How do we recover a lost generation?
Michael Marinaccio

This is no surprise. I fault a culture that finds sports more important than intellect. The pressure to spend dozens of hours a week prepping for the “game” at the expense of academic success or skill building leaves all with few choices. We are the only culture I am aware of that does not value intelligence. For gosh sakes, our president was elected because his ignorance was appealing to 30% of the population.

When a parent chooses to start a child in a sports program at five or six and tells them this is the way to a scholarship, that immediately tells the student 1) the parents sees little or no worth in the child’s brain — you are already out of running for an academic scholarship, and 2) this is more important than everything else you could be doing at this age…playing, learning a language, reading books, etc.

Our schools rural, urban, and suburban need to wake up and focus on what the rest of the world does — transitioning young people from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, college to adulthood. The world demands expertise and intelligence. When a culture as a whole opts out of preparing students for a global economy, everyone pays.

Even parents who work hard to engage kids and provide them with opportunity can’t fight the social hierarchy within a school…prom king and queen, Friday night lights, the in and out groups…completely American. Elsewhere? Science and Math Olympiads, VEX Robotics (last week China, Singapore, and others cleaned the clocks of our best and brightest), Destination Imagination, abacus mental math, and every other academic competition. They could CARE LESS about the school soccer tournament. It is about the acquisition of knowledge and transition to adulthood. Sad state of affairs. Pushing academics or sports at all costs is damaging, but prepping and guiding students for the world they will enter is a good thing and can be done with balance.

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