Apparently being one of the few with little or no interest in sports, I’ve often wondered what drives a die-hard fan to display such loyalty to a particular team or sport.
Lately, listening to people on both sides of our partisan politics, I have started to notice a fairly parallel type of thinking. This led to reflect on the role of our schools in this parallel reflection.
In the historical studies I have done, I have found that there is a three-pronged rationale for requiring our young people to go to school. The one that was in the foreground, of course, was educating them on the knowledge they would need to survive. Second, it was about teaching them to be good citizens, that is, to indoctrinate them into the dominant way of thinking. The third and least known reason was to take children out of the workforce by leaving their previous jobs open to adult workers. Previously, much of the work on farms and factories was done by what is now classified as school-aged children who were paid less than adult workers, if at all.
Although I don’t remember, if I ever knew, whether this piece of political dictation of rights was put in place by partisan or non-partisan agreement from that point on, our children were forced to go to school for at least part of their life. Something that is considered a privilege in some other countries.
Just when sports programs have become as important, or in some cases more important, than the academic part of school, I don’t know, but look at almost any school and it seems like this is what you will find. Apparently, for the average person, what sets a school aside is not its academic record but the performance of its athletic teams.