Have you every wondered about this? I certainly have:
Anyone who pays attention to local high schools knows that a coach who has several consecutive losing seasons will likely be fired. Well, not really. It is more likely that the losing coach will be sent to teach history or English.
Have you ever heard of a bad history or English teacher who was taken out of the classroom and sent to coach football or basketball? I doubt it. At least not because he was doing a bad job of classroom teaching.
Are football and basketball more important than history and English? If it isn’t importance, then what is the difference between coaching football or basketball and teaching history or English?
The critical difference is that everyone knows the teams are losing. They expect something to be done about it. [emphasis added]
Accountability makes quite a difference, does it not? There is much more which could be said on the topic of accountability, but I wish to save that for another time.
I would like to say, however, with reference to the line “Are football and basketball more important than history and English?” that the answer is, yes, sometimes.
All of use have a finite amount of time, energy and money. What we choose to expend these on is most assuredly an indication of what we believe to be important. This is hardly a new thought, since we have Matthew Baralphaeus writing “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” about 1940 years ago or so. Keeping this in mind, there are most certainly high-schools where it would seem that the treasure and the heart are supporting the athletic programs rather than readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmatic.
Does this mean there is no place in school for athletics? No, but we would do well to consider whether athletics should trump academics. After all, which is more important to a 40-yr-old who is trying to keep the family fed, clothed and housed–the ability to consistently throw 25yd passes, or a functional grasp of accounting? (And before you go cute with your answer, remember that only 8 in 10,000 high-school football players go to the NFL).