Letter: Focus on Academics, Not Lights

Letter: Focus on Academics, Not Lights

To the Editor:

Uh oh. Having read new Alexandria public school Superintendent Crawley’s first op-ed, I fear we’re in for another round of More Money solutions to our underperforming school system. His sentiments were adroitly conveyed in remarks that made clear he places athletic prowess on the same plateau as academic achievement.

I took his remarks to be a preparatory announcement for spending what should be hard-to-come-by money to place night lights on the T.C. Williams football field. A soon to be released feasibility study will no doubt provide justification, especially as it was commissioned by the school board that hired him.

Surely everyone remotely exposed to our school system knows that night lights nor money is the answer. If money was, then the third most expensive high school ever built in America , T.C. Williams, wherein all who attend receive a free education, free transportation to school and, undoubtedly for some, free meals at school would make them super achievers who surpass expectations and ace every test. Not.

Certainly, athletics — like lots of other extracurricular activities — is a wonderful enhancement to T.C. Williams students, but I emphatically disagree that scholarship and athletics should be supported equally. Athletics must always be secondary. It’s extracurricular, after all.

Moreover, taxpayers are not paying for a football championship; we are paying to prepare students for a challenging future where running, throwing and catching a pigskin will not help.

Even over-paid professional athletes’ frequent mismanagement of their excessive compensation underscores that they should have been better students. My point: Forget lighting T.C. Williams’ football field, Superintendent Crawley. Illuminate us instead with your creative solutions for the chronic problems besetting our public school system.

Start by explaining your plans to keep the state from taking control of one of the most costly middle schools ever built in America, Jefferson Houston, whose students consistently under-achieve. Money clearly hasn’t made a difference at this school either; nor will night lights.

Jimm Roberts, Alexandria