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August 9, 2007 2:28 PM   Subscribe

High School Coaches outearning High School Teachers Texas high school football coaches in Class 5A and 4A schools (that's 950 students or more) earn an average salary of $73,804, while the average salary for teachers in those same schools is about $42,400. But hey, those Texas football teams are pretty darn good!
posted by CameraObscura (180 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The football coaches GENERATE revenue for the school, no?
posted by jonson at 2:31 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, if it's only about generating income, why aren't they paying the players?

Football is an extracurricular activity- the whole purpose of going to high school is to get an education. Extracurriculars- of any kind- should be SECONDARY to that.
posted by headspace at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, if it's only about generating income, why aren't they paying the players?

Hey, if it's all for the better good, why pay the teachers at all?

Seriously, the teacher's pay is a by-product of the athletics program, complaining that the athletics program is too well funded is a non-starter. The athletics program isn't "funded", it's like complaining that complaining that driving work costs too much so I'm just gonna stop going.
posted by jonson at 2:38 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's ignorant to suggest that teams sports have no educational value. Or to suggest that regular teachers would be paid more if coaches were paid less. But don't let that get in the way of some sports-bashing.

(as an aside, my local high school football team here in LA got to the state playoffs last year, only to have their asses handed to them by John Curtis, the number two team on the list)
posted by ColdChef at 2:40 PM on August 9, 2007


This hardly comes as a surprise. Coaches in state universities often make more than the presidents of the schools they coach for. Not only brings in money but also "prestige," we are told, and that helps get budges for education passed.
posted by Postroad at 2:42 PM on August 9, 2007


Don't worry, the Texas schools are gonna be just fine.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:45 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


The football coaches GENERATE revenue for the school, no?

At the high school level? Absolutely not. A packed field on a Friday night might seem like some majestic sort of windfall, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the outlays for space, equipment, transportation, and all that important stuff.

Then again, the same thing is true for Division I universities.

And in some cases, coaches get to double dip since they teach a health and wellness class once in a while.

Personally, I think sports are an important extracurricular for high school kids. I just think that if parents want the best coaches and equipment, they should pay extra out of their own pockets. As somebody with no kids, it's a complete waste of my tax money. School is for education, and maybe a little bit of fun beyond that. High school coaches making 80K? That's ridiculous. I don't believe in socialized sports.
posted by bardic at 2:47 PM on August 9, 2007


(I'm actually sympathetic to the argument that D-I coaches should make more than tenured profs. College-level sports are money-makers for universities. But this type of math doesn't work at the high school level.)
posted by bardic at 2:48 PM on August 9, 2007


The football coaches GENERATE revenue for the school, no?

No. You're thinking of NCAA Division I football.

I never knew had crazy this stuff was until I read "Friday Night Lights". IIRC the Permian Panther's athletic tape budget was greater than the English department's supply budget (and don't get me started on chartering an airliner to ferry players to a high school football game). It's all about priorities I guess.
posted by MikeMc at 2:50 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


Cypress-Fairbanks ISD's new $75 million high school stadium complex is currently under construction in Northwest Harris County (northwest of Houston TX). Yep, nice to see where educational priorities are.
posted by zek at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I read an implied judgement that this is a bad situation, but maybe you don't mean to imply that. It might have to do with the relative supplies of football coaches vs regular high school teachers, as opposed to being a statement of their relative worth.
posted by GuyZero at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2007


bardic & MikeMc, did you read the linked article?

"Ennis High School Superintendent Mike Harper defends football coach Sam Harrell's salary (the largest among high school coaches) by saying that the football program has brought in at least $200K for the each of past five years." Drop in the bucket or not, you could pretty much pay the coach $150K of that 200K and still end up cash positive.
posted by jonson at 2:52 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a teacher, I'm 100% in favor of sports getting as much funding as needed. One, the athletics themselves are very important for the kids (as are other extracurricular activities: drama and arts are just as key, but face facts: they don't have the same visibility as sports. That's just life.) Two, from a PR standpoint, winning teams and a state-level athletic program make district voters much more likely to vote for bond issues, increased millages, etc. Win-win all around.

Disclaimer: I'm a total klutz, and there are four-year-old girls who care about and know more about sports than I ever will. But education in this country is, to a large part, all about politics.
posted by John of Michigan at 2:53 PM on August 9, 2007


"It's ignorant to suggest that teams sports have no educational value."
Yes, one can learn all kinds of things like...sports and...gang rape.
posted by 2sheets at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


A good number of my fellow students in Mathematics classes at school were studying Math Ed with a minor in PE, and hoping to teach math and coach athletics. It often seemed they were not the best mathematicians, but after reading this, I see now that perhaps they were simply working on a superior set of problems.
posted by weston at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


You're forgetting booster support. Local businesses. They pour a lot of money into the school system via the sports teams. And sports provide a valuable place for a lot of kids to go to after school. Yadda yadda, if you played sports then you know their benefit. Plus, there are assistant coaches on those teams that probably get paid $30K a year or less and work pretty much full time. Comparing the head coach of a highly successful HS football team to teachers is silly - it'd be more appropriate to compare them to a principal. Stress and hours are probably a lot more similar.
posted by billysumday at 2:58 PM on August 9, 2007


The football coaches GENERATE revenue for the school, no?

Kinda like saying you're betting on the jockeys, isn't it?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised to find out that some of those coaches are more qualified, know more about football, than some of the teachers know about their academic disciplines. I'm not sure what that means, either.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:00 PM on August 9, 2007


So it's not surprising that Ennis High School Superintendent Mike Harper defends football coach Sam Harrell's salary (the largest among high school coaches) by saying that the football program has brought in at least $200K for the each of past five years.

Does that $200K revenue even cover expenses? I didn't see any conclusion as to whether the football program generated a net profit or loss (or was even revenue neutral).
posted by MikeMc at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2007


It's occurring to me that this is one of the detriments of the teacher unions. A great HS coach can climb the ladder, so to say, and end up making a healthy income for himself. A fantastic teacher, on the other hand, is stuck in the same pay-scale graduation as a mediocre teacher. A mediocre football coach, on the other hand, would get fired and go back to teaching P.E., or math.
posted by billysumday at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2007


My high school principal was discovered to have been funneling way too much money into the football program for many years, while the other school programs suffered.

Sports programs can bring money into schools. But that money often goes right back into the sports programs, and the departments that need funding never see a dime of it.
posted by Shecky at 3:08 PM on August 9, 2007


This just doesn't bother me at all.

Coaches also work a lot more hours than teachers, and many of those hours are extraordinarily inconvenient.

It annoys me when I see academics claiming that sports have no/little value. This is the same argument that causes art and music programs to get cut, but you just don't see it because you didn't happen to find a sport you liked.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 3:08 PM on August 9, 2007


Football coaches generally have more of a long-term impact on the lives of the kids than your average classroom teacher. They're mentors in a lot of life skills.
I think that's worth paying for.
posted by rocket88 at 3:11 PM on August 9, 2007


"Ennis High School Superintendent Mike Harper defends football coach Sam Harrell's salary (the largest among high school coaches) by saying that the football program has brought in at least $200K for the each of past five years."

Color me skeptical. $200K gross? Possibly. Net? When you consider how many invisible things go into a succesful football program? I really doubt it.

There are D-I football programs that don't make 200K/year (showing up on national television and such). Don't tell me a high school football program does.
posted by bardic at 3:20 PM on August 9, 2007


I wouldn't be surprised to find out that some of those coaches are more qualified, know more about football, than some of the teachers know about their academic disciplines. I'm not sure what that means, either.

It means high school teachers aren't paid well enough to care about the academic disciplines corresponding to the classes they teach.
posted by voltairemodern at 3:23 PM on August 9, 2007


You're forgetting booster support. Local businesses. They pour a lot of money into the school system via the sports teams.

Which is great, but the question remains -- why socialized sports? If everybody loves the foosball squad, then they should have no trouble raising money for their equipment (football equipment being the most expensive kind) and a high coaches' salary on their own.

Why should my tax dollars operate as seed money for this kind of thing?

And believe me, for any single high school program that my turn a net profit, there are at least 20 that don't.

If ever there was a case for privatization, this is it. Go team! But don't expect me to pay for it! (Whereas, I like the idea that my tax dollars go towards hopefully turning out a decent, employable young adult.)
posted by bardic at 3:24 PM on August 9, 2007


A mediocre football coach, on the other hand, would get fired and go back to teaching P.E., or math.

Some of them end up in the NFL. Seriously.
posted by bardic at 3:25 PM on August 9, 2007


Coaches also work a lot more hours than teachers, and many of those hours are extraordinarily inconvenient.

I take it you've never graded a stack of 80 essays or exams.
posted by bardic at 3:26 PM on August 9, 2007 [7 favorites]


I'm with MikeMc That number sounds impressive but, 1) I find it difficult to believe, and conversely I find it very easy to believe that the school administration would fudge numbers on behalf of their football team, and 2) how much of that supposed $200k that the sports "earned" for the school went to fund anything but the sports program? Did any of that money buy books for the library, or computers for the classrooms, or anything else actually related to education?

I've got nothing against extracurricular activities, but I do have something against forgetting that the purpose of a school is the curricular activities.

To me this seems to be a reflection of the general anti-intellectualism found in America. The teachers, you know the ones who work to teach the kids how to read, do math, etc, get paid less than a coach? WTF man?

I'll admit that I don't like sports in general, and I find football in particular to be one of the singularly most boring and tedious activities ever to be broadcast on national television. However, I also acknowledge that its a matter of taste and I certainly won't say that football, even in high school, should be abolished. But I do think it should be reprioritized.

Further I'll argue that its not a good idea to spend more per student on football than you spend per student on band, or theatre, or debate, or any other extracurricular activities. Naturally, if parents, the community, etc chose to donate equipment or money to the football program that's their choice, but spending more on football (per student) then you spend (per student) on other activities seems like a bad idea, and one designed to, in essence, say "yeah, all that nerdy egghead bullshit isn't important, what's important is to spend a fortune on 11 of our biggest and strongest male students regardless of their intellectual achievement!"

Rocket88 wrote "Football coaches generally have more of a long-term impact on the lives of the kids than your average classroom teacher. They're mentors in a lot of life skills."

I'm going to call bullshit on that. While you might successfully argue that the coaches have more impact on the 11 members of the football team than other teachers do, what about the 99% of students who don't play football? Sorry, I forgot, they don't count, right?

Also, I'm going to call bullshit on the entire concept. What, exactly, do these magic coaches you believe in pass on? How to tackle someone? Yup, that's going to come in handy in real life.
posted by sotonohito at 3:27 PM on August 9, 2007 [7 favorites]


Coaches in Texas are paid too much and afforded way too much leniency. Often coaches in a Texas high school can get away with things for which a normal teacher would get fired and strung up in the national press.

The opportunities for sexual offenses are more numerous for a coach, yet often coaches do not receive more scrutiny than the teaching staff, even in cases where they have been implicated or accused multiple times.

It's all anecdotal, but I have had access to a few school board members over the years. It's pretty obvious in some schools that athletes are the recipients of special benefits and there's little reason not to expect that sort of social power to extend to the better paid "revenue generating" coaching staff.

My little brother's high school has 13 members on the football coaching staff.

