The Irascible ProfessorSM
Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro

The word 'genius' isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein......  ...Joe Theisman.

Commentary of the Day - May 11, 2000: Who Should Get the Scholarship? - Guest commentary by James M. Pierce.

The Irascible Professor received the following comments in response to our article on the need to reform college athletics.  Mr. Pierce's experience illustrates the problems that athletic scholarships cause.

Why are we, the strongest and most advanced nation in the world, having to look overseas for bright and well educated people to fill vacancies in high tech jobs?  Is it that we are not spending enough money on education or is it that we are not correctly using the money that we do spend?

I am a middle-aged, middle income father of two wonderful and bright boys.  My oldest son graduated from a good high school with a GPA of 3.95.  He was third in his class of almost 90 graduates.  The top five students in the class were separated by less than 0.1 of a percentage point; all are very bright young adults.  The top two got scholarships to state universities and the next three got practically nothing even though they all
graduated from high school with about the same GPA.  My son got a $500 scholarship to a local junior college.  What really turns my stomach is that a young man with a GPA of 2.0 and placing about number 50 in the same class got a 100% scholarship to a state university with everything paid, just because he was a fair football player.  Does anyone other than me see what is wrong with our educational system?  All the number 3, 4, 5 and so forth kids in this class (the best and brightest) will get no support for their education and will have to settle for second-rate colleges.

My wife and I both work and make too much money for a grant and we don't make enough money to send our son to a top-ranked university, while a football player will have the opportunity to get a very good education (which he will more than likely not take advantage of) and most of the bright students in my son's class will have to settle for second best.  And people still ask what is wrong with our educational system?  It is not the education or the lack of facilities, but it is the way that we fail our smartest and brightest that make us lag behind the rest of the world in education.  We offer education to those who can run the fastest and jump the highest while leaving our "brightest" to fend for themselves.  I am ashamed of what we are doing to our young people in this country and then blaming the declining level of literacy on them.  Just shameful!
James M. Pierce lives in Texas, a state known for its devotion to high school football.  We thank him for his provocative comments.

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© 2000 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.