Cheshire High School should follow through with a proposed change in academic requirements for student athletes.
Currently, kids must earn a C grade or higher in all subjects in order to participate on CHS sports teams. Receiving worse in just one class is grounds for disqualification. Problem with this setup is that it might dissuade some students from taking tougher courses. Enrollment in the challenging likes of AP Calculus or AP Chemistry can result in low marks even for bright pupils.
More important than athletics, students must have opportunities to be academically ambitious. CHS leaders have suggested a logical solution. Rather than hold sports-participants to a specific marking in all classes, kids would only have to maintain an overall C grade point average — a 2.0 GPA. In this arrangement, athletes could remain on teams even if they flunked a course, as long as scores in other classes balanced the F. (For instance, four A’s and one F yields a 3.2 GPA.)
Of course, the last thing teachers want is for pupils to flunk. Which is why school administrators could improve the proposal with a tweak. Students who have earned an F in a class, or who are in imminent danger of doing so, should be mandated to miss sports practices in order to devote more time for homework and studying. These kids would, however, remain eligible to play in games (though only if coaches choose to put in someone who has been out of practice). Not until grades improve would participation in CHS-related athletics training programs again be permitted.
As the suggested modification must go before Board of Education members for approval, no changes would occur until next school year. This is plenty of time to address the proposal’s one noteworthy downside, which is that it expands leniency for flunking grades. Other than that, CHS leaders have crafted a sensible adjustment which still holds student-athletes academically responsible. And it also takes into account harder courses, in which receiving good grades is no simple task but — as with sports — the result of sacrifice, hard work and overcoming setbacks, like losing against formidable opponents or being defeated by a challenging midterm.