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The Arete School Web-a-Thon

In 2008, in association with KGO-TV/ABC 7 in San Francisco, the American Sports Institute produced a day-long web-a-thon, a telethon on the Internet—The Arete School Web-a-Thon.  ASI worked with KGO-TV and KGO-Radio 810 AM to produce video and audio programs that raised awareness and funds for the creation of The Arete School. This was a first-time, web-a-thon effort for both KGOs and ASI.

Hosted on the KGO-TV website, the programs featured topics related to The Arete School, and included prominent figures from higher and K-12 education, sport, government, the arts, social theory, law, and journalism. The topics and programs remain as relevant today as they were in 2008. Here they are:


Education and the Big Picture

The State of California’s Public Schools — Audio
Where California’s public schools stand and what they need to do to improve. Guests include then-California State Senator and current California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and Dr. Marshall Smith, director of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s education program and former Under-Secretary and Acting Deputy Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education.

Students Are Disengaged in America’s Public Schools — Video
While high-performing high school students have great grades, most of them are “chronically disengaged” and simply going through the motions in their academic courses. Guests include Dr. Denise Pope of the Stanford University School of Education, and three advanced-placement students and their parents.

Kids Struggling in School and Dropping Out Are Trying to Tell Us Something — Video
Kids who struggle with school and drop out are often viewed as having problems. However, there may be more to this than meets the eye. These kids may be trying to tell us something that educators have long ignored. Three high school students from the Oakland Unified School District who struggled with school share their experiences.

Exercise Makes You Smarter — Audio
Exercise Makes You Smarter — Audio
Current and emerging research in neuroscience is demonstrating that the more physically active human beings are, the better their brains function; and that without physical activity, not only do our bodies go awry, but so do our brains. Guests include Professor Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, an expert in physiological science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an ASI Advisor; Professor Charles Hillman of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also an ASI Advisor; and John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Arete — Audio
Stephen Miller

Arete is an ancient Greek concept that is interpreted to mean virtue and excellence in body, mind, and spirit. While arete originated with the ancient Greeks, it continues to be a highly-valued principle in Greek culture today. One of the foremost experts on arete is Emeritus Professor Stephen Miller of Classic Archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an ASI Advisor.


Flow — Audio
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow is the rare, heightened, euphoric mental state that is associated with optimal performance, complete focus, a break with awareness of time and self, and feelings of profound satisfaction and fulfillment while engaging in an activity for its own sake. Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont Graduate University, the former chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago, and an ASI Advisor, is the creator of flow theory and has written and lectured extensively on flow.


Flow in Education — Audio
Dave Shernoff

The rare, heightened, euphoric mental state of flow is experienced by athletes, musicians, surgeons, and those from all walks of life. When in flow, a person is engaged in an activity for its own sake, performing at a very high level, completely focused while experiencing a break with awareness of time and self, and has feelings of profound satisfaction and fulfillment. But the flow experience is not just for professionals. It can even be experienced by students in classrooms. Professor David Shernoff of Rutgers University and Northern Illinois University, and an ASI Advisor, is a leading expert on flow in education.


No Homework — Audio
Sara Bennett.

One of the biggest issues in America’s schools today is homework. Is it effective? What impact is it having on families? A movement is afoot to do away with homework, with staunch supporters on both sides of this controversial issue. Sara Bennett is an attorney and, most of all, a concerned parent who started questioning the value of homework when her first-grader started coming home with it. Ms. Bennett is the co- author of The Case Against Homework and the founder of Stop Homework, a project devoted to changing homework policy and practice that is affiliated with The Alliance for Childhood.


Learning and Taking the Game to Another Arena — Audio
Joe Morgan

The lessons learned from playing sports can be applied to just about any other endeavor. Someone who knows this as well as anyone else is baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan. In his 22-year career with five Major League Baseball teams, Morgan won two Most Valuable Player awards and was a key member of the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine of the 1970s. Since retiring after the 1984 season, Morgan has gone on to be a very successful businessman who knows firsthand about how to apply the lessons of baseball to business . . . and to learning.


