Will ed cuts turn off Friday night lights? Video claims high school football is vulnerable
San Antonio Express-News - Gary Scharrer
October 11, 2012
The school funding debate shifts to Texas high school football in a new video highlighting a campaign about the impact education budget cuts are having beyond the classroom.
The video, “Will Our Friday Night Lights Go Out,” is produced by the Progress Texas PAC as part of a campaign the group has launched called “Save Texas Football.”
The video suggests that slashed education funding and public school privatizing have gone so far that Texas traditions like the “Friday Night Lights” are jeopardized.
“I don’t think Texans realize the full extent of damage being done to education and our way of life,” said Progress Texas PAC director Glenn Smith. “Several schools have instituted pay-to-play programs and, in many cases, sports and other extra-curricular activities are simply being eliminated to make up for the loss of state money. People who think football is protected from all of this are simply mistaken.”
The video, which is being distributed to sports writers, political writers and broadcasters around the state, features interviews with two of the actors from the hit TV series, “Friday Night Lights.” Aaron Spivey-Sorrells and Jonathan Palafox were also Texas high school football standouts. Spivey-Sorrells played “Coach Spivey” on the TV program. In addition to his role as “Putnick,” Palafox was a stunt double on the series.
In the video, produced at Satellite Studio Productions of Austin, Spivey said reducing the availability of sports will put many young people into situations where they will have fewer choices and may make bad decisions.
“If you take away sports out of high school,” he said, “Take sports out of the community, next thing you know kids can’t turn anywhere but to do damage, to do wrong, to do bad. I would tell them, face to face, I would say hey, imagine if your child was out there and didn’t have anything to turn to. And he turns to bad. What would you blame it on?”
Save Texas Football also argues in the video that the voucher plan being pushed in the next legislature by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, will further endanger funding for sports and public education. It’s projected that 600,000 students will leave public schools for private or online virtual educations over two years. The reduced enrollment could drain an estimated $1 billion a year from state funding for local districts, complicating current budget problems.