A new football on the turf.

What Can Football Teach Us About Public Education?

Even those who have little interest in football get drawn in during Super Bowl weekend. The culture pulls you in. Dillon, next door to me, manages a grocery store, and Super Bowl Saturday is their second biggest day for sales each year.

Football today is so different than even a few decades ago. It has evolved as everyone tries to find that edge that will lead to a victory. So how can we get as hyped up about public schools?

We’ve all heard the clichés. Kids are our future. We want our kids to reach their potential. We want schools to [fill in the blanks]. Yet we don’t really get too excited about what goes on in schools. In fact, we get far more wound up when anyone tries to CHANGE something in a school. We want the best for kids as long as schools look exactly like they did when we were there.

But here’s the thing. We know so much more. Our understanding of brain science and learning has grown exponentially over the last decade. What we knew over a century ago when the model of schools was developed should not still be the foundation in 2023.

So how do we have that conversation with parents? How do we get parents to get excited about the quality of education their children receive? How do we even get excited about agreeing on what school is for?

I asked Seth Godin this question in 2018. You can listen to it below, but his analogy stuck with me. High school football has improved beyond belief over the last few decades – because parents wanted it to. How do we get parents to care about the quality of education at the school as much as they care about the quality of the football program?

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

Further Resources

What is School For? (Stop Stealing Dreams) Podcast Manifesto in text Blog TED Talk

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