Keep kids active after school

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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We support the referendum. Not only because we believe in the intrinsic value of athletics, dance, music, and performance, and not only because as former educators we know full well their proven relation to students' engagement with all areas of the curriculum, and correlation with academic success. However, we have another concern about the loss of CAST, BRAVO and after-school sports at our middle schools should the referendum fail to pass, one that we have not yet heard or seen articulated.

We are very worried that the loss of these programs, in which hundreds of our 11- to 14-year-olds participate daily, will leave a huge after-school void in their lives. This is not only a concern to us as parents, but should be a concern to all who reside in our community. The range of inappropriate, risky, and even illegal behaviors beckoning that age group is unfortunately too real and too accessible. We think it is therefore crucial to stop thinking of these programs as merely "extras" our young adolescents can afford to live without, but as positive activities in which they are occupied productively: exercising their minds and bodies, planning and stretching to achieve new goals (enact a leading role, sing a solo, run a mile, make a basket), learning to work cooperatively with large and small groups of peers, accepting set-backs or even defeat, and taking direction and instruction from a variety of adults.

We urge you to vote YES on April 5.

Deborah Wess and Kim Kernodle
Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Another No Vote  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 4:14 PM

Maybe if the taxes weren't so high one parents might not have to work so many hours or perhaps one parent could even work part time, then the after school needs won't be so worrisome.

no go  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 4:07 PM

Sorry, I'm not paying for your kid to be in a play under the guise of childcare. Anyway, they can only be in one play per season so what do you do with them the rest of the time. Get them a babysitting gig.

Jack Powers from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 3:31 PM

Any teacher knows there's a direct correlation between parental involvment and academic and social success. During tough times, why not seek volunteer help from parents and alumni to help with some of these non-critical programs (critical being the 3 R's). It's not as if excellent private local resources don't exist for some of what the school has been providing. Am sure they'd welcome the business.

Seriously? from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 7:05 AM

@Deborah & Kim: We certainly need to keep afterschool programs alive for our children to ensure that they don't get into trouble. But are you suggesting that it's the role of Oak Park taxpayers to foot the bill for the afterschool care of children? I mean, last time I checked, it was the job of parents to pay for their own babysitting and childcare. To suggest otherwise (as you do here) is disturbing on many the Ref really about parents relying on schools to raise their kids?!?!

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