The American School/Sports in Public and Private Schools

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This country has long been an athletic nation; the competition gets to the very heart of American values and illustrates the concept that if you work hard you will be rewarded. For this reason, sports have been a mainstay in American culture. The school systems, both public and private, implement athletic programs to keep their students active and healthy. This paper will endeavor to explore the differences and similarities in the participation rate and demographics of those students who are active in these extracurricular activities; it will contrast female and male participation, as well as different ethnic groups and socioeconomic status all under the framework of the basic public-private division.

Sports in Relation to American Life[edit | edit source]

Sports in relation to American life is much bigger than any other type of activity found in America because there is; “No other single type of activity brings people from completely different social, economic, political, religious, and racial backgrounds to participate in common, directly, or indirectly, as school sports and other co-curricular activities” (Jeziorski, 1994, p 30). Bringing people together is very important for the nation as a whole because America is such a mixed nation. Knowing this, sports and its inclusion of any race or background continues to this day to bring people of America together than segregate. Under the banner of sportsmanship, these differences become insignificant.

Another relation to sports, America, and education are the sets of rules. In every country, there are laws that you have to abide by to be a good citizen. Sports help define this fact and allow students and participants to understand this basic structural principle. “During a sports contest, student-participants are presented rules that are defined and sanctions that are enforced immediately upon violation of those rules” (Jeziorski, 1994, p. 27). As schools prepare students for the outside world this skill and understanding is very important to their success as American citizens and as people in general.

some of the sports are Basketball, Volleyball, and Cross Country.

Competition and cooperation[edit | edit source]

Both are fundamental to democracy. And it is very important in our free enterprise economic system that these principles be properly integrated and practiced by citizens as part of the socialization process within our schools. Competition is at the very base of our political system of electing our officials” (Jeziorski, 1994, p. 37). With the American economic system and the very values which this country was founded upon, competition remains to this day to be the driving force of its culture. The search for the best is not limited to athletic competition but in the market between business and consumers. Products, politicians, American Idols, and the job market are all examples of the competitive nature of this country, and the sooner a student can realize this and become accustomed to this type of social interaction the better they will be able to survive in this country.

For where I am from (Russia) we do not contribute it in our daily lives unless our perfection is a particular sport, nor do we contribute it to our private or public schools curriculum seeing is are schools are separated for scholars and schools for athletes. I was shocked when I came to this country that whenever I told someone that I am from Russia their first question to me was if I play or played hockey. Maybe it is because of the stereotype that most Russians play hockey but there are many examples or stereotypes about Russians that do not pertain to sports whatsoever, which tells me that most Americans think of sports more than other things. I am not trying to stereotype at all because I have been to numerous countries and sports are at the least of their concerns. Of course people from other countries admire their country’s popular sport but I guess we are not as able to think of it so much because life in other countries is not as easy as it is in America. There are many examples in everyday life in America that I figured out why sports are so popular.

One example is television. From sports channels, to sports related commercials, to the drive of being better at something than another person is what drives a person to think about sports all the time. If it is all around you, you will have no way to escape it and as much as you hate it in the beginning if it is around you so much eventually you will fall victim to being a sports addict.

Another example of why sports are so big in America is because of the number of sports teams there are. In other countries you would usually have one country team and one club team for all the major sports. In America almost every major city you go to there is a certain team for some sport. And as much as it is in people hearts to be patriotic to something they will like a team from their city that they never watch or even like the sport the team is in they will instinctively root for that team because the team represents their city. This opens up the cause and effect for the person in time to eventually like the team and the sport. I have a great example about something like that. When I came to this country I hated baseball and football and never wanted to watch it. But through out time I began liking the baseball and football team from my city just for the sole purpose because they represented my city. I never watched any games and never wanted to. But later down the line I just wanted to see what I was rooting for and started watching them knowing in my head that I hate these sports. The team and sport was around me so much that I had to watch it just once and just like all before me got hooked on it.