Promoting athleticism is fine, but in many Texas high schools sports programs go beyond athleticism to create a culture of jingoism, cronyism, and corruption. When this happens the sports programs become detrimental to the educational and social goals of public education.
posted by polyhedron at 3:27 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


God, I graduated from Plano Senior High School, in Plano TX, in June of 1991.

Our football coach made $55,000 a year without have to teach any other classes.

I left that city and state in July of 1991.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 3:32 PM on August 9, 2007


Football coaches generally have more of a long-term impact on the lives of the kids than your average classroom teacher.

Playing football is mandatory for boys and girls?

Eh, I'm starting to sound like the hippie with the sign saying "Wouldn't it be great if the Pentagon had to hold a bake-sale for every new bomb they build?" or something like that. Let me try to summarize my position and I'll shut up.

I think high school sports are a good thing, in general. It's telling though that we're only talking about football, a sport that girls don't/can't play, meaning that any potential educational and/or intangible bonus is pretty much limited to half of a given student body, right off the top (and hardly a new issue).

A given coach, who's good at what he or she does, deserves to be paid well, maybe even more than a starting-level teacher. But people are forgetting the many costs involved here -- having taught high school (granted, it was a private school, but I think some things are pretty much the same), I can assure you that even if a team wins every game and sells lots of tickets, I really doubt more than a handful of high school programs make a net profit after expenditures for equipment, transportation, insurance, infrastructure and the like. There are D-I football programs, many of them actually, who don't even break even. Don't tell me that a substantive number of high school programs are a financial boon for their schools.

In the zero-sum game of public education, teachers should be making more than they do now. If this means a sports program needs to cut back, in the same way that teachers already have to cut back when it comes to using shitty, beat-up texts, bad equipment and the like, teachers and/or educational priorities should come first. This is my strong opinion as both someone who thinks most American kids are really fucking dumb, unfortunately, and someone who pays taxes but doesn't have kids, meaning your favorite high school football team sucks. Seriously, why not just go all-out and get Nike to fund the squad, like they pretty much do with high-profile basketball programs? Why should we have socialized football? If you love it so much, pay for it yourself. The public school infrastructure is already providing "the talent," so to speak. Why do we have to pay for you to charter jets and the like?

/rant off
/and I've never lived in Texas, and I realize it's a big part of the culture there.
posted by bardic at 3:37 PM on August 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder if we would even have high schools here in Texas were it not for football.
posted by Avenger at 3:54 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


My little brother's school pays the head football coach six digits, but their team has struggled to win more than a couple games per season. I already mentioned they have 13 members of the football coaching staff.

They don't have a computer science teacher, and a few years before he started there I saw their AP results. Of the 150ish tests taken, less than 10 students received a 3 or better (pass) and only one of those passed anything other than the Art History AP exam.
posted by polyhedron at 4:01 PM on August 9, 2007


I dimly recall getting flamed out in high school when I suggested that the $20,000 for our big new lights for the football field might be better spent on replacing my tape-bound math books. I know calculus doesn't exactly change much at the high school level, but I'm real big on books with all of their pages.

I sat under those lights, on the bleachers, and those missing pages never did show up.
posted by adipocere at 4:01 PM on August 9, 2007 [4 favorites]



At the high school level? Absolutely not. A packed field on a Friday night might seem like some majestic sort of windfall, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the outlays for space, equipment, transportation, and all that important stuff.

Then again, the same thing is true for Division I universities.


This is a bit of a derail, for which I apologize. If I read your statement right you are saying that Division 1 athletics don't contribute significantly to a school's budget, and you couldn't be wronger about that if your ass was on backwards. Some Division 1 schools football teams alone contribute $5 to $10 million dollars annually to the school's coffers. And I'm not talking about Alabama or Florida either, for those schools it's more like $20 million. It's pretty much fact the men's football and basketball teams pay for every other sport, from coaches on down to trainers and everything in between. Sources here.

Back on topic. Salaries of teachers and coaches are as subject to supply and demand as anything else. It costs X amount to get a first-rate football coach, so that's what they get paid. It costs Y amount to get a decent English teacher (more of them than qualified football coaches, no?) so that's what they get paid. In the state of Washington, the four highest paid state employees are UW's football coach, WSU's football coach, UW's basketball coach, and WSU's basketball coach. And they're all paid the market rate for their field.
posted by vito90 at 4:04 PM on August 9, 2007


Which is great, but the question remains -- why socialized sports?

No kidding. I (and by me, I mean my parents) paid a shitload every semester so I could be on our crew team. You want expensive? Try bussing 30+ kids every day of the week, $35,000 boats, as well as paying a men's and women's coach. We didn't get a dime from the school - it was either out of pocket, or raised on the backs of our free time.

Coaches also work a lot more hours than teachers, and many of those hours are extraordinarily inconvenient.

Do you know any teachers? The teachers I know work 10-12 hour days AT WORK, and then come home and grade assignments. Also, since when is the differential for working non-standard hours 100%? I'm working an evening shift tonight. Maybe I should ask my boss for a raise...
posted by god hates math at 4:10 PM on August 9, 2007


Okay, maybe I'm just reading the article wrong, but it looks like they are taking the average head coach's salary and stacking it up against the average teacher's salary. Now that seems imbalanced to begin with because I'm sure you have to be a teacher for many years before you get a shot at a head coaching job, so of course your salary is going to be higher. Not to mention that it's pretty standard, from what I've been told, that teachers who advise things like drama, band, etc. get some added compensation on top of their normal salary for the added time commitment.

Now nearly all the coaches in my high school were PE teachers, so that added bonus seems completely unfair due to the lack of grading involved. But it's up to the teachers unions to make that decision. If we started paying teachers by the hour, English teachers would be the highest paid by far.
posted by crashlanding at 4:16 PM on August 9, 2007


On preview, Coaches also work a lot more hours than teachers, and many of those hours are extraordinarily inconvenient. Oh, 10am on a Saturday for a game how awful. Tell that to my mom who has been up until 2 or 3am every night for the last thirty years grading papers.
posted by crashlanding at 4:18 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


the first thing i noticed when i moved to the part of texas i now live in is how dumb everyone is.

this is just another helpful tool in explaining why.
posted by dopamine at 4:23 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Coaches also work a lot more hours than teachers, and many of those hours are extraordinarily inconvenient.

Oh bless you - that's priceless! (Took me five minutes to get all the goop off the monitor...)

You are kidding, right? Right?
posted by speug at 4:23 PM on August 9, 2007


It annoys me when I see academics claiming that sports have no/little value. This is the same argument that causes art and music programs to get cut, but you just don't see it because you didn't happen to find a sport you liked.

Sports can have a lot of value in an education system. However, there are many sports other than football in the world (many of which, I would say, can have much more value than football). What if you happen to find a sport you like that isn't football (and thus is barely (or more likely not at all)) funded?
posted by ssg at 4:23 PM on August 9, 2007


Some Division 1 schools football teams alone contribute $5 to $10 million dollars annually to the school's coffers.

Some do, a lot don't. And as mentioned, much of that money goes back into the sports program.

Thing is, D-I sports don't bother me that much. Your average tenured prof is always going to make 1/10 of what the football and basketball coach makes, but we're only a few decades away from these schools admitting that their sports programs are about making money, not about "scholar athletes." (The hypocrisy of uni presidents who love to babble on about their talented
scholar athletes
? That bothers me.)

Back on topic. Salaries of teachers and coaches are as subject to supply and demand as anything else. It costs X amount to get a first-rate football coach, so that's what they get paid. It costs Y amount to get a decent English teacher (more of them than qualified football coaches, no?) so that's what they get paid. In the state of Washington, the four highest paid state employees are UW's football coach, WSU's football coach, UW's basketball coach, and WSU's basketball coach. And they're all paid the market rate for their field.

This is a ridonkulous argument. In terms of demand, teachers are needed because, under law, American kids have to go to high school. (Who knows? Maybe they shouldn't. Different thread.) Kids don't have to play football, nor join the pep squad, or play in the marching band. Again, comparing the college and high school situations is interesting, but ultimately pretty bogus. If State U. has a trillion dollar endowment, frankly, they can spend their money the way they want to. Fact is, State and County Tax-Drain High doesn't have that kind of a cushion. Throwing six figures at a single coach means that they won't be able to hire a comp. sci. dude, or repair the ceiling, or buy some instruments for the music program.

And again, even if Tax-Drain High did have oodles of cash, it's my cash. And our priority should be to make our dumb kids less abysmally dumb, not make the football heroes.
posted by bardic at 4:24 PM on August 9, 2007


also, we had to row against the current. BOTH WAYS. AND IT WAS SNOWING. I know I sound crochety. Oh well.

I'm sure you have to be a teacher for many years before you get a shot at a head coaching job

Oh, if only. I'm going to spread out into other sports in addition to football, but it's not uncommon for people well-qualified for a teaching job to be passed over for someone who can coach a team. And that's for the coaching positions that are filled by teachers (not many, when I was at my high school)
posted by god hates math at 4:25 PM on August 9, 2007


*not make them football heroes

speaking of abysmally dumb
posted by bardic at 4:29 PM on August 9, 2007


god hates math writes I'm going to spread out into other sports in addition to football, but it's not uncommon for people well-qualified for a teaching job to be passed over for someone who can coach a team. And that's for the coaching positions that are filled by teachers (not many, when I was at my high school)

That was definitely the case in private school. I'd kind of hoped it wasn't that way in public schools. Silly me.
posted by bardic at 4:30 PM on August 9, 2007


Oh yes, that's right. Science, music, art, literature--the best that humanity has to offer--are just not as important for our children as watching other students chase balls around. What utter bullshit. And I can tell you, a lot of those teams *don't* win--so what happens to all that money outlay that won't be recovered? Can you justify spending say 50k on a losing team as opposed to 50k in supplies? Would *most* schools show a net loss or gain if they cut sports programs, and all the associated transport, salary, and equipment costs, entirely?

Sports are great. But they are not going to be nearly as useful and important to 99% of students as literature, science, math, or even art. I hate the fetishization of sports culture in our schools, and it should go. Make it intramural, let the parents and kids who want it do it on their own time, and quit spending school dollars on it.
posted by emjaybee at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


English doesn't win championships.
posted by klangklangston at 4:41 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


So tell me -- exactly what do you learn from a team sport (as opposed to physical fitness training) that you can use later in life?

My encounters with ex-jocks have been almost uniformly dismal; aggressive, arrogant people who wear their ignorance as a badge of pride.

Is it really worth giving up music, arts, much of science for that?!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:42 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


Generate revenue? If what your kids get at school (new stadium, yes; new books, no) depends on PR and market forces and bake sales and gung ho daddies yelling in the stands, your system's fucked up. There shouldn't be such a market for football coaches.

There's nothing football teaches a kid that he can't learn through other activities that aren't sex-segregated bash fests and don't require stadiums and special trips out of town.

Good books and lots of homework and lots of class time (at least 8 hours + lunch + breaks) with well-paid teachers have to come first. Then extracurricular activities in which all students can participate more equally and that teach skills a bit higher above the grunt level. After that, if Junior has the time and his parents want to buy him the helmet, Junior can go out to the park and knock over other boys.
posted by pracowity at 4:43 PM on August 9, 2007


That's nothing - when I was in high school in the 80's ( In Texas), we were 3A. We won state a few years in a row, undefeated and with only a few points scored against us the whole season..... and so they killed the arts programs and boosted the coach's salary.

He was making close to 80,000 20 years ago - and left the town because he got a better offer.

