A couple of weeks ago, the local news broadcasts all had segments on which local high school football player was signing a letter of intent with which college. They showed the football players at a little desk, often with a cap showing their soon to be college, signing their letter of intent. And then they did little interviews, pretty short, with different players, about why they'd chosen the school they'd chosen. The interviews, of course, were exactly what they were supposed to be: they praised the coaching staff and opportunities as the future school.
In my fantasy, come graduation season, the local news broadcasts would go to each graduating class and do similar short interviews with the valedictorians or top students (in various ways, top math student, maybe, or top art student, or student with an outstanding record of service) about their plans, future schools, whatever. And they'd put these little interviews on the news with the same attention that they put the football players on the news.
And you know what, maybe they'd realize that there are female students at local high schools, too. (They sometimes do give highlights of girls' sports games, I admit. But they didn't show any female athletes signing letters of intent. Nope, just male football and hockey players.)
And then, here's the real fantasy: in six years, they'd reinterview the same students, the football players, the art students, the valedictorian, all of them they could find, and they'd ask about the past six years and the students' future plans.
And I bet they'd learn that those valedictorians were graduated or graduating, had jobs, grad school, or other stuff planned going forward, and had become the sorts of adults we hope our K-12 educational programs will help create. My guess is that a lot of the football students will have become those sorts of adults, too, and will be doing good stuff. But I bet it would be exceedingly rare for the football student to still be playing football, while the art student would still be making art, and the student noted for outstanding service would still be doing good service work.
And then they'd actually think out loud about the supposed "career" oriented education that so many of our governmental folks desire and about what sorts of high school activities we should support with our attention and money and such. Maybe, just maybe, instead of having a football coach and two or three assistants, the local high schools would hire another art teacher.
I live a rich and full fantasy life, don't I?