Purpose and Kids — Audio
William Damon Stanford Professor

Everyone is looking for purpose and meaning in life, for their calling. This may be especially true for kids. Too often, many of America’s youth go through the motions of school and daily life without finding the spark that provides a sense of purpose and meaning. Professor William Damon, director of Stanford University’s Center on Adolescence, and an ASI Advisor, has studied, written, and lectured extensively about this issue, including authoring the book The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life.


The Future of Education — Audio
Alvin Toffler.

Many are concerned about what the future holds for America’s public-school system. Someone who has made a living predicting the future for presidents and prime ministers, top leaders in business, the social sciences, and education is Alvin Toffler. Over the years, Mr. Toffler has written and lectured extensively about education and the changes that need to take place in America’s troubled public-school system. In addition to his consultancy work, and together with his wife Heidi, Mr. Toffler has written such classics as Future Shock, The Third Wave, and Powershift.



Sport and a Larger Arena

The Responsibilites of Professional Athletes and Teams in America to Their Communities and the Nation — Video
The roles and responsibilities of professional athletes and teams seem to be constantly called into question. What are their roles and responsibilities, and are they living up to these standards? Guests include Al Attles, former Golden State Warriors player, coach, and general manager, and an ASI Advisor and Cabinet member; Jennifer Azzi, former Stanford University, Olympic, and WNBA basketball great, and current head coach of the University of San Francisco’s women’s basketball team; Roy Eisenhardt, former president of the Oakland Athletics; and Gwen Knapp, then-sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

What Moms Want for Their Kids from Professional Athletes — Video
We’re all reminded that professional athletes and teams are held to high standards, and are considered role models for our kids. One group that has rarely, if ever, been asked about what they want for their kids from the pro athletes and teams are the moms. Here are three moms of young kids with their views on this issue.

The Fundamentals of Athletic Mastery — Video
Everyone wants to know what it is that makes accomplished people successful. Here are four accomplished sports personalities with their responses. Guests include Jennifer Azzi, former Stanford University, Olympic, and WNBA basketball great, and current head coach of the University of San Francisco’s women’s basketball team; John Doyle, general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team, a former member of the U.S. National Soccer Team, and a former professional soccer player in America and Europe; Brad Gilbert, top-10 ranked pro tennis great, tennis coach, and television commentator, and an ASI Cabinet member; and Tony La Russa, Major-League Baseball Hall-of-Fame manager for the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Fundamentals of Athletic Mastery Are Everywhere on Earth and in the Cosmos — Video
Leonardo da Vinci believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe. In fact, the principles and practices that operate in sport are the same as those in the sciences and arts. Guests include Jennifer Azzi, former Stanford University, Olympic, and WNBA basketball great, and current head coach of the University of San Francisco’s women’s basketball team; astrophysicist and astronomy Professor Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley; Brad Gilbert, top-10 ranked pro tennis great, tennis coach, and television commentator, and an ASI Cabinet member; and Brian Storts, a curator and lecturer at the San Francisco Art Institute.

A Controversial Unwritten Rule in Baseball — Video
Baseball has all sorts of unwritten rules. One of these rules is: If we think you intentionally hit one of our players with a pitch, we’re going to hit one of yours. This revenge-minded, unwritten rule has been a part of professional baseball for decades and is discussed here with Tony La Russa, Major-League Baseball Hall-of-Fame manager for the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals.

A Player’s Manager — Audio
Dusty Baker

Everyone knows that if you want to get the most out of people, you have to know what makes them tick. This is especially true for leaders in all walks of life. Some people have a natural instinct for this, including Dusty Baker, former manager of the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds, and an ASI Advisor and Cabinet member.


Transcending Geopolitics: Iran, America, and Basketball — Audio
dave hein

Despite the world-stage antagonism between Iran and the United States, when it comes to everyday citizens of these two countries, things are quite different. This is particularly true regarding American basketball players playing in Iran, even helping the Iranian national basketball team make it to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Dave Hein of Hein News is an American international sports journalist living in Germany and an ASI contributing writer with some interesting insights into this phenomenon.


Music of the Game — Audio
Omar Vizquel

Are the principles and practices that operate in sport also true for music? Is there some type of connection between the rhythms of these two disciplines? Omar Vizquel is a coach with the Detroit Tigers and an award-winning former Major League Baseball shortstop great who played for six MLB teams. Vizquel is also an accomplished percussionist who speaks quite knowledgeably about the rhythms that baseball and music share.