Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Student-athletes transfer dilemma in high schools

As the debate rages on regarding the transfer of athletes in the high schools system for the sake of playing for a coach/team/school there are a number of issues which must be addressed. 1. The transfer story is old - dating back to at least four decades 2. It is not exclusive to Jamaica 3. Parents are as much a part of the problem as is the recruiters 4. The regulatory/monitoring bodies MUST be strengthened to ensure the goals of the education industry are met The dynamics of education are changing, strange but true...no longer are children being 'forced' to pursue the traditional career paths, but instead go after lucrative career areas, much of which include study in the non-traditional areas, some of which are frowned upon. While the split in where the choices should go, continue, the system is moving ahead and as a result policy leaders should be aware of what these changes are and create an environment for as much of us to exist as possible. I will cite examples from the states of Georgia, Florida and California where a lot of these problems exist. They have the equivalent of what is in Jamaica - the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) and they are in charge of monitoring what happens in the schools. They monitor * students requests for transfer * schools from where the transfer is being sought * schools to which the transfer is required * grades of the students * general school records which may reveal behaviour * ability of parents to afford where applicable, or accommodate, sometimes in the case of relocation I am of the firm belief that parents have a responsibility to the children and should not be forced to move their children from school to school while accepting gifts. In deciding to move a child, careful consideration should be given whether the move is an advantage to the child in the pursuit of higher education. By the way, higher education in this instance can also relate to going after dreams of being an athlete, famous dancer, soulful singer etc. If the school the child wishes to go to offers the best environment for the student to learn, then move. The move is to be done within the rules of the system. The state of Georgia got 6,000 such requests in the 2010 - 2011 season and 76 per cent of that list was granted. The regulatory team keeps watch. In Florida, the Florida High School Athletics Association is the body which monitors the requests. So too is the Southern Commission in California. I say we boost the human resources of ISSA to help them with the work they have already started to ensure that the moves are above board and there is very little, if any, inappropriate behaviour by schools and/or coaches. Having identified that there is an issue, I say we move to resolve the issue soon and let's look at the 2013 to 2014 season how we can enforce the rules established by ISSA. The history of dialogue and setting up of teams in Jamaica (Task Forces) to look at issues doesn't have resolutions coming too quickly, but if we can 'stamp out' some of the known areas of activity where the transfers are blatant, then we would have been a few steps ahead. Parents have a right to offer their children the best option, but not for a fridge, stove, car or money.

4 comments:

Danielle Davis said...

Well said. I don't know why everyone is pretending as if this started in JA. People still think a traditional education is the only choice for students. They don't realise that the respective sporting activity is now a career for the professional athlete. If someone's dream is to play in the NBA one day then why shouldn't they get the opportunity to go to a school that offers the best basketball programme? From the exposure there they could probably get a scholarship to go to a college in the US and increase the potential to realise that dream. As you said, Proper monitoring needs to happen to facilitate what is best for the child. Not everyone wants to be a doctor or lawyer.

Toni Braun said...

Once again, a great piece of opinion! I especially like the following quote:

"In deciding to move a child, careful consideration should be given whether the move is an advantage to the child in the pursuit of higher education. By the way, higher education in this instance can also relate to going after dreams of being an athlete, famous dancer, soulful singer etc."

I guess it's as hard in Jamaica as anywhere else in the world to persuade parents of the advantage of the pursuit of such a non-traditional career. In Germany (as I only have data from here I don't dare generalizing them) there is a statistically validated positive correlation of sucess in sporting endeavours and academic achievements. Most parents miss this fact and perceive the choice as an 'either-or' decision. In my opinion both fields should be more interconnected (everywhere in the world).

Greetings, Yash

Carole Beckford said...

Thanks for the comments

Rene K said...

Carole, I couldn't agree more. As a parent, who happens to attend grad school at Full Sail University and raising a serious and determined student-athlete, we are now living this scenario facing serious decisions in reference to the best fit regarding academics and athletics. Your blog hit-home today! Tee

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