Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Challenges and Football

Jay Mathews writes this week in The Washington Post, that many of the country's best high schools, as measured by his "challenge index", have no football teams. He offered a list of fifty local schools, nine of which had no football team. I found the list of schools without football less than persuasive, for it had

  • St. Anselm's Abbey School, which enrolls probably 150 boys in its four high school grades. That is really too few for eleven-man football, particularly if it is to offer any other fall sports.
  • Washington International School is coed, with 900 students total. It is a fair guess that they have about the same male population in the upper grades.
  • The Arlington County alternative high school H.B. Woodlawn. I know nothing about it.
  • The District of Columbia magnet high schools, Banneker and School Without Walls. I don't know much about them.
  • Holton-Arms, Stone Ridge, National Cathedral School, and the Madeira School, which are girls-only.
The criterion of the challenge index produces a list of the top 50 local schools not including Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County. This diminishes my opinion of TJ not at all, and does not improve my opinion of the index. And I find it curious that Gonzaga manages to place about mid-way down, but Georgetown Prep, the other local Jesuit high school, does not appear.

On reading the whole article I had to wonder: if a writer as persuasive as Jay Mathews were to identify a correlation between posture and college admission, would the hallways of our high schools look like West Point?

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