To Blog or Not To Blog

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Getting Started: My first “Blog”


To “blog” or not to “blog”, that is the question.

Of course, that begs the question, “What exactly is blogging?” There are others who are better equipped to answer that, but from what I can tell, it’s just writing about various topics on a semi-regular basis. By that definition, I’ve been “blogging” since before the term “blogging” was coined. And before me, Benjamin Franklin was a blogger. As was Plato, Steinbeck, Hemingway and Dr. Suess.

In short, despite all of the attempts to cast blogging as something new, people have been doing it for centuries.

I’ve never really understood why we need another term or name for the act of someone writing things and publishing them in whatever medium is available and appropriate. Blogging? Writing? What’s the difference?

Regardless, thanks for joining me. I’ll write and post notes and articles on whatever moves me: education, athletics, music and maybe even reports on the exploits of that mysterious bluesman, Willie Marble.

I hope you enjoy them.

One subject that will receive a lot of attention on this site is community priorities relating to education, particularly in the area of athletics and the arts. This is the subject of my new book, “Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment.”

What follows is a brief description of why this issue is so important. Consider it a “teaser” for what will follow.

Educational Investment 101: Smart Decision Making

Recent research revelations regarding brain trauma associated with football have served as a clarion call for serious discussions regarding the role of football in our culture and our educational institutions. For those who have had ongoing concerns about football’s growing impact on academic values and educational mission, this increased attention is welcome. Regardless, a serious and honest discussion about the role of football in schools and communities is long overdue.

That said, it is imperative that we frame that discussion in a way that goes beyond the tired anecdotal arguments and justifications for these activities. At the core of the discussion is a very intentional and direct comparison between football and music as educational tools. The fact is, we can no longer shy away from such direct comparison. Every financial forecast suggests that funding for extracurricular activities is on a downward spiral. And history tells us that when difficult funding decisions must be made about which extracurricular activities should survive or be de-emphasized or eliminated, more often than not it is athletics and the arts that are placed on the budget-cutting table for discussion. When program cuts are necessary, priorities must be set and difficult choices made. Traditionally, the choice has been between elite athletics programs and programs in the arts, with the arts often being the first to be cut. And because these challenges and funding gaps will only increase, these decisions are only going to become more difficult.

If we want to maximize the ability of our schools to provide the best education for our children, we must make smart, informed decisions regarding educational priorities and spending. As difficult and gut-wrenching as those decisions will be, they will have to be made. Making smart decisions will require that we compare and contrast the effectiveness of our current investments in these extracurricular activities. To simply continue to make decisions as we have in the past is a disservice to our children. Evaluations of educational return on investment must be conducted, discussed and utilized in the decision-making process. We owe our children nothing less.

So my purpose in writing “Ball or Bands” was simple and clear: to present a thoughtful, thorough and clear-eyed analysis of the educational value of football versus music programs in providing our children an education worthy of the twenty-first century.

So there you have it. My first “blog”.  Or maybe it’s my first piece of “writing” on my personal website.

Whatever.

Carry on.

Justin Rule

Coolidge Project, 110 Gamber Lane, Lancaster, PA, 17603