Letters to the Editor

Curriculum link

January 20, 2010


To the editor:

This is a reply to Mr. Smith’s letter on Jan. 18 and his concerns about students’ perceived lost academic and physical activity time when Kansas University hosted districtwide grades 4 to 6 for the KU women’s basketball game recently.

On the surface, the concerns may appear valid, but they also represent an excellent reason to communicate with your children’s teachers and/or principal. Doing so would have informed you that this outing was tied to post-event curriculum at the respective grade levels, curriculum that teaches students how to apply what is learned in the classroom to real world settings — a skill more easily learned with opportunities such as this event.

This event also facilitates further partnership between KU and USD 497. KU students are often involved in various schools in academically supportive ways throughout the academic year.

Before questioning the appropriateness of school priorities in a reproachful way, I encourage you to dialogue more often with your children’s school about these infrequent events. As for the cost of heat, etc., grades K-3 and their teachers and staff warmly worked their way through their curriculum for the day.


mom44 8 years, 5 months ago

In response to your letter, NO there was NOT any "followup discussion" of what happened on the field trip. No "link to the curriculum". Nope. At least no at their school.

Ummmm.... are you suggesting that some kids are so disadvantaged that they need this opportunity to practice appropriate public behavior and social skills, ?????

And just in case you are thinking that this trip might be the only opportunity for some kids to see a KU sports event, KU women's basketball has been giving away FREE tickets all season to kids and their parents to attend games, and the winning school will get $10,000. No that IS a great idea.....

I was especially miffed that my son and daughter sat for more than an hour after the game was over, watching the movie "Space Jam" while waiting for the bus.

What's that called in educational terms.... Benchwarming 101?

Next year my husband and I opt to opt out of this "educational" opportunity for our kids.

seanj 8 years, 5 months ago

Thanks so much for the follow-up to my letter to the editor published earlier this week. I agree that pre and post-event activities would have been wonderful, offered instructional opportunities, and targeted social and emotional development. However, this did not take place and dialogue with our school staff prior to and after this event has not led to any meaningful educational benefit. Actually, the teachers I engaged shared their concerns about the interruption this activity offered. Others took personal days on 1/12 so they were limited in their knowledge of what actually occurred at the game. Finally, I would like to clarify that this involved all 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students in the Lawrence School system not simply 4-6 as noted above.

Hope this information helps.

Sean J Smith

Matthew Herbert 8 years, 5 months ago

Mom44- Yes. Believe it or not, children are not born knowing how to properly interact socially. Tragically, these are skills that are not taught in public schools because they are not part of our state assessments. And before you press your middle-class values of "they should be taught that in the home by their parents" understand that, put simply, that doesn't happen for the majority of our kids. Don't complain about "kids these days" unless we are willing to educate "kids these days" how to properly behave and interact. There is more to life and learning than fractions and quadratic equations.

wren 8 years, 5 months ago

This letter to the editor does not reveal what the students learned by going to the basketball game.... because there was no real learning going on. The tone of this letter from a presumed school district employee is also self righteous. I agree with Mom44. I asked my daughter what she learned from this field trip. She said she learned how to cheer and learned a little bit about basketball.

broddie 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Wren. i don't have any problem with the school taking the kids on a basketball field trip. But let's not kid ourselves about the educational value of such a trip, and please let's not use words like "curriculum" to describe a fun afternoon at the Field House.
U.S.D. 497's reputation is at an all-time low due to Weissman's decision to build stadiums instead of putting money into schools. Let's not make it worse by claiming a basketball game is something other than a basketball game.

mom44 8 years, 5 months ago

Renaissance, First of all, why are you linking appropriate behavior to "middle class values"? I know of no socio-economic link to good manners.

On the same note, manners, respect for self and others is expected daily in our classrooms. Not sure where you're coming from.

You don't think that a majority of the kids in Lawrence know how to behave in public? Where's the stereotyping there?

Yes, I completely agree that there is more to life than learning fractions and equations..... BUT..... is that what you are equating public education to?

And as for your assertion that I should be willing to educate "kids these days" on proper behavior, well, that's what I spend a good portion of my day doing.

Yes, on the surface, this field trip might just have entertained a percentage of the population of 3-6th graders. But that's all it was, in my opinion of course....

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