Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Middle School Sports

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, September 6, 2006

From The Examiner

Merdon proposes middle school athletics in county

From The Sun

Merdon vows more funding for athletics as executive

From School Board Chairman Joshua Kaufman:

Joshua Kaufman, the school board chairman, said that after-school sports teams are among the options being discussed to increase physical activity by middle-schoolers.

From a Middle School Student:

Zach Plotkin, a sixth-grader at Clarksville Middle School who plays football, baseball and basketball outside of school, said he would enjoy playing sports with his school friends.

“You could play with all your friends from your school. My organization is half an hour away from my house. Not everyone comes out to play there,” he said.

From a Middle School athletic manager:

Playing middle school athletics also could help students perform better academically, said Vince Parnell, Wilde Lake High School athletics and activities manager.

“There is no question that being involved in sports helps you academically. When they are not in season, their grades go down,” he said.

From Ken Ulman:

“By coming out with this at the 11th hour in an election year from someone with his dismal record of education, it lacks credibility,” Ulman said.

Merdon has proposed a 311 center, property tax relief of seniors, and middle school atheltics.

Ulman calls Merdon’s record on education dismal.  Hmmm.  Based on what?  One vote on a 30% tax increase.

Full Press Release

Sports programs in middle schools enhance academic achievement and promote health and wellness for our youth Ellicott City, Md., September 5, 2006 – Chris Merdon, Howard County Council Chairman and candidate for Howard County Executive announced today his plans to support the financial assistance necessary to begin a middle school sports program for Howard County. Under his plan he will support funding in the Department of Education budget to implement one boy’s and one girl’s sports program in all middle schools.

“A formal physical education program at the middle school level is imperative. Promoting physical activity among the middle school population has three purposes. The first is to promote health and wellness, the second to improve academic achievement and the third to prepare athletes for high school sports programs through the development of leadership and teamwork skills,” said Merdon.

U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, in a keynote address for National Managed Health Cares Congressional Summit, said, “The fastest growing cause of illness and death in America today is obesity. If we don’t do something about this, especially among our children, we will be a morbidly obese dysfunctional population…” He further stated, “More than a third of American high schoolers don’t engage in physical activity… We’ve got to teach our kids the benefits of physical activity,”

This initiative ties directly into the Board of Education’s plan to reform the middle school program in Howard County to align academic achievement and athletics, and fits directly with the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, actions to deal with childhood obesity and encourage good nutrition and effective exercise are part of the Board of Education’s Wellness Policy.

An excerpt from a paper presented to the National Governors Association in October 2000 states “It (physical activity) can increase concentration, reduce disruptive behavior and improve academic achievement, even when time for physical education reduces time spent on academics.”

A March 2002 report by the National Association of Secondary School Principals reported: ”As interscholastic sports participation increased, GPAs improved. Interestingly, the effect was strongest in mathematics.”

“Our youth are the future of this county and the future of America. It is paramount that we find a way to make the middle school program happen, therefore I will secure a public private partnership with local businesses in a dollar for dollar ratio to fund these new programs,” continued Merdon.

If elected, Merdon will work with the Board of Education to see that the first program is funded in the 2007-08 school year budget. He will encourage the Board of Education to work with the schools and athletics directors to determine which sports are selected.

In addition, Merdon announced that he will support the funding of two turf fields per year at Howard County High Schools over the next six years. High school coaches have been requesting such funding to increase performance and decrease maintenance of high school fields.


7 Responses to “Middle School Sports”

  1. Freemarket said

    I don’t mean to sound like I am against youth extracurricular activities, because that is not the case, but I doubt there is any scientific basis whatsoever in the statements made by Vince Parnell that sports help students academically. And yes, I saw in Merdon’s press release about the March 2002 report by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. I still don’t buy it. And even if it were true that there is a causal link between sport participation and academic performance, I think the money would be better spent on athletic facilities that can be used year round, not just seasonally. During the best two months of the year for outdoor sports, the kids aren’t even in school. This money could be better spent on something else. I am still not clear on how he intends to pay for these facilities. Is he taking away from academic programs?

  2. JaniceJ said

    This is great news for my kids (one is now in the 4th grade). Of course kids do better in school when they are engaged in sports, whether playing them or cheering their team on, instead of afterschool bedroom activities. Like, duh!

  3. Freemarket said

    Janice- I hope you don’t think you gave an ounce of evidence that sports participation leads to better academic performance, because you absolutely did not. Like, duh.

  4. hocomd said

    Freemarket, it sounds like you are trying to pick a fight. Are you?

    Janice, like duh, are you egging him on?

  5. Freemarket said

    I’m not picking any fights. I always lose!

  6. The Board Of Education…

    […]Middle School Sports « Howard County Maryland Blog[…]…

  7. Melina said

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;
    ) Cheers!

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