jurisdictions do away with all extracurriculars, any more than "the Feds" instruct all local jurisdictions to go with strictly scripted curricula or that all districts engage in nothing but test preparation for the month leading up to the state test.

    The point is that, in order to combat stupidities, it's vital to understand at which level to go after them.
     
  19. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    If they have to make the cuts, I totally believe this is where they should be made. Yes it is a shame, but why are schools responsible for the extra-curriculur involvement of our children? I never understood this. I can see some clubs if they are co-curricular, but I never understood Varsity sports, especially on the level that they currently exist, being a part of a school budget.
     
  20. atomic

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    I just heard that freshmen sports are being cut at my school.

    Freshmen will need to tryout to be on the JV team.
     
  21. ku_alum

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    If a district cuts sports, you can expect an exodus of students to neighboring districts.

    We are considered a fine arts hs ... band and choir are our big stars. However, we are trying very hard to not eliminate sports programs. We know that we will lose students to schools that still offer sports programs.
     
  22. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I'm not a jock, but I was a hs athlete. (I work at a fine arts hs).
    But, here are reasons hs varsity sports are important:
    1. So much learning occurs on the field/court
    2. Some kids come to school to play sports, we wouldn't see them otherwise
    3. Opportunity for students to connect with peers and adults
    4. Community involvement and support
    5. Scholarship opportunities
     
  23. glen

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    Same thing in our district 3 years ago. Sports were only funded because several families took out loans to finance them. We also lost a third of the teaching staff that year, restructured the schools, cut social workers, and lost the full day K program (reinstituted shortly after the cut). It was quite a disaster! We haven't heard yet what things will look like for the upcoming school year.
     
  24. Grover

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    I think these stupidities have to be fought at every level. While it's true that the Feds are not mandating scripted curricula or the elimination of all extracurriculars, it IS the case that NCLB has created a funding structure in which either states reject the funding- which in all cases I know of would lead to severe budget shortfalls, which in turn would confront them with even more onerous choices regarding funding extracurriculars, teacher pay, class size, etc; OR the states HAVE TO adopt a standards-based model. These are the only choices under NCLB. There are certainly people making a case for standards based education, though I am certainly not one of them, but it's hard to deny that the life-and-death of pressure of NCLB tends strongly to push schools that already having trouble meeting standards to adopt packages that promise to solve that problem because they are 100% standards-aligned.
    Does this mean I think local school boards and individual principals are by and large full of great solutions to educational issues and would, without NCLB, all make good choices? No... I do, however, believe that NCLB has created an environment that pushes them in a bad direction and makes it very, very difficult to look for any solutions that are not part of the Standards model. The result is that schools across the country are by and large making the same bad choices with the same bad results. This tells me that whatever the failings of local school authorities may be, that there is a National Policy Issue at stake.
     
  25. midwestteacher

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    This is a shame because so many students are only coming to school because of the extras - sports, etc. We have clubs that are intra-curricular and are designated as such by federal laws. I wonder if these were cut also?
    I think sometimes we go overboard with the sports - we have 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, jv, and varsity basketball in the winter. And that is boys and girls. Most of the lower grades have all their tournaments/games on the weekends which increases costs for the facilities, custodians, etc.
     
  26. Hoot Owl

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    It seems that we're taking ten steps BACKWARDS!

    How did things get in such a mess?

    My State is solvent and in good financial shape. I haven't heard of any budget cuts. We haven't had a raise in three years but that's due to a steady drop in school enrollment.

    I loved the extra-curricular events at school. It's where kids really have time to bond with one another, develop a "team" spirit, and have something to look forward to beside taking tests.
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I just read the first post in this thread to my daughter in grade 10. I won't repeat all that she said, but her last sentence said it best, "If Canada decides to do that, I'm moving to another country." (and she would do her best to find a way!).
     
  28. Samothrace

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    I was also a band kid! Besides the memories and hysterics of being in band...it gave me the chance to 1) be in leadership positions over my squad, my section(clarinet section leader) AND a band officer. I learned some valuable skills doing this! Not to mention the power it had on me emotionally and mentally. Highschool was hard enough, but band was my niche!

