This past Sunday in the Dallas Morning News there was full-page after full-page of stories about Allen High School’s new $59.6 million football stadium. In front page news, metro news and sports news reporters commented on the “palatial digs” and the “Friday night shrine.”
With 18,000 seats there’s a scoreboard with a 38 foot wide high-definition screen, 192 rest rooms, four concession areas with 42 serving lines, 5,034 parking spaces and a press box with a filming deck and 20 work stations.
New Eagle Stadium… the Rolls Royce of high school stadiums.
On the other hand, as generous as AISD is with information about their new stadium, they are not as forthcoming regarding their academic performance. The AISD web site doesn’t provide a lot of data and makes no claims as to academic excellence. They provide no historical year-to-year academic measurements.
According to many admirers, “the stadium is a showcase for the community. It shows the commitment and support.”
Perhaps…”for football” – should have been added to that statement. Allen Independent School District (AISD) and Allen High School (AHS) both received “recognized” academic ratings from the State, the second highest of four possible scores. In addition, AHS failed to meet its AYP (adequate yearly progress) goal for 2010. I’m thinking any football coach who couldn’t take AHS at least to the bottom rung of the top rating – would soon be looking for a new job.
Bob Curtis was the district’s facilities manager until 2010. He was adamant in his comment: “If there was ever any doubt about what we should do, our motto was always – Let’s do what’s best for the kids.”
Again, Bob should have added… “for football.” The average AHS score for the SAT in 2010 was 1080. That’s above the Texas average, but the number is essentially meaningless without more data. AHS couldn’t or wouldn’t report how many students were eligible to take the test. It seems the entire community is aware of the football team, but almost no one wants to address how to improve reading, writing and math.
According to one News reporter, “Allen’s new stadium is akin to a Rolls Royce. Its combination of size and grandeur makes it the best high school stadium in the country.”
The new football stadium was approved by the elected Allen Independent Football and School Board. It’s part of our public education system.
Regarding academics – the kids who play football at the new stadium, and the band members and cheerleaders and the pep squads and the student fans in the grand stands – they are not the best in the country. They are not even among the best in Texas.
Academic improvement just may not be important in Allen. The Wikipedia article addressing AHS lists only eleven “notable alumni.” They include six athletes, three actors, one musician and one Playboy Centerfold.
Good luck to the kids of Allen.
Ross Puskar is the author of Founding Fathers Know Best the political satire now available for sale at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. You can follow Ross on Twitter and Facebook and you can subscribe to his blog and you can like FFKB on Facebook.