Failing grade for education system in Walla case
Once again, a surplus of rules has resulted in a deficit of common sense.The case of Kristin Walla, an unusually gifted Aspen High School golfer, seems to have been settled, but not in a way that serves any real purpose.Walla, a three-time Class 4A Western Slope Regional Tournament champion, has asked to play with the boys team this season, where she can play longer courses, compete against stronger players and thus improve her skills. She was barred from doing so by a Colorado High School Activities Association rule that bars girls from playing on boys teams if the school offers a girls program as well. Such is the case at Aspen High, which has a long-standing boys golf team and a two-year-old girls team that has struggled to find enough members to compete.The Aspen School District sympathizes with Walla and has asked the CHSAA for a waiver allowing Walla to compete with the boys. But the request was denied, and rules are rules.That leaves the high school with a better chance of fielding a girls golf team in the spring, but it also leaves a talented golf player with limited prospects for advancing her skills during the coming academic year. If the idea behind education, and behind high school athletics, is to further children’s knowledge, skills and aspirations, then this situation looks an awful lot like a failure.Kristin Walla should not bear the responsibility for fielding an Aspen High girls golf team in the spring. If the boys don’t mind having her on their squad, then she should be allowed to play with them.The Aspen School District’s hands are tied in this matter by state rules. And the state won’t make an exception.Is anyone at the state level asking about the real value of this rule?Colorado elected officials claim to honor “local control,” but common-sense decision-making is being barred in this case by a dubious rule imposed from above.
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