Stupid but Secure

Letter From Zanesville

Last year, the Board of Education for the Zanesville, Ohio, City School District was handed a hammer capable of striking a blow for the forces of good in the battle over the direction of public education. Unfortunately for this community, the board dropped the sledge squarely on its foot, seeking immediate relief by planting the appendage squarely in its collective mouth.

The issue involved an attempt to increase the minimum academic standards that students must meet before participating in athletics or other extracurricular activities. To her credit, board member McFerren deemed the current standard—at least a cumulative "D" average before the start of the academic quarter—insufficient to warrant a pupils participation. Under the terms of her proposal, this cumulative standard would be raised one letter-grade, to a "C" average, and the student's performance in each class would be monitored weekly during the quarter of participation. The student's eligibility for participation in the activities of the subsequent week (team meetings, practices, and games) would be contingent upon the maintenance of a "C" in each class. Below average performance in any subject, according to her plan, would require the student to sit it out until these minimum standards were once again met.

Pretty reasonable, I think. The more benighted members of the board, however, thought otherwise. Despite...

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