Our Views: East Baton Rouge Parish School System should not lower the grade-point average standard for middle and high school sports, clubs _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- EBR Supt. Warren Drake speaks to all school system employees at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker in August to lay out his vision for the school system for the 2015-16 school year and beyond.Drake took over school system June 1.

n the one hand, there is some evidence that students who are active in sports, clubs or other school activities tend to do better on their grades.

But on the other hand, to get into sports and clubs and other activities, should a student who is doing poorly in school be allowed to join the fun stuff while neglecting the main reason for school in the first place?

The latter question is one that the East Baton Rouge Parish system ought to bear in mind.

New Superintendent Warren Drake wants to lower to a 1.5 grade-point average the standard for middle and high school students in sports and clubs.

That’s dropping academic standards, now at a 2.0 GPA, that have been in place for a decade.

If approved, it would return the school system to the threshold that the vast majority of Louisiana public schools set for their students when it comes to extracurricular activities and sports.

“This is about giving our kids more opportunities and our parents more opportunities to be involved in our schools,” Drake said.

It’s also about the competitiveness of sports teams, because increasingly high school sports are about winning rather than participation. The positives of participation won’t kick in for students who don’t make the teams, and students who aren’t under pressure to perform in school — we don’t see 1.5 as pressure at all — will get the message that punting and blocking is more important than reading and writing.

Is that the message that Drake and the board want to send?