I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as a judge at a UIL Regional Academic meet involving schools from 15 districts scattered across a big portion of the state. As I sat and watched the students and the traffic I could not help but want to bang my head in frustration. Why is that school districts do not see the big picture?
Observation #1 A large well known school system that has name recognition everywhere sends their academic students on a bus ride of 3 hours to the Regional meet. Problem.... Well this school tends to send their athletes even on trips of under 40 miles in very nice charter buses. They sent their academic students on a 3 hour ride in a bus that looked like it was repossessed from a junk yard.
Hmmm I think that district just told their students - academics do not really matter. It might also be why they got their butt kicked in nearly every contest they entered. When the students competing see themselves as not mattering to the district - they do not tend to perform well. Congratulations **ISD - your message was heard loud and clear. This mentality might also explain your recent TAKS scores. You are 0 for 2 in the common sense department.
Observation#2 Why is it that one step away from competing for state title, that administrators choose not to show up for even the send off to tell the students good luck. Show up at the actual contest and visit the students and let them know they have support.... yea - like that is going to happen. Well it does when it is a 1st round playoff game 150 miles from home in any sport. Then you can't walk without tripping over an administrator or two. Far be it from school administrators to be seen backing the academic students...or the coaches who pour their lives into working with these students.
Hmmmm This too might explain the outcome of performances of students who feel like no one cares if they make it.
Obervation #3 Why are there people assigned duty as academic coaches who never work with their students and yet continue to be paid a stipend? Why is it that the stipend for academic coaches is miniscule on a per hour basis compared to athletic coaches? Why are there so many clueless school boards about these issues?
HMMM let me see
Lets pick a sport like football.
Coach is one sport coach. Outside the normal school calendar 10 days work
In season - lets figure an additional 26 hours a week of work
Make it 2 rounds on playoffs
13 weeks at 26hours = 388 hours plus summer days - say 550 hours outside the school day.
Stipend - 5500$ = 10$ an hour - lot of work for that pay
Now take an academic coach who travels 12 weekends to contests with an average day being from 7am to 5 pm - take out lunch provided - and call it 9 hours
12 x 9 hours - 108 hours
Same teacher practices with their students 1 hour a week outside class time for 12 weeks. I know teachers who spend 2 hours a week all year with their students.
12 x 1 = 12 hours
Same teacher travels to regionals and spends another 12-16 hours
16 + 12 +108 = 136 hours
If paid at same rate of $10 - the teacher should have a stipend of $1360
I know teachers who put in that kind of hours and more and received ....
$250 a year - $1.83 an hour.
District message - Athletic coaches are 8 times more valuable than academic coaches. (Check out who produces the most scholarship winners)
To put it in perspective - my school district pays people $18 an hour to run Saturday school - 4 hours per Saturday. Work 16 hours and make more than an academic coach.
So babysitters are 10 times more valuable than academic coaches.
Then pay that same $250 to the coach who never practiced and spent less than 8 hours with the students - and lazy people are now 20+ times more valuable than academic coaches.
Yea ....this is why the students do not get excited....cause no one else does.
Please note - I have nothing against athletics - I see the long hard hours coaches put in. I am just saying that whatever amount that works out to per hour - should be the same paid to anyone who spends time outside the school day working with students.
Most cities - make it to the playoffs in anything and there will be something on front page of the news.
Qualify 20 students to Regional Academics in any town small or large and it will not even make most newspapers.
For the record - UIL Academic scholarships given out each year - Exceed the budget of all but very large universities academic scholarship budgets.
For every athlete who goes D1 in any sport to any school in Texas, there is at least 1 or more students going to D1 schools on academic scholarships through UIL.
I heard a group of students wanting to charter a limousine for a 90 mile ride to the Regional meet. Talk about intimidating the opposition. That might be one very fun fundraiser to look into.
Maybe someday - common sense will return to administrators....tho it seems that sometimes - the worst seem to just continue floating upward...
if you have an answer - please share - I would love to know how to fix this mindset.