The last and final example on why sports are so big is because of the private and public schools. In many other countries there were schools for either scholastic students and sports athletes and at a young age you were put in either or on what you were better at or what your strengths and weakness were. So the majority of the children that were put in the academic schools as opposed to the athletic schools never got the opportunity or interest to be in a sport or like it. In America though it is different, any school you go to either if it is public or private, sports is included into the curriculum raging from just gym class to actual sports teams you can play on. It was not just open to particular kids that were chosen but any child at any age or year can join a team, not saying that he would play but join it and get interested in the sport. Schools out of everything play a very important role in America of why sports are so big here. Although sports in schools play roles for all types of kids there are schools that offer more and have more money to fund sports, than some other schools. The example of this that I will be talking about in this paper is the difference between private sports and public sports.

Break Down of Public and Private School Attendance and Extracurricular Sports[edit | edit source]

Public Schools are very different than Private schools in attendance and extracurricular ranging from the number of students, funding, and the eligibility for each school. Since public schools are state owned schools, meaning that any child in the area of the school they live by can go for free, as opposed to private schools that require the parents or guardians to pay for their student to go there, is a large gap in the number of student that go to each one. “There was also a considerable difference in sports participation rates among school types. Approximately 75 percent of private school students (both Catholic and other private) indicated participation in sports at some level, while over one-half of the public school students reported the same. As SES and parents’ education rose, participation rates in academic clubs, sports, hobby clubs, and music increased” (Ingels, 2005, 70). This fact helps illustrate both the divide in income for students and their undertaking of extracurricular activities, when it comes to the question of enrollment in public versus private schools. Because of the more specific schedule and higher expectations one encounters in a private school environment the push for extracurricular activities is higher and therefore the students, usually of privileged backgrounds, are more likely to partake in all the athletic offerings of their institution.

The graph below shows the percentage of sophomores in 2002 that attended public schools as opposed to private catholic schools and other private schools. This graph shows the high percentages of students that attend high school in America are usually in public schools as opposed to private schools. Since public schools are open to any student and private schools tend to charge for admission for the students that attend it there is a huge gap in the number of students in each school. Funding in public school is provided by the state and the taxpayers. The gap between the number of those enrolled in public has gone from nearly identical enrollment, 283,000 to 247,000 public to private in 1955 to a larger comparative gap, 954,000 to 607,000 public to private in 2005, enrollment in 4-year degree granting institutions (NCES, 2006). The number of enrollees to private colleges has only doubled in fifty years whereas the number of students enrolled in public institutions has more than tripled, which would significantly strain the resources of the educational system.

This creates the gap in which public schools and private schools differ in the number of extracurricular sports they have to offer for their students because of their budget, which brings me to my next point.

Extracurricular sports in private schools are usually better off then public schools because the average student has to pay a lot more for a year to go to that school as opposed to the public school where the average student does not have to pay out of pocket.
One reason is because private schools' curriculum is much more tougher than public, and private schools tend to be more religious schools meaning that they will only choose people that they think are well qualified and will be a asset rather than a liability to their school whereas public schools do not have this opportunity because anybody may attend. Things like drugs and the area that the school is in plays a large role in the type of students they will have. If you have public schools in the heart of a crime infested area of a city the school will not generate many scholars or athletes because of the lives of the students outside of school. This is different for private schools because of the requirements and tuition needed to attend a private institution and even if the schools were given the same group of kids that attended, the greater access to resources and staff gives the private schools academic as well as athletic advantage over public schools. Some schools get used to playing each other and become enemies.

Gender Differences[edit | edit source]

Gender is a huge topic on sports for private and public schools. An official for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Judith M. Sweet states that “…based on the number of women who are playing sports at the high-school level, I think there's still more room to increase participation in college. There's a dramatic difference in resources provided to men's and women's teams for recruiting. And the facilities have improved, but my sense is that there is still a gap in the quality, in comparison to men's teams” (Lipka, 2006). The federal government has intervened in the world of sports by introducing Title IX which supports equality in sports between men and women mandating that for every male sport there be a female sport as well. This development came out of the equal rights movement and gender equality movements of the seventies.

