Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Don’t lose sight of the children

By
From page A8 | March 27, 2014 |

Hurray for Davis parents.

They care about their schools. While some are involved only for their own children, most are not. Parents are responsible for starting, funding, and maintaining programs to expand opportunities for all students.

I do not know any of the parties involved in this volleyball fiasco. My children graduated long ago. I do have a unique prospective on the issues. For almost 20 years I employed high school students. Those young people were important to me and they shared a lot of their joys and disappointments. I have also been a teacher and a coach. The politics involved in picking students for special recognition has not changed.

Today, the number of students assures that there are many more losers than winners. In the drive to be the “best” we have lost sight of the purpose of these programs,, which should be, to provide every student, who is willing to work hard, the opportunity to be part of a team. Now, just to try out for one of these elite groups requires a time and financial commitment that is out of the reach of many parents.

I agree that teaching in Davis has its own special problems. It can be very difficult dealing with overly involved parents. If bragging rights weren’t so important maybe we could get back to what schools should be about: creating opportunities for all students. Perhaps the time has come to re-evaluate why children are being excluded from programs we all pay for.

It has been suggested that children need to learn how to lose. Children do need to learn about failure, they also need to learn about honesty and integrity. Young people who have the courage to try, deserve to win or lose on their own merits. No one has more power over a child than the person who gets to decide whether or not they can do the thing they love.

No excuse can justify the abuse of that power.

Susan Brady
Davis

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 4 comments

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  • MLMarch 27, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Most high schools, like Davis High, offer numerous opportunities for children to contribute, learn, grow, and compete. This can be in band, chorus, drama, community service, and athletics. It just so happens that a few sports are highly competitive, which makes trying out for those programs more of a risk. If I have a tin ear, should I still land a coveted role? For the record, I have heard no one suggest "that children need to learn how to lose". I played 3 sports in grade school but was better in one, and my physical development also matched the needs of that particular sport. If I went out for one of the other 2 sports and failed, should I blame the system or sport? I made a strategic decision, I worked hard, and I made the team. Also, who said any sport is "elite"? It is a matter of perspective. I have dear friends who had as much, or deeper, value from participating in their high school music and art programs.

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  • March 27, 2014 - 9:57 am

    Perhaps there is a good life lesson here. If someone is so obnoxious, abusive, intrusive and accusatory that it becomes impossible for the target of the abusive conduct to do their job, you may get more than you bargained for. We will never know what happened because we do not have access to all the facts but if as you imply Julie Crawford cut the kid because Nancy Peterson was out of control who is to blame, the mother or the coach?

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  • March 27, 2014 - 2:07 pm

    Given the implication, I wonder if this parents is friends with any other parent of note?

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  • Davis ParentMarch 27, 2014 - 10:10 am

    Susan's letter is very good. Some of our high school programs, certainly including music but also some athletics, successfully manage to be both inclusive *and* competitive, by giving all interested parties access to the same coaches/teachers, facilities and branding (t-shirts, worn by all participants with pride). The Madrigals, the Jazz Band, the Symphony, the top track runners, the best skiers compete at the highest state-wide and even national levels; other musicians and runners and skiers enjoy instruction from the same excellent teachers, feel part of the same enterprise, wear the same t-shirts with pride, and have a fighting chance to improve and enter the elite ranks. Some of our athletic programs are not like this. They just cut kids at tryouts and forget about them. Kids who are cut from programs like this have no chance to learn, to improve, to succeed in tryouts the next year. Whether it's by choice or necessity I don't know. I'm sure it's complicated. Maybe all we can outsiders can do is praise the programs that get it right. Kudos to them.

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