I wasn't sure which forum to put this thread in since no-cut policies can also apply to activities other than sports but I put it in the Sports and Games forum because this forum could use more activity.
I went to a large, competitive high school known for its excellence in numerous programs ranging from sports to music to theatre. You had to try out for almost every extracurricular activity and many people got 'cut' because they weren't good enough. Heck people even got cut from debate team!
I would have loved to have gone to a smaller high school that wasn't so intensely competitive, where I could have freely participated in just about any activity I desired to without looking like a complete fool.
What do you think about schools implementing a no-cut policy for extracurricular activities? That is, anybody who wants be on a certain sports team, school play, etc. will get to do so?
Here's a list of arguments outlining the pros and the cons of the issue:
One of the biggest arguments against the no-cut policy is that not making the team or getting a part in the school play prepares one to better handle disappointments that are inevitable in the real world. While I see their point, having a no-cut policy by no means ill prepares students to deal with the sometimes harsh reality. What about students who don't get into the college of their choice, fail a test, or get turned down for a date to the prom? There's no way to completely shield anyone from disappointments. Students- especially middle and high school are already at a highly vulnerable stage in their lives. Why add to it?
The real reason I'm greatly in favor of having no-cut policies for schools is that I believe that extra-curricular activities are a good way to become a well rounded individual by building self-confidence and character. They are a way for students to immerse themselves in something constructive rather than doing activities that could have potentially harmful consequences like drugs or unprotected sex or just playing video games all day.
With the increasing rate of childhood obesity, sports can be the ticket to getting kids more in shape if they find one they enjoy playing. Drama and speech can help shy kids get out of their shell. Many activities provide opportunity for leadership. With most extracurricular activities, you need to practice to get good so you also get the benefit of self-discipline. And interestingly enough, making the team doesn't shield you from disappointments. If anything, it can actually help you in a way because your team probably won't win every game, you might not be first string, etc.
Besides, whatever just happened to having fun? Why must schools feel the pressure to be so competitive and always be the best? Must that be more important than denying students to opportunity to pursue what they're interested in just because they might not be the best at it?
Some students are late bloomers and a poor performance at a tryout is not always an accurate indicator of their potential. Sure some students may have more natural talent and some may have to expend more effort but shouldn't all students be given the opportunity to try?
There's kind of a catch-22 in play. The students who aren't as athletically endowed, smaller in size, late developing boys, etc are most likely the ones that don't make the team. As a result, they get denied the opportunity to play and fall even further behind athletically because they aren't getting the change to play. So the following year when they tryout again the odds end up being even more against them.
One downside I do see to a no-cut policy though is even if you make the team, school play, etc., you might not actually get to play much or you might have a very minor part. Sure you're on the team but what fun is it if you're on the bench most of the time? Or if you're in a school play but you're only on the stage for a very small part of the show?
Ideally, I'd like the no-cut policy taken a step further and measures taken to make sure that everyone gets at least a fair amount of playing time. If more schools did this, then the playing field would even itself out. Self-esteem would rise and more students would actually feel like they are contributing something. It still wouldn't totally be equal though. I'm still in favor of giving the best actors the leading roles and the top players in the most key positions but it would be a step in the right direction.
My high school drama program was intensely competitive but they did award persistence. They wouldn't allow students to be turned away more than three times. Eventually the student would be placed in some role. It may not be much but if they really wanted to be in a school play and were willing to keep trying, they would get something.