Schools: Shooting for Academic Success, or Hoops Instead?

As the typical high school teenager, it’s obvious to note that writing a five-page essay isn’t exactly the epitome of “fun.” However, last week, while skimming through my documents to print out at my school, a small piece of paper taped to the computer caught my eye. It read: “We are running low on copy paper. Please be judicial and frugal when deciding to print assignments.” Now, yes, I totally get that a student shouldn’t be printing a billion copies of their favorite bands off of the printers.

However, what blew my mind was that our school hadn’t thought about the consequences of limiting paper – especially when my school was building a brand new soccer field with new turf! What’s more important? Printer paper for our academic success, or a soccer field? It’s quite hard not to notice that there are a lot of students that love their sports. In some ways, it’s their way of blowing off steam, or getting better at participating. However, it’s hard to argue that schools are catering academics more than sports. In a recent article by the New York Times, titled ‘Schools Should Be About Learning, Not Sports’ by Amanda Ripley, shows this correlation. “Kids notice when they have a sub in math class because the football coach (I mean teacher) has an away game. It is not lost on them that their local newspapers devote an entire section to high school sports and say nothing about the trials and travails of the AP English class.

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This hypocrisy eats away at the focus and integrity of our schools.” This topic of schools favoring sports more than academics can be very tricky to argue. Not only in the sense that there are very intelligent students playing sports, but the simple fact that it can benefit our health. That said, I’ve never seen an awards shelf dedicated to Academic Decathlon in my school, but, I have seen more than enough of sports awards. This devilish detail nags my brain every day I go into school. It’s almost an insult to my academic success.

Not only are there little to no recognition to children trying to do well in school, but districts would rather spend money on a field costing over a million dollars, than some printer paper for my school projects. Let’s be real. Is that even ethical to argue?