A coach is one of the most important hires a district can make !!

““A coach is one of the most important hires a district can make, Elbert County Superintendent Chuck Bell said.””

– we need to change this to “A ROBOTICS / STEM coach is one of the most important hires a district can make,”…

Here is the article

Clearly hiring a football coach will help improve Elbert County’s 32% math proficiency rate and 7.3/100 college readiness index.

Im glad all of 4% of students passed ap exams.

I have little doubt that Football coaches are important but if they offered a 20K stipend to each of five professionals to come and mentor FRC teams for a year then they’d see a much larger payout. Talk about needing to change the culture…

I played football in Georgia, and lost two season of playoffs to Colquitt & Valdosta. Their programs were huge, their players were huge, and their attitudes were outright vicious. The towns are small. Prospects for sticking around after school are small. Prospects for coming back after college are practically non-existent. Winning a state football championship means something to these communities. These communities don’t see STEM as a benefit because they don’t see the capital available to them to invest locally in STEM careers & residual jobs, so a lot of their bright STEM kids leave to find the jobs after college (going off of my facebook profile, small sample size as that is…).

From Georgia Football I learned work ethic, dedication, and how to speak up or lead as an introvert in a group of loud people. I think that’s the approach the superintendent means to take - find a leader who can teach those things as values to people who may not be on a track to use their full potential. Given the lack of broad opportunity or drive for STEM from a jobs-based perspective, I bet he feels he’s doing the best he can for the locals who stay local after school.

I don’t mean to imply I like what the superintendent is saying (or paying) - yet what he says isn’t surprising. The Atlantic has long-running stories backed by some data about trends in STEM-related fields and how that’s leading to wage disparities in the country with respect to where STEM-based industries actually takes root. Data shows that often the best and brightest from (e.g.) small town Georgia want to go where the other best and brightest are, which is not small town Georgia. The same happens with companies locating to where the best and brightest already live.

This is the culture that is, at its core, hard to change. IMO it takes something ‘crazy’ like what Michigan’s governor did to change it on a large & public scale. In the meantime we ‘in the know’ need to continue to create the infrastructure (proper curriculum, sharing of STEM teaching, ways around roadblocks, alternative programs which may better fit a community, etc). I don’t think we should harbor enmity for the superintendent either.

Edit - Full article is 7 pages long, with some more interesting tidbits that include a break down in pay stipends for some districts.

Interesting comments.

I don’t have anything against the super or the sport.

The bigger point is “we get what we celebrate”… We could double our outcomes if we chose to celebrate and elevate other things in parallel with sport. Yes indeed.

still have a lot of cultural change work to do here in Georgia.

I love the insight… and I think this is everywhere. Minnesota is not immune to High Schools hiring ‘Super Coaches’ for their pet sport.

However, over the last three season in FIRST - I have seen a huge swing for teams/schools adopting FIRST in Minnesota. Most rookie teams that I have talked with in the last two seasons have coaches that are hired by the school district.

This is a HUGE development from our first season in 2013. When we proposed the idea of a FRC team to our school, the administration allowed it - but would not be providing ANY money for it. Up until this time (and sometimes even now), schools refused to acknowledge a FRC team. I know it seems a short amount of time - but in Minny there now seems to be a mini-arms race when it comes to FIRST (especially FRC), STEM related curriculum, and Tech Ed Teachers. Schools that looked the other way in previous years are now clambering to hire a STEM/Robotics coach.

A culture can change:
This is a great nod to the ground plan of MN FIRST and the Minnesota State High School League adopting FRC as an official sport. From the little work that I have done thus far, I can appreciate the work of those that have paved the FRC road in Minnesota.

I believe that we are now at 208 teams in Minnesota - up from 0 in 2005. Hats off to FRC 1816 and all the work that their team has done and what they continue to do.

