PhatLobley has posted 0 links and 3 comments to SportsFilter and 0 links and 0 comments to the Locker Room.
Please don't take anything I said to imply support for SLPS management. That district is a god-awful mess and it is going to take years to get it on the right track. I'm not sure that the either/ or focus on athletics vs. academics is as zero-sum as you describe. The basketball team had a contract with Nike and brings in a lot of money from admissions and playing in tournaments. I agree that SLPS's focus should be on academics- it's a school district for crying out loud- but I'm not sure that all of their sports teams need to be as bad as my soccer team was (we didn't even have practices!) in order to do that. I can definitely understand how superfluous and extravagant basketball at the V seems, but I guess I saw the good things it did for the boys on the team. Irons might have been personally corrupt in a lot of ways, but the kids on the team (at least the ones that talked to my girlfriend about it) walked the straight and narrow because they knew Irons wouldn't tolerate them doing otherwise. I don't know for sure if the basketball team was a net loss or gain for the district academically, but my perspective walking in here was from the point of view of the players it helped personally. It was also cool to see the community rallied around the school to some extent. It's not like middle-class America where that's your natural and passionate entity to pledge allegiance first. If I wasn't so passionate about Detroit, I'd look forward to returning to StL to fix its schools someday. BoKnows, I'll leave it up to you!
posted by PhatLobley at 05:27 PM on February 23
Here's something to think about: how many people would be upset about Vashon's academic standing if it weren't in the news for its basketball team? I taught for two years at an elementary school a few blocks from Vashon. My girlfriend taught for a year at Vashon and year at its freshman center, the year that was created. We were at the game when they won the championship in 2006. I listened to the rich, white parents of the losing team boo the kids from the hood as they celebrated their win. I've met Floyd Irons. His $90K salary wasn't just for coaching basketball. He was also the district's athletic director. $90K is not an outrageous salary for an experienced, top-tier administrator of a large school district. I have incredibly conflicted feelings about this whole thing. I guess I won't go into my typical educational equality screed here on SportsFi. But I think it's important to note that both of the Hills graduated from high school. That, in itself, is a significant accomplishment in that community. They're in college. Kids from St. Louis (I don't know anything about Alton) don't go to college unless one or more adults takes an active interest is helping them get there. Floyd Irons appears to have done that for these boys. I think he did a lot of sketchy things in his years at Vashon, but there's no arguing with the fact that many kids got opportunities they would otherwise not have gotten thanks to his successful basketball program. Also, pointing at Vashon's low academic standing and implying that it therefore shouldn't have a successful basketball program seems wrongheaded. That school needs all the success it can possibly find, from anywhere it can find it (it certainly did not find it in its PhatLobley-coached soccer team, but that's a story for another day). Who is to blame for the poor academic standing? What can we do about it? Quitting while I'm ahead.
posted by PhatLobley at 07:00 PM on February 21
Len and Bob aren't too bad, but I always felt like when I watched a Cubs game with Harry and Stoney I was tremendously entertained and probably learned something insightful about the game.
posted by PhatLobley at 12:21 AM on February 09
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