It is a seemingly never-ending debate, as shown once again recently in the discussion about middle-school sports. What is the appropriate balance between academics and athletics?
Most people naturally would say academic pursuits reign supreme, and that's the way it should be. There's a reason sports are called "extracurricular" activities; curriculum in schools takes precedence.
And it would be alarmist after Lakeside High School's stunning success in sports this season to contend the balance has tipped at the school, which long has been the most academically successful non-magnet public school in the area.
But it's impossible not to notice this coincidence: In the same week Lakeside's baseball team made its unprecedented run at a state championship, the same week that the school received recognition as the top athletic public school in class AAAA in the entire state, county officials released mildly disappointing results from the Georgia High School Graduation Tests.
With the caveat that these scores come from two entirely different student populations - last year's seniors vs. this year's seniors - it's still notable that Lakeside tied with Evans High for the largest-percentage-point decline in scores. The two schools' scores each dropped by a cumulative 5 percentage points. Next in line was Greenbrier with a 3 percentage-point drop. Only tiny Harlem had good news, showing an overall gain of 7 percentage points.
Again, this is just a snapshot, and with the county's scores still exceeding those of the rest of the state, there obviously is no need to throw a flag. But amid the thrills from this past season's successes on the field, it's an important reminder that the biggest wins in school must continue to come in the classroom.
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