Sad, really.
posted by bradth27 at 4:44 PM on August 9, 2007


English doesn't win championships.

Unpossible!
posted by bardic at 4:48 PM on August 9, 2007


I take it you've never graded a stack of 80 essays or exams.

My sister is a public school teacher. I seriously considered becoming a physics professor. I know what the hours are.

I'd ask you to talk to your school's football coach and ask about games, practices, summer football camp, training and all the litany of things he deals with every day, but I won't.

I won't because you've already proven that you're an intellectual wonk who thinks their job is harder than the football coaches, and thinks they are superior, simply because your task is nerdier.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:00 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tell that to my mom who has been up until 2 or 3am every night for the last thirty years grading papers.

Either:
a) Your mom teaches only in the afternoon,
b) She takes naps after school,
c) She's a colossal twat who overworks her students, or
d) You are exaggerating.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:04 PM on August 9, 2007


Oh bless you - that's priceless! (Took me five minutes to get all the goop off the monitor...)

You are kidding, right? Right?


No. I'm not.

Teachers get the summer off, coaches don't.

Teachers get their weekends to themselves, coaches don't.

Coaches do a lot more work than teachers realize, but hey... you wouldn't know that because you're a teacher.. you know how hard English or Music or History are... but you're "above" Football, so you don't bother understanding how complex that game is.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:05 PM on August 9, 2007


Tell that to my mom who has been up until 2 or 3am every night for the last thirty years grading papers.

What's your mom's number?
posted by billysumday at 5:09 PM on August 9, 2007


I hate coaches AND teachers.

There. Someone had to say it.
posted by bradth27 at 5:15 PM on August 9, 2007


Teachers get the summer off, coaches don't.

Ah, and you're an idiot to boot.

By law, high school programs can't practice during the summer. Not in an organized fashion at least. Those two-a-days don't start until mid-August.

I'll admit coaches put in time during the summer, but as much as, probably less than, teachers. The expectations on me were pretty high for the summer including a) attending pedagogy and subject conferences, b) doing the summer reading for all four grades, 9-12, and then coming up with lesson plans for each, c) the occasional last-minute rec letter for whatever reason, d) planning meetings every few weeks, which were pretty much bullshit but I had to be there.

Sorry, but you're dealing with someone who's actually taught, not someone who "thought about it." And again, coaches put in the hours as well, but not in a way that would justify a competent one making three times as much as a competent teacher.

Also, you do realize that football season lasts four months, not nine, correct?
posted by bardic at 5:15 PM on August 9, 2007


I lived with my dad awhile back, who teaches elementary school. He usually left the house a bit before 6 and got home a little after 6. Most nights there was an hour or so of grading papers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:16 PM on August 9, 2007


Ha! I went to Cy-Fair schools K-12. I'm completely unsurprised by the messed up priorities there. Even other sports got the shaft. My high school had state-championship teams in volleyball and water polo when I was there, but we always heard more about our (perpetually losing, lame) football team. Their coaches were the ones who got all the money, and their stadium is the one that's being rebuilt.
And when my friends and I asked why International Baccalaureate classes weren't offered at our school, the principal and counselors asked us what that was.
So, yes, High School Coaches outearning High School Teachers. And in other news, the sky is blue and rain is wet.
posted by katemonster at 5:17 PM on August 9, 2007


But really, here you are bashing public school teachers, probably one of the most under-valued members of society.

The best and the brightest, broadly speaking, eh?
posted by Kwantsar at 5:17 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


And again, even if Tax-Drain High did have oodles of cash, it's my cash. And our priority should be to make our dumb kids less abysmally dumb, not make the football heroes.

I agree with you 110%.

But you have to make the case to the voters of that school district. As far as I can tell, Texas schools are controlled locally just like schools everywhere else in America. Local voters have decided, either by conscious choices at the voting booth or by passively allowing this state of affairs to continue, that the football team is, in fact, more important to them than new textbooks or world-class educational standards.

I suppose you could cite this wage disparity as a reason why American schools should not be under local control but I suspect you'd have an easier time convincing Texas voters to cut funds for the football team than you would convincing Americans to abolish local school boards and submit their schools to centralized control.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:23 PM on August 9, 2007


Most everyone here has been circumspect and balanced

What thread are you reading? This clusterfuck is full of nerdy sports haters who can't get over their high school gym class trauma.
posted by rocket88 at 5:23 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kwantsar, are you saying that because our public schools do a pretty bad job of teaching kids (I agree) at a very high cost to tax-payers (I definitely agree), the answer is to pay football coaches six-figure salaries and just de-fund the rest of the school?

Honestly, I've got a pretty wide libertarian streak in some regards to public schooling -- I don't think vouchers would be the worst idea ever, to name one example. I know for a fact, however, that socialized football programs are a waste of our resources.

You and TAPG can slag teachers all you want (/gold clap). Neither of you has made even a half-decent argument for spending millions of dollars on programs that benefit a relative minority of high school kids (the male ones who are big enough to suit up).
posted by bardic at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2007


Tacos....when it comes to teaching/grading it really depends on the subject. As far as being a Physics Prof. I LAUGH at the notion that you would spend half the amount of time a high school teacher would on teaching/grading. Doing research, now that's another matter all together.

As for your sister, what does she teach? Does she teach English or does she teach PE. It may surprise you that there's a slight difference in the time commitment.

As far as coaching goes, all my high school coaches had a full day of watching kids play volleyball poorly while they stood around doing nothing. I'm sorry they have to stay after school for two hours doing something they most likely enjoy.
posted by crashlanding at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2007


What thread are you reading? This clusterfuck is full of nerdy sports haters who can't get over their high school gym class trauma.

Thank you!! This was my take on it, exactly!

It's like these people decided in high school that sports are useless, and then never bothered to learn the vast array of useful skills that are required to succeed in sport, nor to contemplate how many of those skills are useful in real life.

A prime example is bardic, who is obscenely upset, claiming that I am "slagging" teachers by saying that coaches have a hard job. This claim only makes sense if bardic believes that sports are easy and useless. Or at least easier than what bardic teaches.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2007


Wow, this got uglier than I expected faster than I expected.

On the one hand we have a group of people who appear to deny that this state of affairs is problematic. On the other, we have a group of people who feel otherwise. Now we have the basis for a conversation! Awesome.

Here's a reset: what happens if, say, the Department of Education says that you have to hold your academic funding to certain levels. Say you have to spend $X per student, or you have to have a certain amount per class for supplies in a science class? (As an aside, this is basic stuff. It should be done on the state level, but clearly it isn't being done. If you can't have recent texts and your teachers are going to wal-mart to buy vinegar and baking soda for science class, you're doing something wrong.) What happens to the money that gets shifted from athletics to academics now? Do you want to raise property taxes to make up the difference?

The reason I ask this is not to say "put your money where your mouth is," although I do say that, but instead to say, what if you had no choice to make academics a priority? Would you still care so much?

(By the way, I am a total nerdy sports hater who can't get over my gym class traumas! I also played 3 sports in high school and was fairly successful in debate. Woah.)
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2007


As far as coaches not getting summer off HAHAHAHHAHA. Yeah, they may run a week long camp...a camp which they are MORE than well compensated for.
posted by crashlanding at 5:32 PM on August 9, 2007


You argued that they don't do any work.

You're a teacher. Cite your source.

Oh right, you can't because I didn't write that.

F-, you fail.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:32 PM on August 9, 2007


[a few comments removed - CHILL with the screw you namecalling or take it to MeTa pronto]
posted by jessamyn at 5:32 PM on August 9, 2007


what bardic said.
posted by zardoz at 5:33 PM on August 9, 2007


bardic, I think you present a bit of a false dilemma, here, as the money that goes to football coaches would not necessarily go to teachers. Even if it did, I'm not sure the spend would generate much of a return.

And of course (to me) socialized football programs are a waste of our resources! So is somewhere between 20%-99% of everything else we spend tax dollars on.

Mostly, I enjoy heating on teachers-- for about a million reasons.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:34 PM on August 9, 2007


Neither of you has made even a half-decent argument for spending millions of dollars on programs that benefit a relative minority of high school kids (the male ones who are big enough to suit up).

As I noted in one of my posts, there is a possibility to have a discussion about spending priorities, and it's a shame that you academic fascists are skipping that, preferring to insist that sports have zero or little value compared to other activities, and that coaches have easier jobs than you do.

The scary part is that you're teaching kids somewhere, despite the fact that you argue by falsifying arguments routinely, and seem incapable of recognizing that there is a difference between somebody who says "hey, sports have value and coaches have a hard job" and somebody who actually believes that sports deserve millions more than math/science/english/art.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:35 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, Tacos, let me give you a bit of friendly advice here. If you purport to elevate the discourse by calling people out on their appeals to authority, don't do it a paragraph after calling them a fascist.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:37 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


TAPG It's like these people decided in high school that sports are useless, and then never bothered to learn the vast array of useful skills that are required to succeed in sport, nor to contemplate how many of those skills are useful in real life.

Ooh! Ooh! Can we measure our sports-dicks now???

Because I played sports in high school. Had fun, learned some things, got some exercise, didn't threaten many school records. Luckily, I was in a sane environment where sports were a part of the complete educational package, not something that should take priority and most of the funding from, say, the music department (which I also really got a lot out of).

TAPG A prime example is bardic, who is obscenely upset, claiming that I am "slagging" teachers by saying that coaches have a hard job.

Please. That's not what you said. You painted all of them out to be philanderers. You don't like teachers -- fine. They probably didn't like you either. As for coaches, I'm pretty much a broken record by now -- they have their place in schools, they deserve decent pay for what they do, but they shouldn't make multiple times what their fellow educators are making.

Sorry I laid out some pretty logical arguments against six-figure salaries for coaches that you couldn't deal with. The hyperbole here has been all yours, however.
posted by bardic at 5:38 PM on August 9, 2007


On some level, it makes a certain sense to structure the rewards system like this; there are echoes of the Why Do Crack Dealers Live With Their Moms.

The benefits to any one kid who excels in sports are much more public than the benefits of a kid who excels in science or English, even if there's a greater overall reward for lifting all kids up to a higher level of literacy or numeracy. And given a context in which sports are MUCH more accepted as a career path or as a social value (and let's not ignore that kids who play sports tend to average better grades, and the other cultural benefits that come from sports, like the British assumption of training people to run empires with cricket), it shouldn't be a surprise that football coaches are prioritized over teachers— and that's without even touching on the generally accepted idea that teachers are interchangable, whereas football coaches have a directly quantifiable measure of their worth.

Does this mean that it's right, or a wise public policy, or likely to benefit communities in the long run? No. Is it understandable? Yes. Does calling attention to it and questioning it give ammunition to those who would choose different priorities? Yes.
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on August 9, 2007


feloniousmonk: I said "academic fascists" meaning people who believe: sports < academic classes && coaches < teachers

As for the rest, I simply asked that bardic refrain from putting words in my mouth, which is quite reasonable, IMO. Unfortunately, bardic *loves* to claim that I have insulted and slagged on teachers, when all I have really done is stated my belief that high school football coaches work, on average, more hours than high school teachers.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:44 PM on August 9, 2007


Also, with all this weak reasoning in the thread... Let's see some laps, ladies! C'mon! Hustle!
posted by klangklangston at 5:44 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not because I don't sympathize with your position bardic, but I was able to find a report pretty easily that discounts your claims that teachers work excessive hours.

