Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review
1 July 2018
The Boston Globe has been publishing for 146 years and each Fall, Winter and Spring the paper publishes a special section, of 16 pages or so, called “All-Scholastics,” on notable public high school athletes and their coaches. There is a mention of athletes and coaches at local prep schools as well.
Today the latest Spring “All-Scholastics” section arrived, with the latest “Ten Moments to Remember” in HS sports and with reports on the best athletes and coaches in Girls’s Track, Boys’ Track, Girls’ Lacrosse, Boys’ Lacrosse, Girls’ Tennis, Boys’ Tennis, Softball, Baseball, Golf, Volleyball, Rugby, and the Paras, along with the Preps, the State Champions, and 14 “Phelps Scholar-Athletes.”
Each section also features photographs of 9-22 athletes, with perhaps a twitter-sized paragraph on their achievements. In addition, there are 32 photos and tweets about some coaches, spread among the various sports. There are 28 “Prep” athletes mentioned, from various sports, and this year three “Prep” coaches profiled. For each high school sport there are “Athletes of the Year” identified, and all the coaches are “Coaches of the Year” in their sport.
There have of course been, in the same period, high school “Students of the Year” in English, math, Mandarin, physics, Latin, chemistry, European history, U.S. history, AP biology, and the like. There may also be high school “Teachers of the Year” in these and other academic subjects, but their names and descriptions are not to be found in The Boston Globe, the most well-known paper in the “Athens of America” (Boston).
It may be the case, indeed it probably is the case, that some of the athletes featured in the Spring “All-Scholastics” section today are also first-rate high school students of math, English, science, history, literature, and languages, but you would not know that from the coverage of The Boston Globe. The coaches of the year may in many, if not all cases, also be excellent teachers of academic subjects in the Massachusetts public and private schools, but that remains unmentionable as well.
When the British architect Christopher Wren was buried in 1723, part of his epitaph read, written by his eldest son, Christopher Wren, Jr.: Lector, si monumentum requiris, Circumspice. If you wanted to judge his interest, efforts and accomplishments, all you had to do was look around you. His work was there for all to see.
The work of Massachusetts high school athletes and coaches is all around us to see in The Boston Globe on a regular basis, but the fine academic work of our high school scholars and teachers is nowhere printed in that public record.
If one seeks a monument to anti-academic and anti-intellectual views and practices in Boston today, one need look no further than The Boston Globe. I read it every day, but apart from one page of photos and captions of Valedictorians in Boston (only) High Schools, I never see any attention and recognition for the academic efforts and accomplishments of Massachusetts secondary students and their teachers, because there is none in the Globe, and never has been any, no many how many reports on education reform and on academic standards it may have published over the years. If you ask how much The Boston Globe (and I am sure it is not alone in this) cares about the good academic work now actually being done by high school teachers and their students in Massachusetts, the answer is, by the evidence, that they do not.