Does competition have any useful role in schools?

This topic has come up in several thoughtful posts and articles this week. Two of them were written by educators whom I have frequently quoted here: The Disadvantages of Competitive Learning is by Nancy Flanagan at Education Week and 5 Reasons to Rethink Awards Ceremonies is by Chris Wejr.

I tend to agree with their critiques. And in the public policy realm, there’s little question that the Trump Administration’s pushing of vouchers as a form of competition is and will be destructive to education (see The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea and The Best Posts & Articles Explaining Why Schools Should Not Be Run Like Businesses).

I was also intrigued, however, by a new article in Harvard Business Review that raised some interesting points about competition. It’s titled The Pros and Cons of Competition Among Employees, and here’s an excerpt:

I use games a fair amount in the classroom, and they’re always good-natured, low-stakes, and students are divided into teams. Those seem to fit that definition of generating “excitement” and not “anxiety.”

I’m just wondering if readers have any other thoughts on how competition is, and can be, constructively used in schools in other ways?