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_50.htm#05

I wouldn't be who I am without the extra effort that clearly went beyond 40 hours a week that several excellent teachers put in during my education, but that doesn't change that report.

Maybe it's out dated? Maybe the methodology was bad.

I submit that it doesn't matter. Hours worked are not a valid basis for comparison here. It's a value judgement, it's not a question of numbers in that pure effort vs effort sense you are driving at.

That said, it's easy to conflate your statements about that to the whole of argument, which is not simply that teachers work more than coaches.

The question is this: Do teachers as pure educators produce more lifelong value for a student than coaches as pure coaches?
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2007


TAPG writes it's a shame that you academic fascists

I prefer nerdanista.
posted by bardic at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2007


That's not what you said. You painted all of them out to be philanderers.

No I didn't.

Quit putting words in my mouth.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2007


Anyone over the age of 17 who gives half a shit about fucking high school sports should be involuntarily sterilized.

And to head off T.A.P.G.'s insane ranting, I played sports as a kid and in high school, though I was a C+ athlete at best. Then I turned 18 and realized that that shit was boring and dumb once I could buy cigarettes and vote and do something after school besides roll around with a bunch of other dudes with serious B.O. and tiny walnut brains.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:47 PM on August 9, 2007 [12 favorites]


Tacos, I think it's pretty obvious that your comment was mean spirited, which was my point. You may have stated your belief, but you did it in an unnecessarily offensive way.

At any rate, this is not really germane, so take it as you will.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:48 PM on August 9, 2007


"I said "academic fascists" meaning people who believe: sports < academic classes && coaches < teachers"

Which is kinda a retarded position to take, meaning yours. Teachers are, ultimately, more important than coaches. That's why school is generally focused on education primarily, rather than team sports.

Which isn't to say that coaches aren't or can't be important, just that calling people who would say, yeah, teachers on the whole have more impact, "academic fascists" is pretty amazingly bizarre rhetoric.
posted by klangklangston at 5:48 PM on August 9, 2007


tapg.

Oh bless you - that's priceless! (Took me five minutes to get all the goop off the monitor...)

You are kidding, right? Right?


No. I'm not.

Coaches do a lot more work than teachers realize, but hey... you wouldn't know that because you're a teacher..


Actually I've taught and I've coached. Both occupations will absorb as much effort as you are prepared to devote to them but, in my experience, the teaching was far more time consuming.
Coaching was also easier as the feedback (we won vs we lost) was effectively instantaneous and corrections could be made in a timely manner. Not always the case in teaching
Your mileage may vary.
posted by speug at 5:49 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sorry I laid out some pretty logical arguments against six-figure salaries for coaches that you couldn't deal with. The hyperbole here has been all yours, however.

I never addressed this topic at all, I simply stated my belief that high school football coaches, on average, put in more hours than other high school teachers.

I don't think a productive conversation about funding priorities can occur until both sides treat each other with respect. This thread is full of people like you, who seem to go out of their way to imply that coaches have easier jobs than you do, and that any implication to the contrary is a DIRE INSULT.

That said, there's no point in further discussion with you, as you will simply continue to claim I'm saying things that I am not, because that is all you've done throughout this whole thread.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:50 PM on August 9, 2007


To head off the potentially inevitable, I know the Manhattan Institute is not without its biases (which I personally do not hold) but their numbers are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Do with that what you will.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:51 PM on August 9, 2007


Which is kinda a retarded position to take, meaning yours. Teachers are, ultimately, more important than coaches. That's why school is generally focused on education primarily, rather than team sports.

God, thank you for re-proving that you're all so rude as to deserve any negativity that I can find a way to express.

Sports require strategy, hard work, perseverance, and patience.

No matter how good you are at a sport, you will lose some of the time due to dumb luck, an experience that doesn't come up in math or english, but occurs all the time in real life.

I think they're both incredibly valuable, and I sincerely hope my children achieve in both realms.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:53 PM on August 9, 2007


TAPG writes Unfortunately, bardic *loves* to claim that I have insulted and slagged on teachers, when all I have really done is stated my belief that high school football coaches work, on average, more hours than high school teachers.

You came into this thread calling people "lying sacks of shit," you claimed that teachers have the entire summer off, and you called me an "academic fascist." (Thank you, btw. That's probably about the highest form of compliment you're capable of.)

I've been pretty consistent here -- in a world of limited tax-resources, sports are nice, but so are computers and tubas and debate teams. I don't hate sports, and I don't hate coaches, and I don't hate high schools where sports and coaches are important. I just don't follow the logic of either, a) a lot of teachers suck, so fuck it, let's give all the money to the sports programs and/or b) sports were an important part of your high school experience, so that boring math and English stuff doesn't really matter.
posted by bardic at 5:55 PM on August 9, 2007


Not because I don't sympathize with your position bardic, but I was able to find a report pretty easily that discounts your claims that teachers work excessive hours.

Funny, I used to work as a teacher, and I worked exessive hours.
posted by bardic at 5:56 PM on August 9, 2007


err, excessive even

Where's my red magic marker when I need it?
posted by bardic at 5:56 PM on August 9, 2007


Eh, being on the honor roll wont get you laid, but being starting QB will. Go team!
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sure you did, and I am sure a lot of teachers work excessive hours, but my point is that I can fairly easily find data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that says that on average, most don't.

I further go on to say that I don't think it matters, and then I explain why.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:59 PM on August 9, 2007


"Coaches also work a lot more hours than teachers, and many of those hours are extraordinarily inconvenient."

Say that to my math teacher girlfriend (with about 150 students per day), and she might feed you your own entrails. I'd probably help her. I've been helping her grade stuff when I have time to do so.

(I know, this has been gone over, but I needed to put in my $0.02)

Also: yeah, Texas! You go!
posted by zoogleplex at 6:01 PM on August 9, 2007


bardic: no, you haven't been consistent at all. You've been busy putting words in my mouth, calling me an idiot, and generally acting as though it was an enormous insult to imply that a good high-school football coach might have as tough of a job as any other high-school teacher.

I've never argued in favor of massively unequal distribution of funds, as that's clearly a bad thing. I'm fortunate enough that I grew up in a district that had plenty of money for both, and now I live in a district that has plenty of money for both. Nobody suffers.

I didnt' come into the thread calling people lying sacks of shit. I came in quietly. I only called people lying sacks of shit after multiple insane claims that teachers average 80 hours of work per week. These were absurd and clearly false. Claims to the contrary will be laughed at. But it's just like you to make false claims about what I said, and when I said them.

And I think it's sad and telling that you think "academic fascist" is a compliment of any sort. I simply meant that you are incapable of recognizing the importance of balance in a child's development, and in recognizing that sports have the capability to teach many things that simply can't be learned in the classroom.

Screw off, and quit lying about what I've said.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 6:01 PM on August 9, 2007


"God, thank you for re-proving that you're all so rude as to deserve any negativity that I can find a way to express.

Sports require strategy, hard work, perseverance, and patience."

And academics require none of those things?

"No matter how good you are at a sport, you will lose some of the time due to dumb luck, an experience that doesn't come up in math or english, but occurs all the time in real life."

No matter how good you are at English, you'll still be disappointed in some of your own work. Which, to take a rhetorical flourish from your bizarro world, therefore never happens in sports and isn't directly analogous.

"I think they're both incredibly valuable, and I sincerely hope my children achieve in both realms."

But GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN TWO MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE OPTIONS, I hope my children achieve more academically, because then they will understand why your arguments here are so stupid.
posted by klangklangston at 6:04 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey, if it's only about generating income, why aren't they paying the players?

They do. College players often get free room and board, tuition reimbursement, etc. When I went to B.U. we gave most of our football players a free ride and some of the best apartments on campus. In addition to that, they offered a special tutoring program (not available to non-athletes) so they could make sure their "investments" got the minimum required GPA to play.

Then President Silber decided to completely eliminate the 100+ year-old football program. Completely swept it away. It was wonderful.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:09 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


But GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN TWO MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE OPTIONS, I hope my children achieve more academically, because then they will understand why your arguments here are so stupid.

And as for sports versus classes, I wouldn't feel one of my children was disadvantaged if one was great at art and music while the other excelled at sport.

Claims that this is an unfortunate view will be looked upon with great sadness.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 6:11 PM on August 9, 2007


Tacos -

I'm sorry that you think experiences that don't match your own are "absurd and patently false." Feel free to keep laughing, I'll feel free to ignore everything you've got to say here.


Time to sit back and watch klangklangston rile everyone up for a bit.
posted by god hates math at 6:12 PM on August 9, 2007


Have we got a college? Have we got a football team?....Well we can't afford both.
Tomorrow we start tearing down the college.
posted by landis at 6:18 PM on August 9, 2007


I wouldn't feel one of my children was disadvantaged if one was great at art and music while the other excelled at sport.

I would, if one was good at throwing a football until he was 18 and then had to give it up because that's when high school ends, but the other could play the piano for the rest of her life.
posted by pracowity at 6:27 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's like these people decided in high school that sports are useless, and then never bothered to learn the vast array of useful skills that are required to succeed in sport, nor to contemplate how many of those skills are useful in real life.
First question: exactly what skills would those be? (And please don't claim you learn "teamwork" in sports -- I've seen no evidence of this.)

Second question: if these skills are so very important, shouldn't they be taught to everyone and not a small number of large, aggressive males?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:28 PM on August 9, 2007


"To head off the potentially inevitable, I know the Manhattan Institute is not without its biases (which I personally do not hold) but their numbers are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Do with that what you will."


They were only including the teacher's work day, and not anything taken home. The Manhattan Institute's rationale was, "well, some businesspeople take work home, too." Problem is, ALL teachers take home work. It's part of the job.

So while they say they included "all hours worked," they didn't. They were including prep time -- the one period a day when teachers get a little time off from directly teaching classes. The Manhattan Institute honest to god referred to this as "rest time." Imagine if your boss considered it "rest time" any time you weren't actively making a presentation in front of the classroom. In any educational environment I've seen, prep time means making copies, doing makeup exams for students, talking to administrators about classroom issues, and maybe if there's a little time grading a couple of papers. It's definitely not "rest" time. It's not break time. It's more work time, though in a different capacity.

It also isn't nearly enough time to do all the things required by the administration. Even at the preschool level, administrative requirements require 10-20 hours per week at an absolute minimum, even if you're not doing anything extra and are taking the lazy way out. I could detail these for you, but you've clearly already made up your mind that only a few extraordinary teachers work more than 40 hours per week.

Teachers are also required to take continuing education classes, either at night, on the weekends, or during the summer. These are also not included in the statistics.

So, yeah, the methodology sucks. bad.
posted by InnocentBystander at 6:30 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


This should not surprise anyone who has ever lived in Texas. High school football is like a religion there.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:30 PM on August 9, 2007


TAPG writes I didnt' come into the thread calling people lying sacks of shit. I came in quietly. I only called people lying sacks of shit after multiple insane claims that teachers average 80 hours of work per week.

What a humanitarian you are.

Look, you're having a hard time maintaining an even keel on this issue, and that's entirely your problem. I can assure you that most teachers work really hard and aren't paid enough, despite the fact that there are plenty of exceptions.

TAPG writes I simply meant that you are incapable of recognizing the importance of balance in a child's development, and in recognizing that sports have the capability to teach many things that simply can't be learned in the classroom.

