Back in the Game

September 8, 2015

Finally, at long last, public schools can begin again to open their classrooms to educate students. Most of our state’s college and university classes began a week or more ago. Most of our state’s private secondary schools began classes a week or more ago. Schools in most other states began a week or more ago.

But Michigan public schools stumble to the starting line long after the race has started almost everywhere else.

Each week during the four weeks since I last wrote about this topic, students in Michigan’s public schools have fallen further and further behind other students across the U.S. and the planet.

When colleges complain that our students are not college ready, think about this. When other states win the new business we seek for Michigan, think about this.

A school year start that competes with the rest of the nation and a school year length that competes with the rest of the world – these are two changes Michigan needs to give us a fair chance.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.