Save Minds. Save Money. Eliminate Football From Our Schools: Position Paper for Trustees Candidacy

This is another attempt to set reality straight, to show that the current reality has flaws that deserve attention but will not receive attention because very few believe them to exist.  The reason for trying to fix reality, to examine accepted reality and reality itself is to set stage for arguments that may seem absurd but which really are not, are understood to be absurd because a warped sense of reality is the reality that is not only accepted but trusted.

Here is a suggestion for school districts in financial trouble such as our local district, the Washoe County School District that is facing a deficit of around $40,000,000 and somehow, its administrators and Board of Trustees, came to believe that a viable way to deal with financial crisis was to cut the number of teachers by raising the size of classes.

In a reasonable world, in a reality shaped by good reasoning, the district –no school district–would never have even considered reduction in teacher force and increases in class size as remedy because those in decision making positions would have been sensible enough to understand that class size, in far too many instances, is already too large and, as I have said in other posts, the sensible class size is a key factor in instructional programs of worth.

That said, I ask the Board and district administrators to consider this proposition, that football programs be eliminated and the land that is now used for football become land used for new buildings to accommodate projected increases in school enrollment.

As I say this, I realize that a good many who “care” about education and the welfare of students who attend our schools will say that this is not only the wrong thing to do but that it is absurd to make such a suggestion at all.  They will cite tradition and the central role that the games and the pageantry play in the schools, their contribution to the growth of young men and to school spirit and other such things important to making the school experience a worthwhile one.

Those who have paid attention to the good amount of research that has been done on the effects of football on the brains of those who play the game should understand that it is beyond ridiculous that institutions trusted with the welfare of young people should sponsor such an activity.  All one has to do to get a sense of the crisis that is football is watch the Frontline documentary (PBS) League of Denial (LOD) and check the program’s website on occasion for updates on the latest findings that recommend that the sensible response is the end of football as a sport, most particularly as a sport played by youth.

I think it most fair to say that those who, after watching LOD, continue to support football in the schools because it somehow benefits school and students are being in denial.  I wholeheartedly welcome anyone to help me understand why the game should continue to be played on those tracts of land that are sites for this terrible spectacle.

 The average acreage covered by a football field is 1.32 and with spectator stands and all else that comprises a proper stadium, considerably more, enough to accommodate facilities for healthy forms of instruction.

Washoe County School District is now planning to build several new schools and, I assume, all high school sites will appropriate at least 1.32 acres of land to football.  Eliminating the football field from the school plan will allow the District to spend less money on land for new schools.  As I have suggested, land now used at extant schools for football could be repurposed, this reducing the number of new schools needed while saving the minds of students who would have become football players.

In actuality, land dedicated to football at each school averages around three acres or more.  At the present time, there are 11 high schools in the district that have football programs and the fields to accommodate the game.  An end to the most dangerous game would free put 33 acres of real estate.  The monetary costs of football are, of course, not confined to acreage and, I have to think that they will rise precipitously as more becomes known about the health effects of football on players and the long lasting consequences of a game involving repeated bumps to the head.

Now, I ask again to hear from those who find my suggestions here to be anything less than sensible and those who do find them sensible to help me, as a candidate for Board of Trustees, to bring others to their senses, to help them understand that football really does not make sense because it does, in too many cases, destroy minds.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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