To be honest, even though I played high school football and baseball, I saw it as a giant waste of resources when I became a teacher myself. The fact that voucher schools will often not be able to field a team does not really bother me. When I was nine years old and my dad wanted me to play baseball, he found a league for me. That's the system a full voucher system will force us to form for all sports, and it's probably the right way to do things.


Honestly, when did education become so much about high school athletics, anyhow. In some towns, it starts in middle school or before. The stat I liked to use with my students is this: about 1% of varsity football players make it to a D1 college. About 1% of D1 college players make it to the pros. Clearly, most of the kids are out there to have fun, and most of them have only a small chance of even getting a scholarship for their efforts, so why are SCHOOLS and communities focusing so much attention on high school sports while academic programs suffer? If schools can't afford to have tech ed, gym, art, music, creative writing, home ec, and other ACADEMIC classes that help to make students whole people, then those schools certainly should not be funding sports. The towns themselves will probably refuse to make the decision to cut sports, however, so tiny, underfunded schools will continue to field teams and put together referendums to build new facilities or hire coaches.


I guess if a community votes to keep playing sports amid loss of actual classroom programs, they should be allowed to do so. The graduates will be ill-prepared for college or careers, but they will have memories of going up state. Don't get me wrong, I love the high school sports memories I have, and I see the guys I participated with as friends to this day, but was high school football really more important than the French, CAD, and woodshop classes I took? No.

Therefore, I say sports for the few IS a positive result of the new voucher school system. Parents who want sports will put their vouchers into schools that focus on sports. I had an idea about a dozen years ago to start a sports-only voucher school, and we'll probably see it soon. Vouchers also give the rest of the parents, those not looking to raise meat heads. the option to choose a wider liberal arts education over a sports curriculum. Sure, I'd RATHER have a fully-funded school that offers sports and electives, but if it's not possible, I'm fine with signing my kids up for sports on my own.

If you want to see how we can help each other as educators as funding declines, visit Educabana.

Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • QR Code Interview Gimmick
    My kids' school created a pamphlet with a QR code that linked to the website, so I figured it could be useful to do the same thing when I bring in my resume to a job interview. Especially since I made a cool online resume that really looks a lot better than the printed kind. Plus, printing all that I've done over the last two decades would be a huge waste of paper (unless it gets me the job).

    I wonder how many people in the average interview will know how  to use the QR code. I didn't have the capability on my phone until last year, and it is kind of a gimmick, especially since you can usually just email links and whatnot. Then again, it's something different, and it might make me stand out a bit, so I'll print off the code along with some other important documents.

    I am sure plenty of people have used a QR code as part of their interviews, but I do think my online resume is pretty darn good, so it's more than a link to my Linkedin page. I suppose a link to a video of me would be even cooler, but that would mean making a video, and it's not like I'm trying to get a job as a videographer. Anyhow, feel free to use this idea as part of your next interview. Just like everyone started using student-written letters of recommendation after I introduced the idea back in 2002.

  • Who's Got My Back in Jacksonville?
    I've seen several political ads recently that focus on people who have the back of the police officers. I suppose that's a thing, but I am not a police officer (or a native of Jacksonville), so I'm kind of wondering who has my back as I settle in here.

    I assume JSO and JFRD have my back because it's their job. And all the military around here have my back in case Canada attacks. But I'm thinking about the everyday having my back kind of thing.

    In Milwaukee, I could count on some people, at least a little bit. Classmates from Milwaukee's John Marshall High School (91, 92, 93, and 94). Or Wilbur Wright Middle School (88, 89, 90). Or French Immersion school or 82nd Street School. Most of the people who might have my back in MKE are now cordial Facebook friends. Sure, our high school football team liked to say we went to war together and we were brothers for life an all that, but we're kind of distant cousins at this point, two decades since I've seen most of those old friends in person. That said, any meatheaded rivalries are now gone at least.

    I donated my time as a teacher at Menomonee Falls High School for 12 years, so there might be a few fellow teachers or former students who have my back. Then again, I didn't get a whole lot of love from many of the MFHS Indians back when I got laid off, so whatevs.

    People at church will have your back, generally, but it takes some time to build relationships. Same goes for fellow parents at your kids' school or new co-workers. Or new neighbors.

    I felt like my fellow baseball teammates in Wisconsin had my back when I played there, but that was also mostly the guys with whom I played for many years. Maybe it just takes a lot of time for people to really have your back, and you have to stay relatively injury-free.

    Family is forever, but I don't have any in jax. I bet that's fairly typical in this area with such a fast population growth in the area. Lots of new people without family, so probably a lot of us trying to figure out who has our backs, besides politicians, of course. Obviously, I have my immediate family, but that's a little different than the idea of someone having my back. Still, it's more than some folks might have.

    My wife's been fortunate enough to find a Meetup group with people who probably have her back. I have not found a good group to join myself, but that's one way to make new friends. Maybe not super close friends, though. I'm not sure. Meetups are hit-or-miss. Just like friendships. 

    I guess I'm glad I'm not in a gang or anything, even though gang members have each others' backs. But the cops and politicians don't have their backs, which is good. I suppose we can all relate to the appeal, especially if you grew up thinking no one had your back.

    I hope all people in Jacksonville find the connections that make them feel safe without having to join a gang, call the police, or vote for someone. That's my goal, anyway.