We are coming into the final stretch of the college basketball season and it seems a good time to make the following observation.
The only category of education that presently has its accomplishments tested on a competitive basis (that being sports) is also the only category of education that is motivating and developing disadvantaged students to achieve their highest personal potential at what they are being taught.
Does it surprise anyone that the only part of education where student achievement can not be rigged (better/best football team, etc.) is also the only part of education that is producing marketable graduates from the disadvantaged communities? Or that it accomplishes this with less need for quotas and reduced expectations than any other category of education? In many cases these kids are able to move straight into national and international professional careers straight from high school. And when they do attend college, the academic education they receive is a by-product of their athletic educations.
And is it any surprise that a very disproportionate share of disadvantaged students gravitate to the only service of the education industry that is intractably merit judged and race indifferent at every single level of education from Pee Wee league to NCAA?
What better model could we ask for when we look to improve the motivation and education of disadvantaged students in other categories of learning?