    The drama and art department provided me the chance to complete over 200 hours just my senior year in community service.


    It really breaks my hearts for these kids knowing they won't have those experiences and memories to look back on. And apparently, they don't require their graduating kids to have art credits to graduate high school like Ohio does.

    If I had children and they lost these chances I would get them out of that district for sure.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Except that the unemployment rates will make that impossible. Too many families are hanging on by their fingernails, with one or both wage earners unemployed or underemployed.
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That makes me so sad! I spent today (of my Spring Break) at school for a drama work day. The students worked hard, learned a lot, and built great relationships! That's what's keeping some of these kids in school. It would be sad if they didn't have that creative outlet. We had about 20 kids at school over a break to work!
     
  31. atomic

    atomic Companion

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    The shameful part is they should be coming to school for an education. Parents/guardians need to spend more time teaching their kids that school isn't all fun and games.

    Kids should go outside and play if they want to socialize. Join community based sports and clubs. Why do they have to be paid for and organized by the schools?

    Extracurricular is EXTRA.
     
  32. bshreff

    bshreff Rookie

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    I really can't believe there are people on this board that agree with this idea. Yes, extracurriculars can't put on a test exactly what a kid learned, and no, learning your scales or how to block a wide receiver likely won't get you ahead in life, but how can anyone seriously believe that this is a good idea? Plenty of people have mentioned great memories and such, but I don't hear enough people talking about the other issues.

    First of all, how about getting into college? We all know (or should all know) that colleges don't just want kids because they had great grades or high SAT scores. Having extracurriculars is essential to getting into school. These programs give children experience that is essential to a successful life that just can't be given in a class room. Like preforming under pressure, leadership experience, acceptance of failure, getting up and trying again, relationship building, and following a leader loyally.

    Sure kids should be going to school to learn, but I can safely say that NO other teacher had more of an affect on my life than my band directors. I also met my wife in band (as did a number of my friends whom I still stay in contact with to this day). I have gotten jobs on recommendations written by my high school band directors. And whenever I've had a bad day and it feels like the world is too much, I think back to preforming in the Citrus Bowl for 3000 people and when we hit the last note the entire place erupted with applause and cheers. I'm sorry, but that beats acing a math test or writing an essay any day of the week.
     
  33. Grover

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    You're right, of course. Kids should realize that life is not all fun and games. They should be motivated from the get-go by the fact that they face a harsh world of economic competition where only their school grades will save them from a life of poverty and misery. "A"s = $$$$$, right? Let them get good grades, take over Microsoft for a few decades, and then they can pay for all the fun they want.
    As educators we can model for students the importance of school- after all, we have mastered the curriculum and we are the richest and happiest people on earth! Until they know as much as we know, they should shut up and keep their little noses to the grindstone.
     
  34. atomic

    atomic Companion

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    Why can't you believe it?

    I don't think anyone is saying that band, drama, sports, etc. aren't places that encourage learning and are valuable.

    What I'm saying is that school's shouldn't be the organizers of these activities.

    Join a band, but do it in the community. We have a lot of church organized marching bands in the area. They are a lot better than the HS's.

    I went to a great college and was part of the National Honor society. I joined local groups for my community service requirements. I played on a travel soccer team, a local swim team, boyscouts, volunteered at the local food bank and goodwill, and was active in a bible study group and youth group.

    There is plenty of great things for kids to join and contribute their time.

    I firmly believe we give too much. We make it too easy. We need to put some of the ownership back onto the students.
     
  35. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Grover, I totally disagree with you (respectfully) In my opinion we should be educating the whole child - not just the cognitive skills you are thinking of in a traditional curriculum. Music, art, sports, and everything else you can think of are just as important. I think they should be expanded to include many more life skills than are currently taught in high school as well. This decision is disasterous for many types of learners and is a sad comment on our society.
     
  36. Grover

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    Sorry if the ironic tone didn't come through. To be complete direct, I think that music, art, sports, drama and community involvement are fundamental to anything that can really be called education. If schools don't do it, they become a class issue- only the rich can have them. I don't think this helps to build a society that I particularly want to live in.
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

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    scmom, I think Grover intended irony, and that the one with whom you truly disagree is atomic.
     
