In Miami, Superintendant Rudy Crew is proposing to close a couple of poor performing schools, including one school that has received four consecutive F's. The closure is meeting with some resistance among the school board and teh community, but one of the dumbest reasons to keep the school open is reported on in this story.
It seems that some people are concerned that the closure of the school would affect the school's athletic legacy. Of course, academic legacy is not an issue for football coach Corey Bell, who said, "It will be a big blow to the student-athletes that have worked so hard to establish themselves. Some of them are among the elite in the state of Florida and nationwide." Apparently, his student athletes, assuming they are a cross section of the school's population (a dangerous assumption but one that must be made), are not making the grade and the school is failing them.
Furthermore, an Edison closure could affect athletes' chances of securing college scholarships, both for the Edison players and players pushed aside by the potential transfers.
''Not only is it unfair to my kids, but what about the kids from those rival schools?'' Bell said. ``Those kids have worked hard in their program. Now all of a sudden, you're taking my kid and take him over there. Now they're in a whole new role. It's unfair to both parties. . . . It could cause a lot of chaos.''
The problem with Bell's contention is that his athletes are so superior that colleges will overlook their poor academic preparation--which is of course what will happen. Of course, I find it difficult to believe that a player of any sport at a different school being considered for an athletic scholarship would suddenly not be in the running simply because another player came into the picture. Perhaps Coach Bell should spend his time worrying more about the education his student-athletes are receiving. He is quite clearly a role model for his players and the community, he should be screaming at the top of his lungs to change the way education is being delivered. But, I suspect, Mr. Bell has aspirations beyond Miami Edison and closing his program which has been successful might provide a convenient excuse to look elsewhere.
I know that a school's athletic prowess is a strong source of pride for the school, its students, the administration and the community. But it seems to me that Mr. Bell and those who are opposing the closure have forgotten the purpose of the high school--to educate the kids that attend the school. If the school board even considers the effect on athletics, both at Edison and other schools in teh area, then the Board should be replaced immediately with a panel who places the focus squarely on education. Sports are an "extra-curricular" activity and should not be considered in any respect. The fact that this article is a follow-up appeared the day after the initial report that a closing was possible shows the priorities of hte community. If the priority is on what will happen in sports, it is clear that Superintendant Crew has a mighty obstacle before him to provide a quality education for the students on his watch.
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