Hmm. Here's the last paragraph from the first comment I wrote in this thread: "Personally, I think sports are an important extracurricular for high school kids. I just think that if parents want the best coaches and equipment, they should pay extra out of their own pockets. As somebody with no kids, it's a complete waste of my tax money. School is for education, and maybe a little bit of fun beyond that. High school coaches making 80K? That's ridiculous. I don't believe in socialized sports."

Yeah, I guess I should have taken it to meta by now. But I'm happy to stand by everything I've written here. Don't think you can say the same thing, Mr. "Teachers don't work during the summer."
posted by bardic at 6:31 PM on August 9, 2007


This should not surprise anyone who has ever lived in Texas. High school football is like a religion there.

Well, to be somewhat fair to Texas, it's pretty much the same way in central Pennsylvania. Probably a lot of Florida as well.
posted by bardic at 6:33 PM on August 9, 2007


god hates math shrieked:
I'm sorry that you think experiences that don't match your own are "absurd and patently false." Feel free to keep laughing, I'll feel free to ignore everything you've got to say here.


So you're claiming that high school teachers average 80 hours a week, and that you will ignore anybody who says that's false?

LOL.

I love that the anti-sports crew so thoroughly overlaps with the anti-honesty crew. It makes it a lot easier to tell that you're all just a bunch of twerps who never recovered from high school.

Oh, and btw, quotes are supposed to be used when you're actually quoting somebody. I know you intellectual types claim to know those rules, but you all are having a very, very hard time remembering how to quote with accuracy.

(though to be fair, you're better than bardic. He just makes shit up completely.)
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 6:34 PM on August 9, 2007


to simplify: in our nation, you get paid what the boards of education, the state, the local govt think you are worth...it may be crazy. It may be dumb. It may be hopelessly unfair. But there it is. At my state university a new college president just came in at 500,000 a year salary. In addition, fringes such as a house etc. Not to worry: the basketball coach makes substantially more. Collee presidents at most state universities now have very high salaries, and parents, with growing tuitition must pay for it.
posted by Postroad at 6:35 PM on August 9, 2007


TAPG It makes it a lot easier to tell that you're all just a bunch of twerps who never recovered from high school.

Good lord man, who replaced the semi-funny poster I once knew with Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds?
posted by bardic at 6:36 PM on August 9, 2007


Fair enough, but again, my point was that it doesn't really matter how many hours a teacher works, and that it isn't useful as a basis for comparing the value of the work they do to others.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:43 PM on August 9, 2007


It makes it a lot easier to tell that you're all just a bunch of twerps who never recovered from high school.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 6:34 PM on August 9


Your deep concern over high school makes me a little worried, man.

Does anyone actually care about junior high? No? Then why care about high school? Like, yeah, the lack of responsibility is pretty cool but if this were a thread about riding bikes with your friends through dry river washes and then getting gummi bears and sodas at the Conoco you wouldn't see me freaking out Tacos-style at anyone who didn't agree that IT WAS THE GREATEST THING EVER OH WHY CAN'T I GO BACK
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:44 PM on August 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Oh shit, did I type patently? Oops. "Absurd and clearly false." My mistake. I think "patently false" works as an idiom in my brain.

So you're claiming that high school teachers average 80 hours a week, and that you will ignore anybody who says that's false?

No, of course not. I'm saying that teaching is hard work, and many teachers work more hours than most people know. I personally know teachers who work the hours you outlined (in your deleted comment) almost exactly. And I'm not saying I'm going to ignore everyone - I'd actually like to hear more from people who support school sports programs. I just want them to be able to make coherent arguments without resorting to really fucking weak ad hominem attacks.

I think this whole derail you've been pushing since your second (the deleted one) comment is beside the damn point, so I'm going to say this in as few words as possible.

I think teachers are important. I think coaches are less important. I'm not sure if it's a zero-sum game, with regards to school funding, but I think it's unfortunate that money that *could* go towards other things is going to high school sports programs. This is from a high school athlete, in case you missed that. If anyone wants to argue for highly-paid sports staff without calling me a lying sack of shit, feel free.
posted by god hates math at 6:55 PM on August 9, 2007


I really had no idea people could be so apoplectic over high school football funding.
posted by cmonkey at 7:06 PM on August 9, 2007


InnocentBystander
I agree with your analysis of the Manhattan Institute but :
"Teachers are also required to take continuing education classes, either at night, on the weekends, or during the summer."


So too are coaches - those clinics were killers...
posted by speug at 7:14 PM on August 9, 2007


"Time to sit back and watch klangklangston rile everyone up for a bit."

Sorry, we have beer at home (where I went when I stopped posting); that tends to take the "ZOMG, YOUR DUM!" outta me.
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on August 9, 2007


I think teachers are important. I think coaches are less important.

This is precisely the sort of view that I want to stop, because it always ends with people inserting their least favorite subject.

Claims that sport, art, and music aren't important because they can't cure cancer.... or perhaps calculus isn't important because most people don't use it again.... or what not...

It's absurd to claim that sport is less important than art, music or anything else. Balance is the most important thing.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:18 PM on August 9, 2007


Yeah, yeah, yeah, Aristotle. Can you quit pretending that everyone wants to give all athletes purple nurples and realize that what people are objecting to here is the drastic imbalance present in the way academics versus ONE SPORT are funded?
posted by klangklangston at 7:21 PM on August 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Optimus Chyme: Are you trying to make a point?

I'm simply arguing that it's a bad idea to argue that sports are entirely useless, or to claim that coaches aren't as important as teachers. Nothing more, nothing less.

And those of you who hated gym in high school should grow the fuck up, and recognize that it's a valuable skill (just like you who hated math in high school should grow the fuck up and recognize that it has value too. of course those people aren't here. they're in the stands at a football game.)
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:23 PM on August 9, 2007


I really had no idea people could be so apoplectic over high school football funding.
A lot of people believe that the distrust of learning and education that is so symptomatic of great swaths of the US today starts with the obsession with team sports and the consequent starvation of science, art, music and English programs, amongst others.

While I'd love to believe that learning team sports offers the student some advantages as opposed to other, far less expensive physical fitness programs, it's not clear what they'd be.

Certainly none of the supporters of team sports (let's be clear: football) has come up with any such advantages, nor why these advantages should be withheld from women and smaller boys.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:24 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


And those of you who hated gym in high school should grow the fuck up, and recognize that it's a valuable skill
We're not talking about "gym" -- we're talking about *organized team sports* -- realistically, we are talking about football.

What valuable skill do you learn playing on the football team that wouldn't be far better learned as part of a much cheaper physical fitness and conditioning program *that everyone could share in equally*?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:27 PM on August 9, 2007


As far as our tax dollars being better spent on sports vs. arts programs, while there may be no more paying jobs for violin players than football players, at least you can play a violin anywhere. Try tossing a pigskin on a street corner sometime and see how many quarters you get.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:30 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sports are less important than art, music, or anything else, in terms of public school funding, because a kid can do sports on his or her own. They're less likely to stumble upon a Picasso and want to learn about it, or run into a piano and start playing scales. They will, however, watch sports on TV and then go out and emulate their heroes (like I did when I was their age). It's like saying "It's important our kids learn about junk-food and broccoli."

But I agree that balance is important. I'm glad we can agree that a football program that only caters to boys of a certain size isn't that. Now a good cross-country program -- very little equipment, one coach for five kids or 40, being able to run on existing roads and trails -- I'd be all for that. If sports are really so important to you, and you think my tax dollars need to support them, realize that football is a really poor choice in economic terms.
posted by bardic at 7:32 PM on August 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Well, if it makes everyone feel better, my school district has 31 high schools, and I think one of them even has a football field with bleachers.
posted by absalom at 7:38 PM on August 9, 2007


TAPG writes "I'm simply arguing that it's a bad idea to argue that sports are entirely useless, or to claim that coaches aren't as important as teachers. Nothing more, nothing less."

Actually, up-thread you were trying to argue that there are two types of people in the world, awesome jocks like yourself and the NERD PATROL AMIRITE?. Oh wait, actually, here's what you wrote: "It makes it a lot easier to tell that you're all just a bunch of twerps who never recovered from high school."

C'mon man, you're far less entertaining when you pretend you aren't the guy whose best years weren't spent by the time he was 17.
posted by bardic at 7:40 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


The advantage to learning music, literature, art is that it's a skill that will give you joy for a lifetime.

Physical culture skills can help you for a lifetime, but many of the skills you learn in team sports just don't transfer so well. I'd be very happy if they were teaching Yoga or a personal workout program...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:46 PM on August 9, 2007


A lot of people believe that the distrust of learning and education that is so symptomatic of great swaths of the US today starts with the obsession with team sports and the consequent starvation of science, art, music and English programs, amongst others.

Oh, yeah, I guess I wasn't very clear: I had no idea that the proponents of high school football funding could get so apoplectic over it.
posted by cmonkey at 7:47 PM on August 9, 2007


I always imagined high school football partisans to be an apoplectic bunch on the whole.
posted by klangklangston at 7:49 PM on August 9, 2007


Tacos Are Pretty Great writes "This is the same argument that causes art and music programs to get cut, but you just don't see it because you didn't happen to find a sport you liked."

Can you point to even a single public school music or drama teacher pulling down even half of $200K?
posted by Mitheral at 7:52 PM on August 9, 2007


The fact that most well-funded sports are only open to a small percentage of the student population (the most well-funded football programs are only open to male students, for starters, and only a small subset of them) ought to automatically downgrade them in terms of funding priorities.

Personally, I'm a little suspicious of the "educational benefits" of sport, but I can accept, in theory, that they might exist for some. (Although, I played sports, and that wasn't my experience.) But even if you take on premise that they're in some way educational, the fact that they're only open to a handful of students makes the amount of funding they receive pretty disgusting.

I'm not a fan of direct federal meddling in local affairs, particularly in education, but I think a rule that required funding for extracurricular activities to be distributed equally based on the number of students participating in said activity (and fixing funding for extracurriculars at some percentage of the funding level for academics) would go a long way towards fixing our schools.

If there's that much community support for sports, then they shouldn't have a problem finding non-tax-based means of supporting them, once they run into the end of the taxpayer funding.

For every student who played football and got something out of it, I'd wager there were ten students who bugged out at 2:30, went home, and smoked a dime bag because there wasn't anything going on at school that they had any interest in. Of course, you never really hear about them, or any of the other 'opportunity costs' of spending a disproportionate amount of your funding on a handful of students. (Another example: the cost of spending it on a football team, rather than on I-B classes that would let students skip a semester or two of college; that's not hard to calculate.)

Unrelatedly: Doesn't Title IX apply to highschools? Or do the schools in these sports-loving areas already forgo Federal monies in order to overfund men's sports? I can't believe that they give equal funding to womens' sports, and my understanding is that Title IX demands that, or at least nudges in that direction.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:52 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry the 200K was the revenue not the salary. Still Drama and Music teachers don't make the kind of cash that caoches make even though they'll have similiar extended and unusual hours.

I'm glad coaching football is a volunteer position around here.
posted by Mitheral at 7:57 PM on August 9, 2007


Interesting question on Title IX Kadin2048. I know UoP eliminated football as a way of coming into Title IX compliance because they didn't have the income stream to spend equal amounts on female sports.
posted by Mitheral at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2007


I'd like rocket88 and Tacos Are Pretty Great to address the actual issue, I'll put it here in a blockquote and bold so maybe it'll be noticed and actually responded to.
The benefits you claim coaches impart go to an extremely small minority of students. Why should this program, which benefits maybe 11 students, be given more dollars per student than other extracurricular activities?
You seem to have this odd idea that anyone who doesn't have an attitude of fawning worship for the football program is automatically a commie faggot who just hates the good all American jocks. This is not the case.

