Wake County’s Board of Education is considering the option of doing away with the opportunity for students at some of its specialty high schools to participate in sports.
We think that’s a bad idea.
While we certainly understand the logistical challenges that school officials face in getting students from one school to another for practices, we believe the missed opportunity for students would be worse than having to figure out transportation and competition issues.
Students learn in a variety of ways. For some, the structure of lectures and notetaking is the perfect way for students to gain knowledge. For others, a hands-on experience works best. And there are other learning opportunities that come with being part of a group that has a singular mission, like a club or a team.
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The value of that part of a student’s education is critical to ensuring that a child receives a well-rounded education and not one that is simply tailored to end-of-course tests and other academic measures,
By signing up for participation in one of Wake County’s specialty high schools, these students and their families are taking the initiative to gain a more complete education than they might get at one of Wake County’s regular high schools. The advantages they gain from that participation falls off significantly when they are prevented from taking part in other school pursuits.
If school officials are concerned that the current arrangement of having them play sports at the nearest school to their specialty high school might be cutting other students out of opportunities to play, we would simply suggest that students be allowed to participate in sports at their base school. That eliminates problems like an overabundance of student-athletes trying out for one sport at a particular school.
Education is about book-learning, to be sure. But the education we really want to give our young people should be much broader and more all-encompassing. Taking away opportunities for that to happen would be a step backward.