Monday, November 22, 2010

Extra Extra! Check the Curricular!

The two most masculine planets are bookending the exploratory sign of Sagittarius. There's an upsurge in passion for higher learning. People might feel a little bit of wanderlust. There will be a little more outward joy shown during the Sun's transit through happy-go-lucky Sagittarius.

Mars in Sagittarius brings up an interesting struggle about the priorities we form in life and when those value systems begin. Mars, with its aggression and passion, in a sign of learning, creates an almost dichotomous struggle between mind and heart. Unless, of course, your passion is learning.

The problem with this is that it doesn't seem that many people are as passionate about learning as they are about their other hobbies. And it seems that the American value system feels the same way, especially in our schools. Extracurricular activities, be they sports, clubs, or organizations, take center stage, forcing academics into supporting roles, and that's if they're lucky. Usually, academics are simply the ensemble. Oh, who cares about the progress made in school as long as they're scoring that game-winning goal or singing the leading role?

I know this is not a new phenomenon. We place a stronger emphasis on the extracurriculars than on the academics. How can this be? For all that we claim to support education and educators, there are constant cases of teachers whose authority is undermined by the administration who wants to see another trophy in the case or have the publicity of an organization's event. Now, don't get me wrong - I do not believe that these extracurricular activities are unimportant, nor do I believe that the teacher should be the end-all, be-all authority with regard to the students, but there should be some balance set up here. If there is any kind of imbalance, it should be in FAVOR of the school subjects, not against them!

We're communicating apathy and our children pick up on that. They lose interest in their own grades and show disinterest in the classroom. School becomes more of a social environment, and of course, that has its own place as well, but it should not be the focus. Can we please refocus our sights on the development of our students' minds?

Granted, this is a bit of a soapbox, but there have been a number of incidents recently wherein teachers have been unsupported in favor of extracurricular activities. This is not every administration, nor is it any administration all of the time, but the run of such happenings needs to be addressed.

School is for the curricular. That's why we tag the word "extra" on other activities.