Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Define ExtraCurricular

Extracurricular-Adj. That which is outside the normal curriculum.

What happened to the idea of extracurricular activities. Athletics, band, cheerleading were all things that you elected to do as something BEYOND the basic realm of classes. Yet now we have actual classes, with, I assume, actual curriculums, syllabi and standards. Why is this? Is it that we have caved in to the parents who want their children's every breath given credit weight? Or have administrators become so dazzled by the reflected glory on the ball field that they throw huge amounts of money for staffing, equipment and facilities toward these non-academic pastimes. And that is what they are. Like it or not, cheerleading is NOT a class. It's an activity. Like it or not football and baseball and basketball are all activities-not classes. Sure, you can learn to block, or learn to hit, or learn to throw a layup-but it's still not intellectually stimulating. Now I know many kids think this is the only way for them to get a college education. And that is the fault of a society which is so enamored with celebrities that we now have celebrities that are famous for such things as behaving badly, going to rehab and wrecking cars. This worshipful attitude towards those who are seen as talented has got to change. People often wonder where these young athletes and stars develop such horrible personalities. Maybe it's because rather than teaching them to read and think, all their schools and parents concentrated on what how cute they were, how talented they were or how good they were at athletics. Some kids are really good at working this type of minor fame into excuses for dismissing ignorance, stupidity and out and out self-centered behavior. If they are talented enough they work their ways through college being coddled for their fame until they either graduate or move onto some major league or field of work where such hubris is appreciated. What are we teaching them when we value those superficial things over the real meat of education? When was the last time your school had a pep rally for the Debate team? Or the Math Club? Or the Academic Decathalon team? I know my school hasn't and probably never will since almost all of the administrators in my district are ex-coaches. I am not saying athletics and such aren't important, but as the Greeks said, in all things "balance". And we are dreadfully unbalanced right now.

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