Friday, June 3, 2016

Undervaluing our students

Jimbo Fisher is the head football coach of the Florida State Seminoles.

Last season he earned $3.7 million dollars.

This is not a rant on the perverted senses of our American society that is willing to pay a football coach close to four million dollars a year to coach. No, this is a rant about how we undervalue providing support for students and overvalue providing support for athletes.

Sports Illustrated once wrote a column on Coach Fisher and said the following:

Fisher explained that since taking over (as head coach at Florida State), he had hired a nutritionist to monitor what players ate. He had contracted a mental-conditioning coach to change how players thought. He had inherited two strength-and-conditioning assistants, then hired six more and was on the verge of bringing on a seventh to ensure that players received more individual attention in the weight room. Fisher then asked boosters to dig deep because he needed more. He wanted better dorms for the players and an indoor practice facility. 

I am in the midst of planning my 2016-2017 school district budget. We received a $60 per student increase in per pupil funding. That is a .7% increase from this year.

In my district, I hire first grade teachers and third grade teachers and math and Spanish and Japanese and history teachers and expect them to attend to all of the variety of issues that a first or third or eighth or eleventh grade student brings to the classroom. I do not have the luxury of hiring specialists for every issue that students bring into the classroom.

If a student needs to learn to focus, I expect my teacher to help them do that.

If a student has to get organized, I expect my teacher to help them learn to do that.

If a student needs work on the basics, I expect my teacher to help them with that.

When a college football coaches has a need, they spend money to address it.

When teachers have needs, on the other hand, they get busy fixing the problem.

As the 2015-2016 school year barrels to a close I am once again reminded that teachers do amazing things because we continue to undervalue, under-appreciate, and under-fund our students.

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