Last week I spoke about the absurdity of pro sports executives being rewarded for failure. Hey, wait a minute. I have a brilliant idea, let’s all go to work one-third of the time. Bumble and stumble our way through. Treat our subordinates and our fan base with disrespect and disdain. Expect them to support our product and if they don’t we will get paid anyway.
I am convinced that there is and has been a concerted effort to mislead, falsely educate, under-relate and procrastinate in regards to educating students and student-athletes from the inner city. Pittsburgh Public Schools are closing at an alarming rate with no rhyme or reason.
In an April 2010 article written by Courier staff writer Rebecca Nuttall regarding the eventual school closings, Ms. Nuttall reported that “Reaction from parents in the Hill District, and other areas has been quiet as there are no well-known parent groups currently active. However, Rev. Johnnie Monroe, council co-chair, said parents involved in the council and others he has heard from are in support of the council’s plan.” “We’re creating a blueprint to say, the schools that are still in the Hill District, here’s what we want them to offer,” Monroe said. “No parent wants their school to close. That was the consensus at the meeting we held at Milliones, but there weren’t many parents there.”
Well folks, I always thought the blueprint was created before you begin to build the house. Isn’t that how it works? You’re creating a blueprint while schools and programs, especially sports programs, are being shut down at an alarming rate.
There is another dark side to this story. Neighborhoods have been separated by invisible boundaries for decades. What do you suppose is going to happen when the kids from Peabody are bused to Westinghouse? There is a chance that anarchy as opposed to academia will follow. Then what are they going to do? Create more schools for troubled youths? Give me a freakin’ break, will ya? Should there be an academy created for incompetent school board members and the administrators?
When sports programs and arts and humanities programs are scaled back to bare bones status and in some cases discontinued altogether, opportunities are sometimes final chances for a significant percentage of inner city youths. “Good afternoon, welcome to McDonalds. Do you want fries to go with that shake?
Annually I get on my soapbox to point out how atrocious the athletic program, as well as the education process in the Pittsburgh Public Schools really is. If they can earmark and create a facility for the creative and performing arts, (CAPA) then why can’t a school for the athletically gifted be created as well? A school where athletes can take basic courses such as math and science but forego some other electives and concentrate on watching film and developing better technique as players. This could even be an after-hours activity where athletes and coaches get together to share information. It could not hurt because it is not like a zillion inner city athletes are receiving scholarships.
There must also be an improved publicity machine put in place so that no inner-city athlete falls through the cracks in regards to the continuation of his or her education. PPS Athletic Director Mike Gavlik and his staff should no longer have too many free weeknights or weekends. To save our children everyone needs to not to only roll up their sleeves but to take off their shirts and get to work. No more handouts, especially at the expense of our youth. When a kid needs to send a DVD and a transcript to an interested school or coach, that information should be forwarded within 48 hours. No more excuses, just results.
It has been proven that when pre-adolescents and young adults are involved in extracurricular activities like music and sports, there is a positive side achieved that cannot be measured by the final score or by who can hit the highest note. There are regions of our minds that are accessed very rarely because of a certain stimulation that is required to navigate toward and reach the far corners of our psyche.
There are other elements that contribute to the general development of student-athletes that often result in positive byproducts that are received by the communities in which these young people reside as well creating positive family dynamics.
Many student-athletes would probably never reach any college or university if not for the G.P.A requirements demanded in order for that individual to be allowed to compete. Teamwork and synergy are additional attributes that cannot be measured in dollars and “sense.” Closing schools are not just saving money, closing schools are closing hearts.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 412.583.6741.)