Dumping the Academic Decathlon

Hawaii’s education department has defunded the Academic Decathlon, because it didn’t affect enough students — and because Hilo High’s team won for 12 straight years. Thanks to Amritas for the link. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin adds:

The Academic Decathlon also lacks the heart-pounding thrill of a basketball or football game. Decathlon teams spend enormous amounts of time studying. Competition consists mostly of taking multiple-choice tests, plus one event structured something like a television quiz show.

No cheerleaders either.

Decathlon boosters are trying to raise $50,000 to revive the decathlon and expand it to private schools.

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Comments

  1. I was a two-time Academic Decathlon participant in high school, and won an individual medal for merit in my academic category the second year. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot. Typical reasoning for defunding the program, too.

    My high school was in the same local group as Palo Alto High School, which regularly won the national competition at the time, so we didn’t expect to win. But both years I participated we came second, and again the year after I graduated. (That time we put the fear of God into them; they only beat us by about 400 points out of a total of 45,000+, and in the final round too.)

    We didn’t get any respect, though. Not from other students, not from most of the faculty and not from the administration. When the varsity football team won the Big Bone homecoming game, they got a freaking all-school rally. We couldn’t even get an announcement on the PA system. This provoked one of my friends to write a nasty letter to the school newspaper: “When the decathlon team wins, our school gets a strong academic reputation. When the football team wins, they get a bone. A bone. How cute. If you were a parent, would you rather send your child to a school with a strong academic reputation or to a school with a bone?”

    At the time, parents seemed to prefer the school with the bone. Looks like that’s true in Hawaii as well.

  2. At my high school in Maryland, our math team, computer team, quiz bowl team, etc. all got PA announcements when we had competitions (I don’t remember any team getting a pep rally – even the football team). It may have had something to do with we were a relatively small school (At my high school in Maryland, our math team, computer team, quiz bowl team, etc. all got PA announcements when we had competitions (I don’t remember any team getting a pep rally – even the football team). It may have had something to do with we were a relatively small school (

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Oh, sure. Start out with PA System announcements. Next, just a little bit of tutoring, recruiting of academic coaches , luring top performers, the whole ugly mess.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They could always raise the $50,000 by entering an adult dodgeball tournament.

  5. It should go away: This type of elitist activity is bad for the esteem of the intelectually challenged.

  6. oops! And for the spelling-challenged too! 🙂