There is a FIRST arms race brewing here in Georgia also. I predict you will see a lot of change in the next two years… the tide has reversed … more to come :slight_smile:

The biggest issues I have with hiring sport coaches is how much many of them are payed. There was a coach in my district that left to another school for a higher salary and has been rumored to have a 6 digit salary. I couldn’t ever imagine a school district putting 6 digits into hiring a coach for a STEM program like robotics. One thing about sports however, particularly football, is that they do generate revenue. The schools sell tickets to the game to help pay for some of the football program costs. There are a few school districts around where I live who do have big stadiums and always fill them up. One of the schools who always fills their stadium just won the state title to the highest class in our state. They are the type of programs that can afford expensive coaches but many can not. The ones that can’t afford an expensive coach should be the ones pouring money into school programs to educate kids. If your football program is making lots of money and it pays itself back, then that’s ok. It’s the schools that hire coaches for a lot of money and are fine with losing lots of money that are a problem in my opinion.

One thing that is bad about comparing Robotics with sports is that robotics won’t probably ever sell tickets to each event. I also don’t see a robotics event filling up the stands with spectators (Not including team members, scouts, or family members!) for a while unless it is very well advertised and people truly care about the event (cultural change). I think FIRST is trying to jump into the sport aspect too fast. FIRST still needs to focus on development before we worry about drawing the amount of spectators FIRST eventually hopes to get to. It interests me greatly to see if first will ever get to the point where a school district will hire someone as a coach for an immense amount of money like in football. I don’t ever see that happening since football makes a good amount of cash back where FIRST never will make much money back.

However, as some of you have mentioned, schools are hiring “robotics coaches”. I assume that these coaches are also full time teachers who teach a robotics class or two at the end of the school day to let FIRST students work on robots. I’m also assuming that they are hired for the same amount of money or slightly more than a “regular teacher”. Can I get some examples of what I said or what contradict what I said? Thank you.

Why is that hard to imagine? Engineers make those kind of salaries now. Isn’t teaching others how to be engineers just as if not more important?

It’s less money than a regular teacher. Think on the order of $500 to $10,000 stipends to coach robotics teams from what I have seen. I’m not an expert on this but it’s a conversation I’ve had with quite a few people. The amount depends entirely on the local governing bodies and how they are paying for it. I have not heard of any robotics coaches being paid more than $10,000 at this point. Again, I’m not an expert. I’d love to see FIRST conduct some polling on this subject.

Also, I want to point out that I’m not advocating that I should be paid more… I’m on the low end of the scale mentioned above because our school treats me as an employee for liability purposes. I do this for fun and because FRC had a massive impact on me as a student. No amount of money would entice me to do more. What I’m really saying is what Ed is saying above… if we elevate robotics coaches to paid celebrities in the same light as the Football coaches from the articles then we can start to see cultural change.

This is pretty low hanging fruit for sure. I’ll pluck it too: there’s very little that is defensible about the way football and football coaching are treated in many regions of the United States. If we resemble the late Roman Empire in any way today, the most obvious is gladiatorial sport.

The problem is that a Sup is an elected position. If the people want a football coach they’re going to elect someone who will hire football coaches. If a Sup spends the money hiring robotics coaches instead they’re not going to be Sup for very long.

That’s a bigger problem…

Both of our mentors are paid extra. I don’t know how much they are paid but I know there is compensation.

In my school the football coaches get paid a lot but it’s because it’s what the town wants. Not what the superintendent wants. Our superintendent is the one that started the team and continues to support it.

Also my school doesn’t charge for games is that something thats common. I could imagine that they could pay for the program by charging for entry. I know a big part of our lacrosse program is paid for by a college game played on our field (our lacrosse program is bigger then our football program).

Overall if public wants robotics as much as football I’m sure this would be completely opposite.

I feel like First will only get to that point if competitions occur more often. Football is a 1-2 game per week sport so people become invested in it by going to all the games. First is a 1-3 event “sport”.
It’s a similar thing with men’s gymnastics. It’s only on TV a few times per year and most people have no idea what’s going on so it continues to not have much public interest.

FIRST mandates that no spectator fee may be charged for any event using FIRST equipment.

That does not mean money cannot be made at events - concessions, spiritwear, the ol’ tip jar …

If and when FIRST is as prolific and ingrained as major sports, robocoaches may get bigtime salaries the sportsball coaches enjoy. But with it may come the pressure to succeed on the playing field, as well as job security tied to competitive success.

I’m not sure I want derogatory statements made about me on fan message boards. I am not Looking Forward to firemiketaylor.](http://firstinspires.org)com either.