December 5, 2016 - Making the Case for Sports: See Michael Smith: Sports Made Me A Cool Nerd, reported by Tom Farrey, Aspen Institute. yes, this is the same Aspen Institute that developed Project Play in 2013 "to find ways to help all children in America become active through sports." "Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game," is the product of their work
April 2016 - What do parents think about sports and the values of sports? See the Edelman Report.August 6, 2014 - We focus a lot of time on making the case for sports on this website, but there's a strong case for PE, too. Listen to Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain, reported by Jon Hamilton, NPR Morning Edition, August 6, 2014. Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Canada sums it all up, saying, "The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain ... And without play experience, those neurons aren't changed." Score one for PE - but in the age of test scores, only the true believers will fight for PE programs. In this era, PE is under siege as educators have to spend their time on test prep and report writing.
September 5, 2012 - The grit you get from sports may be more important than good grades. We've known for a long time that high school athletes do better in school than the non-athletes. The LAUSD stats are but the latest example of this. See LAUSD Statistics Link Athletics, Higher Academic Performance xx by Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2012. We've also seen a growing body of evidence that "grit", that quality of perseverance that you get from battling through adversity, often makes athletes better in their careers than the non-athletes. Now, Time Magazine's Paul Tough argues that the qualities of grit may be more important than good grades. Tough argues that parents should let children fight through adversity, suffer some consequences and even fail in real life. Of course, we already know that children have to do this in sports, which is why the athletes are grittier than the non-athletes. See Back To School: Why Grit Is More Important Than Good Grades by Paul Tough, Time Magazine, September 5, 2012.
July 16, 2012 - School Sports Wins Again: Study finds that team sports helps fight obesity better than physical education or "active commuting" to school. See Influence of Sports, Physical Education, and Active Commuting to School on Adolescent Weight Status by Keith M. Drake, Michael L. Beach, MD, PhD, et al..., Pediatrics, August 2012.
Los Angeles, CA - June 8, 2012 - Los Angeles's Stats Are In: Score Another One For School Sports. A Los Angeles Unified School District study shows that athletes do better in school than the non-athletes. See LAUSD Statistics Link Athletics, Higher Academic Performance xxby Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2012.
2012 - Educators: Thinking about cutting sports. You may want to think again. Education Next's Contributing Editor June Kronholz notes, "There's not a straight line between the crochet club and the Ivy League. But a growing body of research says there is a link between afterschool activities and graduating from high school, going to college, and becoming a responsible citizen." Click here for Academic Value of Non-Academics xxby June Kronholz, Education Next, Winter 2012, Vol. 12, No. 1. Kronholz sees value not only in sports, but in a wide array of extracurricular activities. She also refers to the concept of "grit", that quality of perseverance that you get from battling through adversity in athletics or in the school band. Athletes - and band members and actors - don't quit. They can't - unless they want to become ex-athletes, ex-band members, and former actors. Of course, lay people intuitively know about grit, and even refer to it informally as "sticking to it" or "battling through it." Well, lay people are correct. Kronholz cites University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Dukworth, who literally gives "grit scores" to recent graduates applying for their first teaching jobs. These grit scores factor in college activities such as athletics. The scores get higher for achievements such as Team MVP awards. According to Kronholz, Duckworth has observed that the applicants with the highest grit scores, "turned out to be the best teachers, based on the academic gains of their students. As an added bonus, the 'grittiest' scorers also were more likely to stay in their jobs rather than quit midyear." So, educators should keep sports for the students, but also for the future teachers. Sports - and other extracurriculars - make winners.
THE NEW SCIENCE OF TEAMS! Guess who said this! "Stable teams ... who have learned over time to work well together can be powerful tools. But ... there often isn't enough time to build that kind of team. Instead, organizations must bring together not only their own ... employees ... but also external specialists ... only to disband them when they've achieved their goal..." You probably think it was a salary cap specialist, but it's not. It's Harvard Business School Professor Amy C. Edmondson, a leader in the emerging field of "team studies." See Teamwork On The Fly: How To Master The New Art of Teaming, xxAmy Edmondson, Harvard Business Review, April, 2012 (reprinted on athenahealth.com). More and more, academics are realizing that the lessons of sports apply to life. In the past, those studies focused on comparisions of athletes' grades versus the general student populace (in high school, the athletes always win these comparisons) or studies on how ethical athletes are compared to their peers. Now, the studies in some fields are incredibly complex, and are found in publications that are very far afield from sports and sports journals and websites. Indeed, the science of team studies is probably so far afield that most educators probably aren't remotely familiar with it.