Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

February 06, 2005

Motivate students in academics, not extracurriculars

The Howard County Board of Education last night (Jan. 27) removed the requirement that incoming 9th-graders meet academic eligibility requirements to participate in extracurricular activities, despite support of the majority of eighth-grade parents and middle school principals for the requirement.

Until last night, incoming freshmen were required to have a 2.0 ("C") average and no failing grade in the final eighth-grade marking period.

Member Patricia Gorden gushed about the change, saying, "It is absolutely necessary to get our students into extracurricular activities as soon as possible. We need to give our students an opportunity to blossom and shine in whatever area they're capable in."

Shouldn't the Board of Education take whatever action is prudent in motivating students to "blossom and shine" in academics, rather than extracurricular activities?

Isn't academics, not sports or clubs, the main mission of schools? And who benefits from the change? Students who otherwise had to forfeit the time and energy extracurricular activities take from their studies, and whose grades demonstrate that they are in need of additional efforts in academics, not extracurricular activities.

The Board of Education should focus on the major purpose of education, and take steps to improve students' performance in the classroom over that on the athletic fields.

Douglas Dribben


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