Discussion about school athletics, calendars on Thursday

To the Editor:

After taking a break for the busy holiday season, the Twin Topics series of conversations resumes on Thursday Jan. 16 at Mesa Elementary School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. These conversations are open to everyone interested in our schools, and offer an opportunity for informal discussion of current matters of importance. The two topics – selected by the people who attended the last session – will be “The Future of Inter-Scholastic Sports” and “Thinking About School Calendars.”

“The Future of Inter-Scholastic Sports.” Really? It’s in doubt? For many, not having school sports would be unthinkable. They are a traditional and essential part of the school experience that serves to bind the school and community together. But for others, sports are the tail that wags the dog; a serious and expensive distraction from the central purpose of school.

We hear from students and parents alike that sports teach valuable life skills. Others respond that, if indeed that is the case, why don’t we offer sports programs that involve more of the kids.

Whatever your particular view of school sports, the voters of the State chose last November to not increase their taxes, and to not, in effect, reverse the funding reductions experienced by public schools over the last several years. The implication is that voters of the State prefer a “no-frills,” “back-to-basics” public school system.

So, the simple fact is that there is not money to do everything that we might like to do for our young people. Having sports means not offering other valuable things. What should we keep and what can we do without? Come join in this important conversation, share your views, and hear those of your neighbors.

Bob Waggoner

Cortez