  38. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mmmm, I think Grover was being just a tad sarcastic. ;)

    That said, I'd point out that atomic's position is NOT that kids shouldn't do these things. Misrepresenting her opinion that way is simply not fair.

    Her assertion is that it is not the public schools that should be doing these, and by extension that the taxpayers as a whole should not pay for them. While this is still a debatable point, it doesn't cast atomic in quite so glaring a light. Should the taxpayers be paying to help improve the students' resumes for college? Perhaps -- one could see that if it weren't provided for in some way, wealthy students would enjoy a significant advantage. Of course, they still enjoy this advantage today, but just because of other things they get provided that other students might not. Should public school be doing all of these? Is that even possible?

    Keep in mind that if you're arguing for the status quo, is it just because it's the status quo and if it is, is that a reasonable argument?

    For what it's worth, I don't agree with atomic. However, part of that disagreement is because I benefit myself from other people (i.e., taxpayers) paying the bills to give my kids extracurriculars.

    Ironically, perhaps it's best if in wealthy districts extracurricular costs are foisted onto the individual parents who can likely afford them, whereas in poorer districts the cost should be born by the masses to be able to give them opportunities. I suspect this might be exactly the opposite of what actually happens, though.

    ps: your disagreement was quite diplomatic and well-spoken, though, scmom. It's practically a model for disagreeing while maintaining civility.
     
  39. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Great that your family could afford for you to participate in all of those activities. Sure, my drama club has plenty of students who are involved in community theater. You have to pay a tremendous amount of money to join community theater groups. Usually, you have to buy your own costumes. Also, you are competing with some pros for spots. To be good enough, that takes private voice lessons ($), dance classes ($), and acting classes ($.) Same with music, art, cheer, dance, club soccer, etc. We are equal opportunity, we use color-blind casting, and no one is turned away because they are not able to buy a fancy costume. If your mom works late, we'll arrange a ride for you somehow. So, do we give a lot to our kids? Absolutely! We give them the opportunity to excel and try new things without oppressive financial burden that keeps some of the students who need these activities the most from participating in them.
     
  40. bshreff

    bshreff Rookie

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    I better understand your point now atomic. However, I still disagree with it. I think the problem is regional. Where I live (and in the south in general) there are not community driven marching bands. We have community sports, but those all cost money (and usually a significant amount of it) to join. The only outside musical groups are Drum Corps which have dues of $1000s a year.

    The real question is this: Should these activities be considered essential to the high school experience, thereby meaning that the schools should have to pay for them.

    I think the majority of students will tell you that they are. As a teacher it is easy to say that kids can do without them, but if you put yourself in their shoes it may change the rules. I personally can't think of a high school memory that isn't tinged in some way by my extracurriculars. Even my academic study groups typically consisted of fellow band members.

    What we should really look at is raising the requirements to participate in these activities. For example, students should need to have a good attendance record to be on a team. They should have to be in school the day of a game or performance to participate. A lot of schools do this now, but why not take it further? Have higher GPA requirements to participate. Eliminate students who have referrals or behavioral issues. In this way, we could use these activities not only to benefit the children, but benefit the school and teachers as well.

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to this: a lot of parents will not pay to have their kid in a band or sport, especially if the costs for these activities are very high. If these foundations are not being laid at the earliest levels, sports, music, and art will suffer on the whole at all levels. And do we really want to live in a country without those things?
     
  41. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    My students can't go out and play-most live in apartments and it's unsafe for them to be outside where they live. Not to mention their family doesn't have much in the way of transportation to get to those ballfields, etc. School is a safe place (for the most part) for kids to be able to participate in sports and arts activities. School policies can still be enforced. Not to mention the physical and emotional benefits to regular exercise, practice. If all schools in the nation were adopting this policy I'd probably feel differently, but I do think it's unfair that some students in contention for scholarships/college applications will be shafted.

    I don't know what the solution is here, I just think it's a really sad commentary on where education is headed.
     

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