Michigan school board cancels football season: "No child left behind" again fails our parents and students
A school district in Michigan has ended the Oscoda Area High School football team’s season after an 0-4 start, citing the fact that the players are actually in danger when competing against stronger teams. Oscoda has failed to score a point, let alone win a game, so the board decided to take matters into their own hands.
From just about every angle this story illustrates some of the problems with our public school system. First of all, the parents and players pleaded with the board to reverse their decision. If the students want to continue competing and their parents are giving them permission to do so, the board has no grounds on which to cancel the season. The message that they are sending to these students is that there is no reason for them to compete because they are simply going to lose. To tell these athletes that they can’t win on the field because they aren’t as strong as the competition is the exact same as telling a student with a learning disability that he does not have the right to sit in a mainstream classroom because he can’t pass the tests on his own.
Secondly, the coach of the team defended the decision by saying, “I have 28 years of coaching experience in high school and college, and I know the difference between a team playing bad and a team that’s unsafe.” The fact is that the only reason a high school football team would be “unsafe” is if the players aren’t coached well enough to know how to protect themselves (as much as possible) against head and neck injuries. Any group of high school kids, regardless of their size, can compete SAFELY against any other high school team in the world with proper coaching. Obviously football is a dangerous sport, so there is a very fine line that separates a team that can compete “safely” and one that can’t. Apparently this school board believes it can define exactly where that line stands better than the players who are taking the hits themselves and better than the parents who are attending the games.
An even more disturbing outcome of this decision is that our over-protective society has given children yet another precedent for making excuses when they come up short. There is a growing epidemic of schools accepting mediocrity from children and then complaining about it when the test scores come back below the required numbers. Standardized testing has caused school boards and administrators to lose the ability to evaluate a situation and come up with an acceptable and logical solution. Every decision made by our legislators and school boards is pre-packaged, as though it comes in a box that reads “In case of emergency, use this"; sadly, we no longer have anyone who has the ability to make modifications or improvements on the fly. The worst part is that things are only going to get worse.
If you think this situation in Michigan is an isolated event, think again. As “No Child Left Behind” continues to put pressure on administrations and school boards we will see more and more sports programs dropped for various reasons. And the first to go will be the sports that don’t generate revenue, like golf. Football practice taking too much time away from studying? Oh well, drop the season. Golf equipment getting too expensive when money could be spent on useless motivational books? Screw golf, kids don’t need respect and patience, they need test scores. There is only one result that will come of the current direction of our public schools: more poor decisions by the leadership, more emphasis on “core” classes, less interest in developing students who are actually ready to take on life, and in the end, a complete failure of the schools. At this point, things will have to be blown up and taken back to the drawing board before we see any improvement.
Overall it boils down to this- the main job of a school board member, administrator, and teacher is to make decisions with the best interest of the students in mind, and the school board in Michigan failed to do this. Almost two years ago I had the opportunity to coach high school golf, and we competed in a region that was overflowing with scratch golfers; I had ten students, (five girls and five guys) none of whom had ever picked up a club in his or her life. We got pounded in every match, and not a single one of my players ever broke 50 for the nine holes. We certainly didn’t offer good competition to any of the better teams, and they probably would have gotten more out of practicing alone than they did out of playing against us. But we made it to every match, we finished every match, and every coach commented on how well our players handled themselves out on the course. The easiest thing to do would have been to cancel the season, or the program altogether for that matter, but keeping the team together was in the best interest of the students.
In the end, teachers and coaches, parents, and students (in that order) must have control of what goes on in the classroom and on our high school fields, or else kids all over America will be subject to blanket decisions handed down by vote-thirsty legislators and power-tripping board members. Congratulations Oscoda district, for you have officially lost touch with the human element of society and of education.
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"...this is not the first time Tobin has cancelled a varsity football season after four losses.
As reported in the Iosco County News-Herald on Oct. 9, 1991, Tobin did the same thing when he was Whittemore-Prescott’s athletic director and head football coach, telling a reporter that a number of factors led to the decision.
There are many similarities in what Tobin said then and what Beardsley and other Oscoda administrators say now. At times, the wording used is identical.
Tobin is quoted in 1991 as saying, “On Tuesday I was told by most of the players, not all of them, that they did not want to continue the season. It hurts, I don’t like it, and it’s embarrassing.” He also said that a low turnout for varsity football combined with injuries were key elements that led to the forfeiture of the five remaining games. He said that he had few experienced players, and only seven or eight were what he considered to be of varsity caliber.
In 1991, Tobin stressed that low numbers of players gave him no alternative but to terminate the season, yet people at Whittemore-Prescott High School who were there at the time refute this.
“To Kyle Tobin winning is everything,” one said bluntly. “If he can’t at least make a respectable showing, he isn’t going to play. You have to understand Tobin’s ego.” "
a smokescreen, so whitey will go quietly.
--That Tobin Guy.
This decision sounds to me like some lazy choice by a coaching staff, HS administration and school board to take an easy way out. The coach should be fired because he is not dedicated to buliding a program and the administration should be fired as well. As for the school board, the voters need to decide if they want these kind of people runnning their schools and developing their children. Let's just quit when the tough gets going. A great example for our youth!
This would have been unheard-of only a few years ago... and unfathomable for any OAHS coach and his team to give less than 100% effort even earlier (at one point, the strength of the Owls helped "push" three schools out of the Northern B Conference).
But a decade after he pulled the same trick on Whittemore-Prescott, Tobin gave everybody associated with Oscoda Area High School a black eye. Shame on the district for hiring him in the first place.
Don't even start to blame the schools sir! It is the parents in this world that have taken away every right the school has to control ANYTHING! Kids have become TOTALLY UNRULY and disrespectful! Parents do not like schools disciplining their kids so we have lost control of them! Kids have also become lazy and thinking they deserve everything without working for it! Schools hands are tied! As parents we can't even discipline our kids without some other NOSEY people thinking we are abusing our kids! Now you tell me WHO failed...PARENTS and NOT school districts! As an Oscoda native, WORK FOR IT KIDS OR DO NOT DESERVE IT! Hand outs should NOT be an option! And Oscoda has NEVER had an all-star football team! They didn't win 15+ years ago and they aren't winning now!
I will donate 1/2 my pay to the school/ football program for the first year. If I can't bring a winning season to the school In one year then I will gladly walk.
I will drive from Grand Rapids everyday to coach.
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