26.9.08

REVEALED PREFERENCES. Never mind that the graduates aren't ready for calculus or history or making sense of their adjustable rate mortgage disclosure statements. Their football players run onto Astroturf with larger-than-life video clips on the Jumbotron. The Astroturf story, as reported (or spun) by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel invokes tight school budgets in upscale suburbs, where assistant coaches are exhorted to recruit donors.
It’s a message that is resonating throughout public education as private dollars are being tapped to help fund public facilities, especially extras such as sports. Artificial turf projects are among the most expensive upgrades being made in local prep sports, and several Milwaukee area districts are completing and considering projects.
The article makes no mention of parallel efforts to support the chemistry lab or the art studio. We should be grateful that it makes no mention of seat licenses or preferred parking for bigger donors.

The Jumbotron is a recent development, and Chicago Tribune reporters checking the state's first, in Barrington, find a few skeptics.

"There are some kids that put some huge efforts in community service . . . or academics," said Doris Gierlach, who has two children at the school. "The likelihood of them being recognized in that scale is probably not great."

Sam Lialios, 20, a 2007 Buffalo Grove graduate and former Bison tight end, was another who wondered whether the jumbo screen was sending the right message.

"It kind of takes the high school aspect out of the experience," said Lialios, now a sophomore receiver at North Park University in Chicago.

I'm attempting to intuit that "high school experience." Pseudo-sophisticated phrasings a substitute for clear speech? Discuss.

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