Monday, January 23, 2012

Talking Prep Schools: Bogus or not Bogus?

Monday,  January 23, 2012

I am far from a football fan but I have to admit even I am excited about the Giants going to The Super Bowl. Big question is where will the parade take place if they win? NY or NJ?  Are they the NJ Giants or the NY Giants? Maybe they are the NJ/NJ Giants! Regardless they have many people very excited about the this upcoming Super Bowl.  Personally I will watch and might even host a party. It just depends on what college games are on TV!

Doing alot of thinking that will not make me a popular guy at certain HS games. I am a bit concerned about the increasing number of prep programs springing up all over the country. Some are in buildings and some are actually run out of apartments. I even have a GREAT FRIEND who has started a program and I asked him about the sincerity of providing the players a solid education. He assured me they are getting that and more. Knowing him as I do I am sure they are getting great lessons that will help them in life and in college. I do trust him!

But some of the others are actually being run by people who have never even completed college. Now we all know that attending and graduating from college does not make you a perfect teacher or coach. We also understand that many who never had formal education really are brilliant and capable of doing great work with young at risk men, which many of the players at some of the schools running programs actually are. But when you look across America and see small 25 person schools springing up and sending players to super high major universities you have to wonder if they are actually that good or does someone really not give a damn and giving young men grades to gain college eligibility.

Education is not a game! Education is nothing to play with! Basketball is such a temporary thing in life that it should be a criminal offense to pass kids just to pass them and use them for personal ego and long term financial benefits. Every kid who is rated high will not make an NBA roster. In fact many will not even last in places like Italy and China. So to push them through with a false sense of academic achievement would be like allowing a person to practice medicine out of a community heath aid  program.

There are enough young men walking the streets in urban America without the skills necessary to be productive citizens. Now many of the bogus schools are providing a stamp of approval to these kids making it seem as if they are ready for great academic things in the future.  When these young men are finished their 4 years of college eligibility and proved they were not the great players many thought they would be, they return to where they grew up with very few credits and just fond memories of being wined and dined for years until they were used up. Many return worst than they were when they left the neighborhood. Now they have to use their academic skills, which they really never mastered. So they become unproductive citizens. And it all started with the HS education they thought they were receiving.

Now if a kid has a HS diploma and is already college eligible but just wants to attend to gain  strength and maturity while getting college exposure that could land him a scholarship it would be fine. But when a kid leaves an accredited HS to transfer to a prep program in South Carolina being run out of a basement in someones home or Church  I feel the Parents need to actually be arrested for being irresponsible by allowing the transfer to occur.

Allow me to paint a picture of what a real Prep School is and what the purpose is. Prep schools such as The Hun School, Blair Academy. St. Benedicts, Peddie, and others are in existence to provide a superior and structured education to those who really can afford to pay tuition of over $35,000 a year including room and board. Not sure what St. Benedict's charges but the others sure charge what I mentioned and more. In New England places such as Choate, Berkshire, Northfield Mount Herman, and others have world class campuses and facilities and like the NJ schools designed to prepare students for college. In many cases they were fir the kids of the rich and famous to help them mature as well as be a stable environment as the parents jet-setted around the world. Than they went from just average athletic teams to becoming competitive. Because of the competitiveness many actually started recruiting players and provided scholarships to those who did not come via programs such as Prep for Prep, or A better Chance, two programs that place urban kids in prestigious  New England Prep schools each year.

When a real hardship came to many traditional prep schools such as St. Thomas Moore, and  The Wincendon School, Asian students started arriving in large numbers sponsored by their governments based on academic potential. Those schools also became the place to be for very good HS players in need of academic structure and better grades and SAT scores. Thus you had the power Prep teams with 11 D1 players and the true ritzy prep schools where the kids of the rich and famous paid over $40,000 a year to attend with 1 or 2 solid mid to high major players who actually were prepared for college. And most came as PG students meaning they were out of regular HS eligibility.

Now comes the new guys. The store fronts, the basements, and those who do it from an apartment. I am very scared about what is happening to those kids. I really pray that kids in these bogus type programs are not being milked for money or self satisfaction of the founders and coaches. As a parent I would never allow my child to leave a solid HS to attend a school in a store front for basketball reasons because basketball is now, knowing how to function in the world including reading, writing, and arithmetic is forever.

So to any parents reading this blog please be careful and monitor the academics as if you are making plans for your future. After all our children are our future.

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