Hit Again

April 1, 2013

/* /*]]>*/

Education reform needs a Mulligan.  A do-over.  The opportunity to go back to “Go” and start over.  For example . . .

  • Back to a time before the attack on neighborhood schools closed those schools and contributed to neighborhood collapse and community disconnect.
  • Before suburban schools were allowed to prey on and profit from an urban school’s misfortunes.

  • Before large buses lumbered down narrow residential lanes to transport our littlest learners from the shadow of their local school to another across town, where all the other littlest students were gathered for more “cost-effective” education.

  • Before schools shuffled off low-achieving students to alternative schools in order to elevate their ranking on standardized test scores.

  • Before teachers based their lessons more on test preparation than learning.

  • Before education re-segregated through specialized charter schools with non-inclusive curricula.

  • Before public schools were barred from beginning their instructional days before Labor Day, or whenever their community thought it best for the education of its students.

  • Back to a time when pedagogy more than politics planned and delivered education.

 Let’s tee it up and hit again.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com 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.