sports and school culture

Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...
Made from an fMRI scan I had done. Goes from the top of my brain straight through to the bottom. That little dot that appears for a second on the upper-left hand side is a vitamin E pill they taped to the side of my head to make sure they didn't accidentally swap the L-R orientation.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Fastfission)
In a mass system where students and families have no rights, abuse of power is common. Schools use grades and tests to weed out kids from participating in extracurricular activities when the kids most in need may the ones who do not qualify. It is wonderful that more kids can access sports but it is not nearly enough. Any child that wants to play a sport or an instrument should have that chance. The entire school culture built around a few authorized sports that are tightly regulated, overly competitive, and expensive supports an outdated school social structure that segments and highlights certain groups at the expense of others (homecoming, pep rallies).

Mass peer-oriented socialization is a growing issue with mass schooling, not only in the US but globally. Widening the school culture from football and its attendant rites to a more diverse and inclusive focus on supporting all kids would help improve the narrow and intense social life within schools. Moving toward a better model of learning that allows more choice and control by families would allow families to control and shape a positive social experience to support their child. Many of the effects of mass socialization will only increase as we endure the unnecessary decline of a middle and working class lifestyle and the community structure it created.
We Must Provide Equal Opportunity in Sports to Students with Disabilities | Blog: "Today, ED’s Office for Civil Rights has released guidance that clarifies existing legal obligations of schools to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate alongside their peers in after-school athletics and clubs. We make clear that schools may not exclude students who have an intellectual, developmental, physical, or any other disability from trying out and playing on a team, if they are otherwise qualified. This guidance builds on a resource document the Department issued in 2011 that provides important information on improving opportunities for children and youth with disabilities to access PE and athletics."
Under the Age of Consent
Head Injuries Rattle Even Devout Football Parents : NPR:
"Dr. Robert Cantu is a neurosurgeon and co-author, with Mark Hyman, of the new book Concussions and Our Kids. Cantu says children are among the most vulnerable to concussion because of weak necks, immature musculature and brains that are still developing. He advises that kids not play tackle football until age 14, and play flag or touch football until then."

As Suicides, Brain Injuries Mount, Safety of Football Questioned, from NFL to Youth Leagues: "CHRIS NOWINSKI: Yeah, that was—and Rodney hit it on the head. It was always a question of education. I did not know the definition of a concussion, even after having a Harvard degree and 19 years of bashing my head, because we’ve never forced anyone to ever tell an athlete what it means when you get hit in the head and things go fuzzy. And so, the idea—the problem was always informed consent at the beginning. And that’s why Ted Johnson, who was one of the first players to come forward, the former New England Patriot, stepped forward. He said, you know, "At least let me make this decision for myself." And so, in 2010, the NFL finally did start educating the players. And so, now it’s a different ball game at the pro level, but what really needs to have a light shined on is the fact that there is no such thing as informed consent for children. And 95 percent of the people playing football in this country are under the age of consent, they’re under 18. And that’s where we really should be focusing."

CDC - Concussion - Traumatic Brain Injury - Injury Center:
"CDC has created two free online courses – one for health care professionals and another for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, athletes – that provide important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion."

Barack Obama is Not Pleased | New Republic: "I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much."
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