Academics Should Have Higher Importance

When you ask a student how their school is doing, most are going to jump straight to athletics and tell you how their school’s teams are doing. The emphasis on schools in the United States is often in the athletic department and many students are known to put more time and energy into their sports than their education. Athletics are at the very base of school spirit, either bringing it up or tearing it down. The success of a high school football team is too often the determinant of how a school is seen and remembered by the students who attend it.
Many would say a school without athletics is not a school worth going to and does not have the same environment and spirit pulsing through the hallways. This is very true; however, academic accomplishments are often not given the recognition they deserve. If all activities that happened in schools were properly recognized and honored, we would see an immense rise in school spirit. All activities are equally important to the people who participate in them and there are clubs at Marshfield some students may not even know about. There is absolutely no problem with getting students involved in athletics. In fact, they build many of the essential skills they will need later in life. However, the same can be said about every program and club offered in schools or communities. It is not just athletics that teach students how to deal with competition and team work but any activity where the student feels he or she fits in.

The importance of core classes and other subjects required for graduation and lifetime success are often under-emphasized. It is important for students to be involved, but not at the cost of their education. A student’s grades should come first, followed by other activities. Also, if students are asked and expected to put school first, the school district budget should reflect this idea and prioritize by putting academic costs before athletic costs.

According to the Coos Bay School District Approved Budget, nearly $500,000 was put toward athletics alone for the 2013-14 school year, not including transportation or the cost of substitutes who fill in for coaches when they are gone for a contest. The budget also states that the district spent $98,000 for the Marshfield track sealing and restriping and is still paying off the loan for the football field upgrade and turf. Also set aside was $77,000 to pay this year’s loan payment, which is only on year three of seven. Although this money was not necessarily spent frivolously and did go toward improving the programs, there are academic areas that could use help as well. Cutting down athletic funds is not the only way the district could improve. Money simply needs to be budgeted for academics first and athletics second, since sports create such a great expense.

While teenagers are experiencing what is said to be some of the best years of their lives, it is important to keep a healthy balance between school and other sports and activities. As we are told this almost every day, the district should put their own ideas into action by balancing and prioritizing. In a similar way, schools should work toward giving all clubs, activities and sports equal recognition and make those who are not athletes feel just as included as others.