Playing fair

By

IN an attempt to promote academics in sports-obsessed communities, Texas adopted a new ``no pass, no play'' rule for public school students this fall: Any student earning a grade in any course below 70 may not participate in any extracurricular activity for six weeks -- sitting out not just football or wrestling but music, drama, debate. Generally Texans approve of the effort to focus student attention on academics -- especially as the state's energy-based advantages have slid and education has emerged as a competitive resource.

But there are problems with applying a universal rule to situations where individual circumstances may need consideration. A student can get a failing grade for reasons other than lack of effort. Family trouble can depress performance. A difficult subject like math, or a difficult teacher, can knock a student off balance. In a youth's passage to adulthood, bouts with underconfidence and overconfidence can surface in subpar performance. Sports or music or forensics may be the one place a troubled youth c an excel. And students may avoid hard subjects; teachers may avoid hard grading.

Attempts to legislate excellence cannot supplant the need for faculty, with the support of parents, to decide where and how sanctions should be applied.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...