Its academic

This post is completely a small bit of personal nostalgia. If the phrase “academic quiz” or “It’s Academic” doesn’t register with you, feel free to move on to something more important.

For most of the time I was teaching for the overly-large school district, way back in the past century, I had an extra duty assignment as coach for my high school’s academic quiz team. Usually called It’s Academic after the long-running television show here in the DC area (and elsewhere).

Although it didn’t carry the weight as coaching the football team, and certainly wasn’t compensated at that level, the job was perfect for me. Like me, the kids I was working with were geeks who loved to accumulate odd and trivial knowledge, and demonstrate how to spit it back out as fast as the buzzer system would allow.

I was reminded of all this by a recent segment on the CBS Mornings show. The short piece begins with the reporter recalling his own time on his high school quiz team and then goes on to discuss some history and current process of these activities and how they are facing elimination in many areas as support funds disappear.

While the lack of sponsor money is one factor, I suspect the larger cause of the decline in these programs is a lack of support from schools.

As they continue to narrowing the focus of what kids learn from a broad spectrum of knowledge to only those few topics that will be on the standardized tests.

Anyway, the six-minute or so segment is embedded below. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for indulging this personal geekery.

The really bad picture at the top is my quiz team at a taping of It’s Academic somewhere from the mid 80’s. The smug look on Richard’s face means they probably won. The people in the back are the show’s moderator, a rep from the sponsor, one of my school administrators, and me. Enough laughing.