Our school district, the McKinney Independent School District, has recently decided to spend $62 million dollars on an athletic stadium. Supposedly necessary to replace our current Ron Poe Stadium, it will be one of the major landmarks of the school district and the city.
The only problem is, it’s a waste of money. Why?
Academics before athletics. That’s the chant of millions of parents in America placing an emphasis on their children’s education before they play. After all, there are certainly more people attending university to learn rather than to play a sport. That’s also why the number of academic scholarships surpass the number of athletic scholarships. It clearly establishes academics to be the priority. McKinney ISD does not see this. They think that the priority is playing. $62 million is a lot of money to play around with. Considering all of its students are required to be in classrooms learning but only a small percentage play varsity sports (the only team that gets players to universities), and we already have a decently-sized stadium, why exactly should there be an already overextended emphasis on sports? There shouldn’t be.
Our district is pitiful in educational rankings. Schools similar in size to McKinney’s three high schools have dozens more National Merit Scholars than any of our schools combined. In fact, last year, one of the most important scholarships in the United States was awarded to only TWO students in the entire McKinney ISD, both from Boyd.
This is a failure on the side of the district: it does not allocate enough of its priorities on actual learning, but rather on its sports. It’s great that our high schools are making state. But how does that help any of our students succeed in the real world? Perhaps one or two will go on to a university team and then a professional sports team. What about the rest of the students? Are they supposed to suffer because of subprime learning and make a fool of themselves in society?
How could $62 million be spent on education? For one, we could lower class sizes, add more teachers, who could emphasize skills more relevant to the real world. Each teacher’s salary is $49,100 a year. $62,000,000 / $49,100 = 1,262 teachers. We could add ONE THOUSAND teachers with this amount of money. Instead, we’d rather spend it on one or two athletes? They already have Ron Poe! It’s not like the stadium is the actual factor preventing athletes from succeeding. In school, however, the lack of funding prevents our teachers from accessing the resources they need, diminishing the amount of classes necessary to fully prepare our students for success, and prevents both the school district and students from following the path to success.
Let’s place more emphasis on education for all, not sports for a few.