You are dodging the fact that the outlay for high school football in Texas is vastly greater than the outlay for, say, theatre, or band. Why do you think this should be the case?

What would be wrong with splitting all money for extracurricular activities equally on a per student basis? So every kid on the football team got the football team X dollars and every kid in the band got the band X dollars. If local parents, business, etc chose to have a bake sale, or otherwise raise money for their preferred activity that's fine, but what basis do you have for arguing that our tax dollars should to to football preferentially to the chess club?

Likewise, I'd argue that all teachers of extracurricular activity should be paid according to the number of students involved in their activity. So if the football team has 11 players, and the band has 33 members, the music director should be paid more than the coach. If you disagree, please explain why?

But the basic point is that all the benefits you claim exist from sports, even assuming for the sake of argument that they exist, go to 11 large, muscular, boys, and are completely denied to around 99% of the student body. Do you really think its worth that much money to give these benefits to 11 boys, especially when every dollar given to the sports program is taken from another program?

Also: "I said "academic fascists" meaning people who believe: sports < academic classes && coaches < teachers"

Let's look at that for a sec. There's really only three possibilities:

1) coaches & sports < teachers & academic classes
2) coaches & sports > teachers & academic classes
3) coaches & sports = teachers & academic classes

Sports benefit <5% of the student body. Of those benefitted by sports an almost immesurable minority go on to become pro athelets. The skills learned in sports are typically not applicable in the real world, at least I know of no jobs outside pro sports where tackling, hitting a baseball, throwing balls, etc are necessary skills.

Reading and simple arithmetic, OTOH, are pretty much required for all jobs. Success in college requires a large array of academic skills, and vastly more high school graduates go to college than become pro athelets.

So, yeah, sports & coaches seem to be less important than teachers and academic classes. Likewise I'd argue that academic classes are more important than theatre (note: I'm a theatre geek), the chess club, band, or any other extracurricular activity.
posted by sotonohito at 8:05 PM on August 9, 2007 [7 favorites]


The benefactors are far fewer than described. On the football team, the only satisfied boys are the two, three, four, maybe five star players. The guys who barely hold onto their starting position or the guys who barely earn their letter are probably more unhappy than the boys who shot up Columbine High School.

It's way more evil than you're thinking. You all really need to use your imagination here.
posted by bukvich at 8:39 PM on August 9, 2007


To begin with, football: eh.

BUT. For a long time I would have been with the sports are less valuable folk on this site. I was a gigantic nerd and I found academics awesome: I was all APed out in my little plaid skirt with my novels and chem texts and I loved it. As an adult, I've come to enjoy sports, and honestly? The things I've learned from training hard are different from the things I learned from studying hard, but at least as worthwhile. I wish sports had had more money when I was younger, so I didn't have to wait till I was this old to find this part of myself. I know it can be hard to see the value till sports really sweep you up, but in that way they are just like a lot of visual art.

In conclusion, let's expand opportunity everywhere, instead of claiming that the thing that stole your heart is inherently better than the thing that stole someone elses.
posted by dame at 8:39 PM on August 9, 2007


Or beneficiaries even.
posted by bukvich at 8:41 PM on August 9, 2007


The skills learned in sports are typically not applicable in the real world, at least I know of no jobs outside pro sports where tackling, hitting a baseball, throwing balls, etc are necessary skills.

Oh c'mon. If you are so smart, you should be able to see that's not all sports teach. Or to go to the library and get some awesome sportswriting that will make it clear.
posted by dame at 8:41 PM on August 9, 2007


"Oh c'mon. If you are so smart, you should be able to see that's not all sports teach."


Okay, I'm game. What do sports teach that wouldn't be taught by a well-rounded academic program?
posted by InnocentBystander at 8:44 PM on August 9, 2007


Ok, nothing against sports as the pursuit of excellence and physical conditioning, and as a set of experiences with losing and winning and people under stress. That's all good.

But talking about Texas football is talking about a cultural pathology. The same was true enough even in suburban Chicago, where students were herded into "Pep Rallies" where they cheered this group of players (few were moral exemplars, I must say) under these huge victory banners because they'd won the game they played a few days ago. Now, really, why should anyone have cared? Why was I asked to cheer that team's victory and not another team's? Or the victory of a randomly selected intermural team against some other?

There was no reason.

Team sports promote an unreflective identification of the self with a "representative" group, and produce a dangerous addiction to the experience of group euphoria. Unfortunately this habit of thought leads to bad things in politics, when the "us" is similarly understood by sports fans in an unreflective way, and the "them" is similarly regarded as a force to be defeated (how often does a sports fan pause to consider which team deserves his or her support in the upcoming game?).

Does anyone think it's merely a coincidence that schematic "USA vs. Evildoer" politics have been so readily (and disastrously) endorsed in places where team sports are manically popular?

Truthfully, there's no justification for high "market rate" salaries for coaches and etc. Coaches should be comfortably paid and not disrespected, but school districts should be cautious about institutionalizing and amplifying the most dangerous vestigial instincts of us human pack animals.
posted by washburn at 8:44 PM on August 9, 2007 [7 favorites]


my dad thought teaching was more important than sports ... that's why he turned down a contract with the phillies farm team and became an educator ... and, yeah, coach

people in texas are insane ... here, in michigan, the coaches are also teachers ... or counselors ... and although i sometimes feel that the social crap that goes along with high school sports is pretty damaging, it does teach people the ability to work together as a team ... and when baseball and football are played at their best level, they are not sports for stupid people ... yes, you actually need brains to make it in the minors, much less the majors

by the way, i was a total nerd who hated jocks for good reason in high school ... and our football coach was john wayne with a lobotomy ... and our team wasn't that good

a GREAT football team is not a collection of idiots ... period

still, i think too much emphasis is often put on sports in school ... that, unless one is the rare talent that can actually go to a professional level, sports are best considered as an experience that prepares one for real life ... just as acting, band, or other activities can ... and last of all, it doesn't mean jack shit unless you've also been educated to a better level than our average student tends to reach these days

what good is being the star quarterback if you put "allendail coogers" on your job application where it says to list your school activities?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:10 PM on August 9, 2007


@pytamid termite:
a GREAT football team is not a collection of idiots ... period

I don't think anyone is really arguing that. Or at least, I wasn't/wouldn't.

But there are two statements that need to be made after that:
(1) Most football teams aren't "great." (That's pretty much by definition.)
(2) Even the ones that are great, and have players that are total prodigies at the game, still only benefit a few students directly. It's a vast amount of (taxpayer) money being spent on a very few students, teaching them stills that have at best arguable value in the real world.

Just to clarify: I have no problem with sports programs at big universities, if they turn a profit. I don't even have a problem with football scholarships. (I just wish they wouldn't call them 'scholarships.' They ought to just call them 'contracts.') Heck, I wish they'd just cut the academic pretense, and stop forcing the players to attend regular classes; the pretense is tiring and it's insulting to the other students. And in the rare cases where a HS football program really is a 'profit center' for a school, they can pay the coaches whatever they want, and manage it however they please.

But most high-school football programs aren't revenue generators. If they were, they wouldn't need taxpayer funding to survive, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. The fact that they are funded out of the budget means they're obviously not profit centers. Instead, they're cost centers, and every dollar that's spent there is a dollar that's being spent on a minorty of students at the expense of everyone else.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:24 PM on August 9, 2007


There's a ton of equivocation between team sports and physical education in this thread. I think the latter is extremely important, especially in a country wrestling with an obesity crisis. The former, however, is tangential, and as many have mentioned, only ever applies to a small percentage of students, while a physical education program would in theory be all-encompassing.

Is physical education as important as academic education? Certainly. Are team sports as important as academic education? Certainly not. I'd even argue that team sports, in their common incarnation, unfortunately serve to repel a large portion of students away from the entire concept of fitness.

The "hidden" educational properties of team sports (presumably the team aspect) are also found in many other extracurricular activites, such as drama, debate, civics (student government), community service/fundraising, yearbook committee, etc. and could easily be taught even if football suddenly ceased to be.
posted by mek at 9:56 PM on August 9, 2007


I went to a public high school on the fringe of the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs. (In the same high school, my dad was an English teacher, as well as cross-country coach, ice hockey coach and track coach. Looks like that topic's already been beaten to death.) I personally was on the soccer and slalom skiing teams, played a little baseball, even did some theatre. I then went to a nerdy university and got an engineering degree, while playing both on the varsity ice hockey team and in the symphony orchestra. So I'm not here to dis any activity or group... to me, the extracurriculars are the dipping sauces for the academic McNugget--they enhance the experience, but by themselves do not a nourishing meal make. (hmm... maybe "McNugget" was not the best choice for this metaphor...)

Now with nearly twenty years' perspective, I'd have to say the most valuable high-school activity I got involved with actually our marching band, which was kick-ass: we were the featured band in the NYC Macy's Thanksgiving parade (the band that escorts Santa in, last thing before the credits roll), we did the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade (multiple times), we played at the World Series (pre-game) and NFL games, we did other events in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Miami. Those were pretty fucking mind-broadening travel experiences for a bunch of semi-rural Minnesota kids. If memory serves, we had between *150-200* kids in the band. And we did all the standard bake sales, car washes, sold candy bars, all that shit to raise money for these trips.

Now, of course, the entire marching band program's been cut. I haven't heard a convincing argument why. Most kids were playing their own instruments, with some exceptions like drums and sousaphones. The school provided uniforms, which were seldom (if ever) drycleaned. Maybe those feathers in our hats were from a now-extinct bird...?
posted by rodeoclown at 10:24 PM on August 9, 2007


Ooh... just remembered one athletic cost-saving gem. I was playing on the tenth-grade boys' soccer team, and we were handed our uniforms for our first game. The tops were pretty tight and long-sleeved, with a picture of what looked like a strange old Euro-styled soccer ball on the front. The shorts were very short, and noticeably uncomfortable, particularly in front.

After a couple of games, we discovered that we were playing in hand-me-downs from the girls' junior-varsity volleyball team...
posted by rodeoclown at 10:31 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's a vast amount of (taxpayer) money being spent on a very few students, teaching them stills that have at best arguable value in the real world.

in texas, it is a vast amount of money, and i find that utterly insane ... in most places, that kind of money is not spent
posted by pyramid termite at 10:37 PM on August 9, 2007


Did TAPG's head blow up or something?
posted by stinkycheese at 10:49 PM on August 9, 2007


Hold on, as an educator in Illinois there is a big problem with the article. Coaches teach, and then earn an additional stipend for their coaching work. The article says that is making a comparison between the "total compensation" of the coaches versus the "salary" of the rest of the teachers. Of course it is going to be different -- the whole thing is poorly reasoned and I think intentionally trying to provoke.
posted by cgk at 11:46 PM on August 9, 2007


I had no idea that the proponents of high school football funding could get so apoplectic over it.

The ability to get apoplectic easily is one to those skills you learn in football.
posted by pracowity at 11:57 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


The video for the new Spoon single is an homage to the Stones and the Godard footage, IMO.

