I’ve studied at every level of American education — elementary through graduate school and law school — and have taught without distinction at most levels as well — middle school, high school, community college, and university. None of this qualifies me to sound off about how the system should work because I’m clueless; however, my interest in the topic of education leads me to echo some points from an opinion piece in The Times stemming from the admissions bribery indictments that have surfaced. Points made in the article lend support to my sense that the outsize focus on sports that’s prevalent in our schools can siphon student energies, as well as key resources, away from the academic pursuits that might ought to be the bedrock of what schools are about.
[According to research into the college admissions process]: An athlete was about 30 percentage points more likely to be admitted than a nonathlete with the same academic record… Competitive sports occupy a ridiculously large place in the admissions process… “Athletic recruiting is the biggest form of affirmative action in American higher education…,” Philip Smith, a former dean of admissions at Williams College, has said. “Recruited athletes not only enter selective colleges with weaker academic records than their classmates as a whole but…, once in college, they ‘consistently underperform academically…,’” Edward Fiske wrote in a 2001 book review for The Times.
(David Leonhardt, “End Special Treatment for Sports,” NYTimes, 3-13-19)
(c) 2019 JMN.