Education Rehash: College Athletes Can’t Read

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In early 2014, CNN reported that many college athletes read like elementary students. Still, they are receiving scholarships at NASCAR pace.

An astonishing report from CNN reveals that many schools have up to 18 percent of their college athletes in revenue sports reading at an elementary level — some as low as fourth grade.

A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution.CNN

This is a staggering percentage of poor readers, who appear to be getting a pass from higher learning institutions, when it comes to admission and course work. Suspicion of athletes being treated differently by colleges has existed in the K-12 world for years, and the CNN report appears to bear out the suspicion.

Meanwhile, some college athletic conferences are reforming their scholarship programs for college athletes. These reforms, though, doesn’t appear to involve help with reading.

CBS Sports reports that the PAC 12 adopted scholarship reform in 2014.

The Pac-12 voted Monday to adopt a reform package that includes guaranteed four-year athletic scholarships, liberalized transfer rules within the conference and post-graduate medical coverage for all athletes.Jon Solomon

Nothing about helping college athletes improve their reading skills can be found in the PAC 12 reform, at least according to Solomon’s report. Many colleges are protecting college athletes’ scholarships, providing improved medical benefits, and making it easier for college athletes to transfer to new schools.

What’s being done to help athletes who have graduated from high school and still can’t read? The scholarships continue, and the games are played.

Reading? This is an issue that appears to be ignored.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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