I knew it looked familiar.
posted by bardic at 12:38 AM on August 10, 2007


(The third clip, when the final song is coming together in particular.)
posted by bardic at 12:38 AM on August 10, 2007


Ha. Thread-foul.
posted by bardic at 12:39 AM on August 10, 2007


If you'd played ball in school, son, you wouldn't be such a fumbling commenter. These are life skills you don't learn in no classroom.

Now drop and give me twenty.
posted by pracowity at 1:04 AM on August 10, 2007


cgk, from the Austin American-Statesman article:

It is unusual to find a 5A or a 4A head football coach teaching in the classroom, although large multischool districts such as El Paso, Fort Worth and Houston are exceptions. Most coaches at the 5A and 4A level also serve as the school's athletic coordinator, overseeing the overall athletic program, or the athletic director if they coach in a one-school district.

It also notes that "Football coaches in the state's largest school districts - including Austin, El Paso, Houston and Fort Worth - are at the bottom of the salary list."
posted by mek at 1:10 AM on August 10, 2007


I would just like to point out that the most important consequence of this thread is the redefinition of "fascism" to mean "an ideology opposed to team sports." Mussolini would've shat himself.
posted by nasreddin at 2:12 AM on August 10, 2007


Um, look folks. Many of y'all are missing important points here, even while making beautiful, valid points.

Football isn't all about the players. It's all those people who get sucked in to the notion that watching football, and cheering in the stands, is what is important. It's all about the RAH RAH RAH!

Football provides something perfectly harmless for people to get riled up about. (Demonstrated well in this thread). If their attention is on football, then they aren't busy jostling the elbows of our esteemed public officials who have important matters to contemplate, like what country to invade next.

All that other crap, like music, art, and theater, are for the fags (when the footballers aren't kicking their sissy asses). You don't want to fund the fags, do you? I didn't think so!

Now, you just plan to get your ass to your local HS games this fall. Buy whatever junk they're selling, and you BETTER come home all hoarse from cheering, or you'll be expected to show up to work in a pink dress on Mondays. Football needs your voice!
posted by Goofyy at 2:16 AM on August 10, 2007


On non-preview, washburn says it very well.

I am impressed by those pointing out that team sports serve well to turn off many from most all physical activity. Count me in that group, thanks. After all, how else can one be certain to not turn in to a dumb jock?

Although I loath the whole team sport thing, especially football, I'd have to say I never really got the impression in school that football was the Only Big Deal. Actually, music, theater and art were well respected, just not as noisy.

The head football coach used to court me (I assumed, to play, but maybe he had other ideas. It's not like it wasn't fairly well known I was gay). He was actually a nice guy. But he wanted me. I was, after all, the biggest guy in my year, with brains to go with it. At the time, I didn't care about anything but singing--And I told him so.
posted by Goofyy at 2:42 AM on August 10, 2007


"Hold on, as an educator in Illinois there is a big problem with the article. Coaches teach, and then earn an additional stipend for their coaching work. The article says that is making a comparison between the "total compensation" of the coaches versus the "salary" of the rest of the teachers. Of course it is going to be different -- the whole thing is poorly reasoned and I think intentionally trying to provoke."

Our coaches didn't teach, though I can't say how much they were paid. I do remember that over the four years that I went to high school, our varsity team won, I believe, six games total, and had two years of not winning a single one (and my senior year, they only won one). The year after I graduated, they went on to the state championships. What was the big difference? While I was in school, the coach's kid was the "star" QB, and sucked out loud. As soon as my class graduated, it cleared the last of the coach's progeny out of the program, and suddenly all these other players emerged and were actually really good.

But yeah, I had to deal with a theater that was literally falling apart (a block of concrete punched a hole in our stage after it fell from the wings), and the football team got a new field and new bleachers. Though, to be fair, the other high school had massive amounts of boosters who paid for both a new theater for them and a new football field, and it was felt that our school had to compete, but didn't have the community wherewithall to get the state-of-the-art setup that those guys did.
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2007


I'd like rocket88 and Tacos Are Pretty Great to address the actual issue, I'll put it here in a blockquote and bold so maybe it'll be noticed and actually responded to.


The benefits you claim coaches impart go to an extremely small minority of students. Why should this program, which benefits maybe 11 students, be given more dollars per student than other extracurricular activities?


Alright, sotonohito, let's start with some basics. A typical highschool football team consists of more than 11 players. You've got 11 on offense, 11 on defense, add in special teams, second-string backups and you've probably got 30 or so players on a team at a minimum. But that's still not enough to justify the expense.
So how about the other (non-playing) students? If you went down to a Texas school and took a poll, you'd get a significant majority who think the success of the school football program is important. They're fans...almost all of them. Then you've got the parents, the alumni, the school staff. They're all fans, too. They're the ones who want the team to win and think it's worth the expense to get a top-tier coach. The school board thinks it's worth it, too...and it's their job to decide.
So on the 'pro' side we've got a majority of students, a majority of parents, probably a majority of teachers, and the school board. On the 'con' side I see a minority of all the groups mentioned above plus a bunch of jock-hating internet nerds on a community blog.
No contest. (And I didn't even have to mention the revenue generating potential of the football program, which will at least offset the coach's salary.)
posted by rocket88 at 7:55 AM on August 10, 2007


If you went down to a Texas school and took a poll, you'd get a significant majority who think the success of the school football program is important.

If you went down to a Texas school and took a poll, you'd get a significant majority in favor of all kinds of stupid shit. If it were up to them, they'd also put a Baptist church in every high school.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:14 AM on August 10, 2007


Look up democracy for me, will ya?
posted by rocket88 at 8:38 AM on August 10, 2007


On the 'con' side I see a minority of all the groups mentioned above plus a bunch of jock-hating internet nerds on a community blog.

Oh, jesus. The irony. IT HURTS ME.

And listen - you've got a point about what Texans want. Far be it from me to intervene in their collective state decision. But when their 33rd - ranked asses come begging for federal funds because their kids aren't passing standardized tests, I'm going to feel just fine saying, "fuck off."
posted by god hates math at 8:39 AM on August 10, 2007


"Oh c'mon. If you are so smart, you should be able to see that's not all sports teach."


Okay, I'm game. What do sports teach that wouldn't be taught by a well-rounded academic program?


Well, as I learned in English class, I shouldn't do your research for you. I mean, your school did teach you how to use a library?

But anyway, sports taught me a physical courage and mental fortitude that I never got from all my years of academics and bands, to face fear so squarely that all the other courage I ever thought I had paled instantly. In short, they taught me character. Could someone else possibly have found these lessons in something else? Maybe. But I don't think I could have. And I wonder if many people could.

The lack of eloquent defenses of the lessons offered by sports isn't because everyone who likes sports is an idiot. It is because physical lessons can be hard to translate. It is the same phenomenon with those cheesy motivational quotes that surround training: suddenly they begin to have a deeper meaning and become so much richer than they seemed. Anyway, it sucks that anti-intellectualism on one side and lack of funds on the other lead so many folks to decide they can only be one thing.
posted by dame at 8:53 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you went down to a Texas school and took a poll, you'd get a significant majority who think the success of the school football program is important.

If you went down to my old school you'd find an overwhelming majority who think the legal drinking age should be 14.

Hell, even the Arts prepare you for a career better than football does. I joked earlier about violin players but it's reasonable to assume that there are many hundreds of times as many paying jobs for musicians and artists (commercial artists at least) as for football players.

I once walked into the sales office of a truck dealer; a boiler-room setting where customers don't go and here are all these gigantic guys in early middle age with big shoulders and growing paunches wearing terrible suits cold-calling from tiny workspaces narrower than an airline seat in economy; the stink of desperation filling the place. What do you suppose they specialized in in school to the exclusion of other skills?

Dame writes:
I shouldn't do your research for you. I mean, your school did teach you how to use a library?

You're not serious -- you make an assertion then send your disputant to the library to make your case for you? Gee, I can't say I ever saw that tactic attempted on the debate team. (Not that I was on one.)

But anyway, sports taught me a physical courage and mental fortitude

Has anyone here disparaged sports? I've competed in three myself. They're talking about wildly disproportionate funding and rewards of one narrowly beneficial sport, all too often at the direct expense of things that we're supposedly sending kids to school for. You can learn these lessons you refer to by practicing hard and playing hard in whatever sport you choose, without demanding that everyone else sacrifice for you.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:04 AM on August 10, 2007


I once walked into the sales office of a truck dealer; a boiler-room setting where customers don't go and here are all these gigantic guys in early middle age with big shoulders and growing paunches wearing terrible suits cold-calling from tiny workspaces narrower than an airline seat in economy; the stink of desperation filling the place. What do you suppose they specialized in in school to the exclusion of other skills?


African dance, obviously. Or maybe ceramics.
posted by Snyder at 9:19 AM on August 10, 2007


bardic wrote: "Actually, up-thread you were trying to argue that there are two types of people in the world, awesome jocks like yourself and the NERD PATROL AMIRITE?"

No, that's just you putting words in my mouth again, so you can argue some more.

I think there are people with balanced lives, and people without them. I know that I believe in trying to get children to develop in many realms (mentally, socially, physically), not just one. I think it's irresponsible to claim that sports are less important than the debate team or the trivia team, simply because they use the body more than the mind.

I think that pure jocks and pure nerds have all missed the point.

That said, I'm sure you'll respond with some more made-up opinions that you will angrily assign to me.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:38 AM on August 10, 2007


Right, because bardic has a monopoly on disingenuous claims or hyperbole in this thread, and you're a poor desert flower, wilting slowly in the heat of his "fascist" hate.
You're spending all of your time attempting to defend against straw men and then getting apoplectic when your particular claims are rightly dismissed as being irrelevant and, frankly, stupid. You did say that athletics was more important than academics, and instead of saying "Y'know, now upon further consideration, that was an absurd claim," you're digging your heels in. I've gone round with bardic before, and he can be an unmitigated dick, but your Last Man at the Football Alamo schtick is unnecessary, and your tirade against him is uncalled for.

As for the 11, just as an anecdote (and I realize that this is incredibly off the norm), my cousin went to a high school that had 11 boys total (his graduating class only had eight people in it— rural Wisconsin), and he hated that he had to play football all four years. They never won a single game, had to play offense and defense, and none of them could quit because then they wouldn't be able to have a team. My younger cousin missed that, since by his time there weren't enough boys to field a whole team, but had to deal with being an incredibly shy kid who had to have the male lead in every play his class put on. But even he was glad he didn't have to play football.
posted by klangklangston at 9:43 AM on August 10, 2007


Whups, the comment I was responding to got zapped.
posted by klangklangston at 9:45 AM on August 10, 2007


rocket88 You're playing the magic shifting rationale game. Originally you claimed that the presence of highly paid football coaches offered fantastic benefits to students. Magic, special, benefits that the mere academic teachers couldn't possibly understand, much less give to their students. Shall I quote?

Football coaches generally have more of a long-term impact on the lives of the kids than your average classroom teacher. They're mentors in a lot of life skills.

Even accepting, purely for the sake of argument you understand, your idea that the football team benefits 30 (male) students, that's still a crapload of money being spent to give thirty students, out of maybe 2000 or so, the long-term impact you claim is so important.

Second, you've established a false delima. I'm not proposing ending high school football, bardic isn't proposing that, virtually no one on this threat is or has proposed that. We're merely proposing that its funding be brought to a reasonable level.

