September 23, 2009

Sports, Libraries & Taxes

Shannon had a post about this Sports Illustrated article concerning the cutting of high school sports. He argues that sports are more important to schools and communities than school libraries. I can't see how that statement can be argued with since there have been a rash of media program cuts the past few years, but one high school cuts sports (and band and all other extra-curricular activities, by the way) and it's a big story in a national magazine. Half my local paper is high school sports related. I've never seen that kind of coverage for school media programs and I don't ever expect to.

That's not what I find controversial in the article. The main thing I take away from the story is that maybe we'll finally get some attention to the problem of the way we fund education in this country. Is there any other federally mandated public service that has to rely on property taxes of all things to cover expenses? It's nuts and we need to take a good long look at it.

Maybe if more schools are forced to cut back on sports and other activities, the public outcry will force a debate on this. It's not like using more general taxes will automatically level the playing field (so to speak) of all the schools. There will still be students in more affluent area with a rich and powerful parent organization that will make some schools "more equal than others," as the saying goes. But it would be a start.