How do we decide to persevere or to change?
Schools fulfill many vital roles in a child’s life. The younger the child, the more the child needs hands-on work with a teacher or a pod of other children. Even children who can read on their own need have specific needs—to socialize in school and learn with each other.
What about school-as-childcare? I don’t think we can ignore that. When my children were young, I sent them to afterschool “daycare” even though I was home much of the time. Parents cannot work (remote or in-person) if they’re worried about their children’s safety.
We need to protect our children’s learning and health and safety.
I don’t envy any parent right now.
What about sports? While I recognize the role sports plays in many people’s lives, I rank sports as lower than academics. That’s me and I might not know what role sports teams (especially football) plays in the future of a person’s life.
However, I will always focus on academics first. (That’s me.) If sports can prevent academics from proceeding, I would eliminate sports.
My preferences: persevere on school (at all levels). Change sports and possibly eliminate them for now.
And, I have no skin in this game. I have no children in school, and they’re not playing organized sports.
I would like to see more nuanced conversations about these problems. As always, I ask questions.
Consider These Questions to See Nuances
These questions are not just about school and sports. We need to go meta and ask context-free questions:
- What does success look like?
- Why are these results desirable?
- What is the solution worth to you?
- What problems does this system solve?
- What problems could this system create?
I suspect that many people would say success looks like:
- Parents can return to work and not worry about their children.
- Parents can then make money.
- University athletic programs can help their participants gain more experience and possibly gain the notice of a scout for a professional team.
- University towns can gain some of the income they expect with the football season.
Notice that the success questions are a balance of health and money. That’s why—in my opinion—we need to create more options, where we’re not trading off one of these options against the other.
I might be right in my ranking. I might be wrong. And, until we find an “and” option, where we create the academics + sports + health for everyone, we have not thought enough about this problem. I am sure we need to apply the Rule of Three to create more options. We need to prevent fear from limiting our options.
When do we persevere with school openings? With sports? Can we separate the impact of one on the other? How do each of those affect a parent’s ability to work, to pay for college, and more?
These questions challenge each of us and our society. The questions are worth discussing in depth, not in offhand comments. Especially not using “of course” language. I am sure I have barely scratched the surface of the issues under each question.
That’s the question this week: When do we decide to persevere or change?