If it works, don’t fix it

If it works, don't fix it
So, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Man may never know the answer to this question, but something with a bit more relevance to our state's education system seems to be just as big a mystery to South Dakota lawmakers.

What came first: Good kids in South Dakota thanks to their involvement in extra-curricular activities at school?


Or: Extra-curricular activities at school to make sure that good kids don't become bad kids?

For years, we've heard the countless arguments about the many benefits of extra-curricular offerings at public school.

Valid research has been performed to research the claim that students involved in extracurricular activities receive higher grades than those not involved in activities.

This topic has been studied because high school budgets are meager, and the administrations of these schools want to spend the money efficiently.

Consequently, funding for extracurricular activities may be decreased. This report examines the correlation between extracurricular activities and academic performance.

Researcher Mary Rombokas performed a study of college-aged students who were involved in extracurricular activities in high school to discover if there was in fact a correlation between involvement in activities and academic achievement.

She concluded after questioning 292 college students that "participation in extracurricular activities enhances both the intellectual and social development of students."

We're certain that several other researchers have come to the same conclusion.

Extra-curricular activities wouldn't be such a mainstay of our public education system without strong support to justify it.

So, yes, no doubt we have good kids in many of our school systems because of their involvement in extra-curricular activities.

Here's where we part ways with the South Dakota House, however. Last week, Gov. Mike Rounds vetoed a bill easing a 1997 law that banishes for a year students who use drugs from high-school activities.

In his veto message, Rounds said the 1997 law sent a strong message against drug use.

The proposed change, which would have offered the possibility of a shorter suspension if a student agreed to chemical-dependency assessment, is the wrong message, the governor said.

We find ourselves on the governor's side in this argument; a squabble that still hasn't been settled in Pierre. The South Dakota House voted earlier this week to override the governor's veto.

This legislation will now be heard by the South Dakota Senate. We urge it to uphold the governor's veto.

By doing so, students will hopefully realize that their participation in extra-curricular activities does place them in a different classification than their fellow students who choose not to participate in those activities.

In other words, all students must realize that certain actions carry certain consequences.

A sense of being "needed" on the football team to ensure a winning season, or involvement in marching band or drama club shouldn't eventually give some students the notion that they will eventually be able to escape the results of negative actions, especially when it comes to drug use.

That's why we believe Rounds is strongly in support of the 1997 law. It sounds like we have something that works well for our state.

If it works, we shouldn't set out to fix it.

It will now take the support of two-thirds of the state Senate to override the governor's veto.

We urge lawmakers to keep the 1997 law on the books.

This law has no detrimental effect on extra-curricular activities in our public schools. Repealing it, however, will send, as the governor said, the wrong message.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.net

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>