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What Would Happen If...

Reprinted from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 14, 1994
Virginia M. MacDonald

We Ran Our Football Teams As We Do Our Classrooms We Ran Our Classrooms As We Do Our Football Teams
Everyone would have the right to equal playing time so that all could develop their athletic skills equally.

Cooperation would be more important than excellence. Competition would be frowned upon.

Since star athletes are already talented, they would not need special coaching or conditioning. They could help teach other athletes since "to teach something is to really learn it."

We would "coach to the middle."

We would strive to develop well-rounded athletes. Thus, the star quarterback would take a turn sitting on the bench as a trainer. The student of low analytical skills would get a turn as quarterback. The out-of-shape student who hates physical activity would get the opportunity to play running back.

Coaches would be expected to be understanding when jobs, family, trips or homework interfered with practice time by adapting game plans to accommodate much multiple interests.

Coaches would be assigned parking lot supervision duty immediately before and after games and during half-time. If athletes had questions about game plans, they could meet with coaches in the parking lot. Coaches would also have to plan their plays before or during supervision duty. Coaches could plan their strategies between supervision duties and games.

Coaches could not demand too much of students lest they create stress or interfere with many other interests and priorities.

If the team had a losing season, new philosophies of coaching would be developed. Each new philosophy would discard all previous philosophies. It would require a two-hour training session and supply the coach with a pocket folder crammed with philosophy and objectives.
Teachers would walk into class enthused and fired up with the importance and relevance of what they were teaching.

Students would be in class because they wanted to learn and they would respect the teacher and put all their energy into class. Class would be more important to them than their jobs or football practice.

Parents would jam the schools asking the teacher how to help their students excel.

Students wouldn't dare miss class or skip doing homework lest they be dropped from the academic team.

Students would develop a sense of teamwork and cooperation fueled by their love of learning and challenging of each other. Students would take pride in their classes and demand that classmates give their best.

Students would clamor to be "student of the week" or make the honor roll. Other students, teachers and the community would enthusiastically and supportively be involved in student learning.

We would have rallies and bands and cheerleaders for National Merit Scholars and honor students, and they would not feel uncomfortable about receiving the attention because this would be every student's dream.

Every night, the 10 o'clock news would devote a full 10 minute segment to education issues and highlights. The morning radio stations would compete for the education audience.

Newspapers would devote several pages (or a whole section) complete with pictures to academic activities.

We would demand excellence in the classroom and teach cooperation and patience on the playing field.

Our society would clamor to build and equip learning facilities because everybody would recognize the value of well-educated citizens to the business community.

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