Academics, not athletics, must be prioritized

Academics, not athletics, must be prioritized

By Jimm Roberts, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

Uh oh. Having read new Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Alvin Crawley’s first opinion piece (“ACPS supports students and student-athletes equally,” July 3), I fear we’re in for another round of “more money” solutions for our underperforming school district. His sentiments were adroitly conveyed in remarks that made clear he places athletic prowess on the same plateau as academic achievement.

I took his remarks to be a preparatory announcement for ACPS spending what should be hard-to-come-by money to place athletic lights on T.C. Williams’ football field. A soon-to-be-released feasibility study will no doubt provide justification, especially as it was commissioned by the school board that hired him.

Surely everyone remotely exposed to our public schools knows that neither lights nor money offer solutions. If money was the answer, then an unbelievably expensive new high school, wherein all who attend receive a free education, free transportation to school and — undoubtedly for some — free meals, would make them tremendous achievers who surpass expectations and ace every test.

Certainly athletics, like lots of other extracurricular activities, are a wonderful benefit to our students. However, I disagree that academics and athletics should be supported equally. Athletics must always be secondary. It’s extracurricular, after all.

Moreover, taxpayers are not paying for a football championship. We are paying to prepare students for a challenging future in a world where running, throwing and catching a pigskin will not help. Overpaid professional athletes’ frequent mismanagement of their excessive compensation underscores that they should have been better students.

My point: Forget lighting T.C.’s football field, Superintendent Crawley. Illuminate us instead with your creative solutions for the chronic problems besetting our public school district.