In a perfect world, all school extracurricular activities would be fully funded. But with all indications being that future education funding will be significantly reduced, it’s clear we no longer live in a perfect world. As a result, school and community leaders, as well as parents, will be forced to determine how to allocate increasingly scarce extracurricular dollars, particularly in the areas of athletics and the arts. In such an environment, the fundamental question is which extracurricular activities garner the best educational return on investment.
These decisions must be made with the recognition that America’s economy has changed from one based on industrial might to one driven by technology, creativity, collaboration and innovation. What does this mean as applied to educational funding and priorities? How should it impact efforts to structure schools and educational curriculums to prepare our children to succeed in this rapidly changing and increasingly competitive world economy and integrated global community?
To successfully meet these challenges, parents, education policy makers and community leaders must be fully informed to enable them to approach these difficult decisions with a more thorough understanding of the issues and impacts these activities have on educational and community outcomes.
To that end, in Ball or Bands, author John R. Gerdy draws not only on relevant research and data but also his extensive experience in both worlds. The result is a thoughtful, thorough and clear-eyed comparative analysis of the educational value of football versus music programs in providing our children an education worthy of the 21st century.
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