A high school football program doesn't need fancy a fancy stadium, or a coach paid over twice what real teachers are paid. The question isn't "should we spend a crapload of money on HS football, or end the program", the question is "should we bring the funding for football into line with the funding other extracurricular activites get".

As someone who claims that football is a huge moneymaker, you really don't have much argument against eleminating its funding entirely, much less cutting back a bit. After all, if you are telling the truth, and not merely bloviating, and HS football brings in money in excess of its cost, then by now it ought to be fully self supporting and not require any tax money to continue at all, right? Or will you admit that you're full of crap about football being a financial benefit for the school? Because you can't have it both ways, if football needs our tax dollars then it isn't a financial benefit.

dame wrote "In short, they taught me character. Could someone else possibly have found these lessons in something else? Maybe."

If you claim you learned something from playing highschool sports, I won't argue with you. But what about the >95% of students not involved in high school sports? I think my point stands: it is not justifiable to spend the crapload of money we do on sports [1]. I'm glad you obtained a benefit from sports, but I'll bet that if your coach had been paid the same as a drama teacher, or a band teacher, you'd have gotten the same benefit.

Further, if you are claiming that the tiny minority of students who did participate in sports have an exclusive lock on character, I find your statement offensive in the extreme.

[1] NOTE: for rocket88, Tacos, and other hysterical, panties in a wad, types. I'm not saying we should eleminate sports, just make the funds given to those programs equal to the funds for other extracurricular activities
posted by sotonohito at 10:53 AM on August 10, 2007


You're not serious -- you make an assertion then send your disputant to the library to make your case for you? Gee, I can't say I ever saw that tactic attempted on the debate team. (Not that I was on one.)

No, I made the assetion that people wondering what one got from sports were being disingenuous, because obviously with their big academic dicks, they could have figured out the answer had they been genuine in wanting one. Did they teach you how to read in debate or jsut talk really fast?

Has anyone here disparaged sports?

Did you read the same thread I did? I can think of at least two people who claimed sports taught you nothing of value, or, more to the point, demanded that people explain to them what one could "possibly" learn. Like I said in my first comment, I don't care about football, and if all people were discussing was the article itself, then I would not feel the need to say anything. But sports do have value and should be subsidized to the exact same degree everything else with value is. If that ratio is currently off, then it should be rectified, but not because your pet extracurricular is inherently better.
posted by dame at 10:59 AM on August 10, 2007


Seems like a lot of the commenters here believe that sports have no value because a they knew some football players who were big jerks in high school.

However, organized sports certainly benefit one subset of high schoolers.... the female ones. Girls who play sports get better grades, get pregnant less, and are 41% more likely to graduate from college.
posted by emd3737 at 11:04 AM on August 10, 2007


The thing about the salaries should be utterly unsurprising to anyone who grew up in Texas. The fact that football makes people insane is also no surprise to us Texans.

As a girl, I couldn't play football, but I was on the drill team (the high kick girls, woo hoo). The attention paid to football in Texas is like some kind of mob insanity. That being said, football benefits more people than just the players. The band, the cheerleaders, the drill team, all perform at the games (the sexism of cheering and dancing in celebration of a bunch of teenage boys is a whole other issue, but most of us girls tended to view the football games as just an excuse for us to wow the crowd).

For the most part, I enjoyed my small role in the football culture, while also thinking it was pretty ridiculous. My school had no AP classes, no SAT prep classes, and generally very poor academics. Although I graduated near the top of my class, I entered college with no idea how to study or how to write a paper.

As someone who grew up in this environment, participated in it, and who also did a team sport in college (crew), I have to say that anyone who thinks there isn't something profoundly unhealthy about Texas football is out of their mind.
posted by Mavri at 11:29 AM on August 10, 2007


*unwads panties*
sotonohito: Nice one...you put words in my mouth that I didn't use (fantastic, magic, special), and then you quote me so I don't have to bother exposing your strawmen.
What's wrong with my arguing different rationales? Do they contradict each other?
A good football coach is a benefit to the 30 or so players both as a coach of football skills and as a mentor in life skills (fair play, accepting defeat honorably, accepting success graciously, and much, much more). A good coach is a benefit to the entire school community as a focal point for school pride and healthy competition against neighbor schools. A good coach is a benefit financially because a winning team with good fan support will generate revenue. This varies, of course, from school to school, and I never said it was fully self-funding. The revenues can at least partially offset the cost of the program.
Most importantly, this being Texas, football is important to the community in ways you can't understand. They (the school staffs and school boards) see a benefit to a good football team that you simply don't grasp. It's like going to Brazil and arguing that soccer is a waste of their time.
posted by rocket88 at 11:44 AM on August 10, 2007


At my old high school in Lufkin, TX, the coach also got a nice house to live in while he coached... In addition to making more than anyone else, including the Sup and Principal.
posted by Espoo2 at 12:41 PM on August 10, 2007


Yeah, uh, I see an awful lot of people around here saying that high school sports taught them all sorts of life lessons IMPOSSIBLE to learn elsewhere -- and yet, I've known many adults who never played sports who had those same qualities, in spades.

How exactly does that work?
posted by InnocentBystander at 2:57 PM on August 10, 2007


rocket88 I would classify my word choice ("magic", "special", etc) as snide exageration rather than strawman, but obviously that's a matter of opinion.

You wrote: "What's wrong with my arguing different rationales?"

Nothing is wrong with using multiple rationales, but that isn't what you are doing. You're using changing rationales, and that tends to be an indicator of someone grasping at straws.

See, when you originally stated your case you didn't say "there are many good reasons to pay coaches so much and put so much money into the football program, it benefits the students, it gives adds to a sense of togetherness for the community......." I'm inclined to suspect that this is because you weren't thinking of all that when you started, but have only tacked it on now that I pointed out that the super-duper benefits that coaches provide that ordinary commie academic teachers can't only apply to a very few students.

Given various of your comments, I suspect that you were part of a HS football team, and therefore got the benefits you describe. And thats great. The problem is that since you were part of the team, and therefore getting the benefits, you didn't notice that those benefits only applied to you and 29 other people, while the other extracurricular programs were either cut down or eleminated outright in order to fund your football team. And that's fine too, most people don't notice what goes on outside their own lives.

The problem is that once I pointed out the incredibly small group of people who benefit directly from the football team, from my POV you started to weasel. Suddenly you're talking about giving a community the warm fuzzies, while previously you were talking about turning boys into men [1]. To me this looks like weaseling, when the proper response (again, from my POV) would have been to say "I never thought about it before, but you're right, the benefits I've been talking about only go to 30 kids out of over 2000."

Further you are still ignoring two things:

1) You've previously spoken of the need for balance in life and eduation. I'll agree that its important (though, balance does not mean "equal"). However you are overlooking the fact that in order to toss ever bigger wads of cash into the ravenous maw of the football team many schools are cutting extracurricular programs that give balance to vastly more students than the 30 members of the football team.

2) The primary function of a school is academics. *ALL* extracurricular activities, including football, debate club, latin club, band, and theatre are secondary to academics. Balance does not mean equal amounts, just as a balanced diet doesn't include equal amounts of sugar and protien, neither does a balanced education include equal amounts of academics and extracurricular stuff. If the prime function of a school is suffering from a lack of cash it makes sense to begin taking money from the highest funded extracurricular activity, not cutting popular but ill funded activities even further.

[1] Note: I'm aware you never actually used those words, that's more of me summarizing my impression of what you wrote, and attempting to insert a note of humor into this.
posted by sotonohito at 3:27 PM on August 10, 2007


Yeah, uh, I see an awful lot of people around here saying that high school sports taught them all sorts of life lessons IMPOSSIBLE to learn elsewhere -- and yet, I've known many adults who never played sports who had those same qualities, in spades.

How exactly does that work?


Different people learn things differently.
posted by dame at 5:39 PM on August 10, 2007


OK..I'm beginning to understand why you're so wrong, soto. You're basing your arguments on erroneous assumptions.
First, my original comment in this thread wasn't "stating my case", as you say...it was intended as a response to previous comments questioning the importance of coaches. Later, as the focus of the thread evolved, I posted on a different angle to the issue. So, while you are correct that changing rationales can be symptomatic of weak argument and "grasping at straws", it isn't in this case.
Second, you couldn't be more off the mark with regard to my high school years. I was a scrawny 135 lbs, and knew that football wasn't created for the likes of me. I went to the games, however, and hung out with a few of the players. I wasn't a 'jock' by any stretch of the imagination. I was the quiet guy in the back of the class that nobody paid much attention to. But even then I was a sports fan. That's why I know about football.
Third, you are correct that academics is more important than extra-curriculars, but if you read the original posted article (you did read it, didn't you?), you'll see that it gives no indication that the coaches' salaries are being funded by the sell-off of textbooks and lab equipment, or even musical instruments and art canvases. In fact, it mentions one school in particular that claims it's football team generates $200,000 a year in revenue. That'll buy a lot of fancy book learnin' stuff.
posted by rocket88 at 7:52 PM on August 10, 2007


you'll see that it gives no indication that the coaches' salaries are being funded by the sell-off of textbooks and lab equipment, or even musical instruments and art canvases.

We're not claiming that -- we're simply claiming that it prevents them from purchasing these textbooks, that equipment, those musical instruments and canvases in the first place. Certainly, searching Google, or just talking to teenagers, finds many many anecdotal examples of this... and I couldn't find one example of the reverse.

In fact, it mentions one school in particular that claims it's football team generates $200,000 a year in revenue. That'll buy a lot of fancy book learnin' stuff.

As has been mentioned more than once before in this thread, that's revenue -- that's income before expenses.

I don't believe that there's one high school in the nation that makes money, net, from football games -- searching didn't find any -- feel free to chime in with a counter-example though.

I think however you're going to have a really tough time proving that the massively inflated football budgets in high school are somehow magically paid for and that the other programs don't suffer.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:14 PM on August 11, 2007


lupus_yonderboy I gave up. He's convinced that unless you will agree that football is of equal (or posibly greater) importance to academics you're obviously just a jock hating nerd. He changes his position and won't admit it. He has, in other words, decided that high schools do in fact exist to produce high school football, and any position to the contrary is obviously a result of people being bitter jock hating nerds, and probably commie faggots too.

More importantly he is apparently of the opinion that there are only two possible positions that can be taken in the argument: 1) that football is the greatest and most important thing that exists in high school and should be funded on that basis, or 2) that football is evil and it should be banned immediately. Therefore any proposal that the football budget be brought back into the realm of sanity is immediately seen as a disguised proposal to ban football entirely. He's not living in reality, and there's no point talking to him on the subject. On other subjects rocket88 might be capiable of engaging in sane conversation.
posted by sotonohito at 5:12 AM on August 12, 2007


Meh. Doing my broken record impersonation here, but if the majority of D-I football programs don't make a net gain of 200K (my alma mater in particular), I really doubt that a Texas high school program does it.

So let's say it does.

The other 20 programs don't, at the highest level (5A? That's what it was where I grew up). 4A? 3A? Bumfuck 1A? Nah, bullshit.
posted by bardic at 9:09 AM on August 12, 2007


bardic, I just want to thank you for your contribution to the discussion; it's easy to feel underappreciated in such an argumentative thread, but things have gone rather well and it's great to hear from actual teachers (John of Michigan, thanks as well).
posted by mek at 11:32 PM on August 12, 2007


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