Schools do need master teachers (C&EN, Aug. 13, page 28). However, varsity sports have become more important in public schools than academics. Smithsonian magazine (September 2011) reported that students in Finland don’t start school till age seven, don’t take many standardized tests, but exceed U.S. students in mathematics, science, and language. Finland does not have varsity sports. Children in Finland play sports, but in clubs not connected to the schools.
U.S. public schools are centered around the sports schedule. One Indiana high school has a full-time secretary to manage times for competition and the referees’ contracts.
Scientific American (August 2012) states, “Parents are the essential root of scientific literacy.” It is difficult to teach mathematics and science when parents encourage students to excel in sports.
Master teachers need parents who make mathematics and science more important than varsity sports.
By James F. Jackson