But with the age of time and the changing of views on many values and influence from other countries woman began to break out of the house mom mould and not only start going into the work place but the athletic place too. One huge occurrence in America that kind of paved the way to woman being in sports was because of WW2. When all the men went off to Europe or Asia to fight the war woman were, in turn, put in the work place and were further included in sports. This as time progressed made woman more confident to stand out and put out their voice to be heard, universal suffrage as it is called. Nowadays, women are as active in sports as much as men are. Public and private schools almost all have woman and men sport teams. This differs though with public and private schools because of the religious aspect, however the ratio of men to women participation is still low. Judith Sweet says: “Interestingly, when you look at the participation opportunities that are available nationally, they're still at 41 percent for female athletes. So while there may have been an increase in the female student population, we're still a long way even from 50-50” (Lipka, 2006). College and high schools for woman sports differ a lot when it comes down to public and private schools and the number of women who play sports. Because of that people are much understanding about things like gender races in sports.

Race Differences[edit | edit source]

Out of all the races looked at in the 2002 Sophomore study, only Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Natives, (55% and 54.6% respectively) had a participation rate comparable to whites (57%) (Ingels, 2005). It was not until the rights movement though that African Americans were allowed to play sports with white people and now they are very active in the world of sports. As opposed to public and private sports I believe there are a lot more in public schools than in private for two reasons. Even though private schools can recruit minorities and give them scholarships to go to the school if they cannot afford it, often too few minority youth have these opportunities. Given the economic situation in the inner city, the access to private schools is usually nonexistent and the public schools are overextended. Another issue regarding private school enrollment of minority students is the basic differences in the religious affiliations of those attending, Catholicism is the primary denomination of private schools and many minorities tend to be in different denominations further alienating that population.

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

In conclusion, there are many differences between public school sports in relation to private school sports. Gender, race, attendance, and extracurricular subjects that I briefly mentioned in this paper are just a couple of topics that differ between the two. Sports is also very good for everybody’s future because “Athletes were more likely than sports nonparticipants to expect to earn a 4-year degree or higher (78 percent for athletes versus 64 percent for nonparticipants), and none sport extracurricular participants were likewise more likely to hold this educational expectation than their nonparticipating counterparts (79 percent versus 64 percent)” (Ingels, 2005, 71). Sports will be the highlight of American culture for years to come, because of its important role in American life.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Cady, E H. (1978) The big game : college sports and American life. Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press
  • Duderstadt, J J. (2000) Intercollegiate athletics and the American university. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.
  • Ingels, S.J., Burns, L.J., Chen, X., Cataldi, E.F., and Charleston, S. (2005). A Profile of the American High School Sophomore in 2002: Initial Results from the Base Year of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (NCES 2005–338). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Jeziorski, R M. (1994) The importance of school sports in American education and socialization. Lanham: United Press of America.
  • Lipka, S. "A champion of gender equity reflects on 34 years of change. " The Chronicle of Higher Education. 52.47 (July 28, 2006): NA. Academic OneFile. *Gale. Northern Michigan University. 3 Oct. 2007
  • Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma City.(1996) Comparison of Graduation Rates for Scholarship Athletes and All Students, by Sport, Race, and Gender
  • U.S, Government Accountability Office. Report to Congressional Addressees. (July 2007) Intercollegiate Athletics: Recent Trends in Teams and Participants in National Collegiate Athletic Association Sports. (GAO-07-535)
  • U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2006) Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002); and America's High School Sophomores: A Ten Year Comparison, 1980-1990, National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88/90)"First Follow-up, 1990."
  • U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2006) Biennial Survey of Education in the United States; Opening Fall Enrollment in Higher Education, 1963 through 1965; Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), "Fall Enrollment in Colleges and Universities" surveys, 1966 through 1985; and 1986 through 2005 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, "Fall Enrollment Survey" (IPEDS-EF:86-99), and Spring 2001 through Spring 2006

The Forces That Shape Curricula
Sports in Public and Private Schools
The Role of Media in Education