Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Radical Idea

I can't blame certain parents and supporters that are proposing a new "lightweight" $1.3 million sports complex for Edison. They have certainly gone about this in a thoughtful way and are working within the system. For a mere $1.3 million (a starting price, I'm sure) Edison will have more school spirit, and less hassle when it comes to playing varsity athletics. Sadly, this mindset is part of the problem in Tulsa's public education. They have bought in to the notion that this stadium will somehow improve their school. IT WON'T!

You can check out their proposal here at a nicely detailed website. Here is the site where they extol the benefits of such a stadium.

Here is a radical idea or two. First, if Edison wants their own sports complex and stadium, let them use the yet-to-be-built downtown arena! Right now, I am not aware of any sports program that has committed to using that facility. These Edison folks can be the first!

But here is the most radical idea of all. Take varsity athletics out of the schools organization! This would eliminate almost every argument for their proposal.

The cost to run and maintain these programs should not come from public dollars that take away from classroom instruction. These programs should be separately organized and maintained by parent driven booster clubs. That way the bulk of the funding comes from those people most interested in the program. Such a heretical and radical idea will go nowhere, I know. But wouldn't it fundamentally shake up the system to wake them up to the notion that its academics that should be the focus in schools. With such poor academic performance, certain schools have turned lock stock and barrel to athletics and extra-curricular activities as a substitute for education.

This concept is currently at work and very successful at the charter schools in Tulsa. Do the students need sports and other extra-curricular activities? Of course! I am a strong proponent of both. How we accomplish it is flexible and as I argue, outside the budget of the public schools.

I think this is one way that TPS and Tulsa could sent a strong message to its citizens that we are willing to do whatever it takes to focus on turning the dismal academic performance of our students for the better.

How dare I propose such a step in a highschool-football-crazy state like Oklahoma! This is just the kind of outside-the-box thinking needed by our leadership to get the ship righted and back on course. Only then will we really start to see Tulsa's economy and quality of life improve.

By the way, Bates Line has an article about this Edison sports complex too. Several of my links came from his article. Thanks Michael!


Anonymous said...

The Edison stadium supporters should spend less time worried about athletics and more time on academics such as spelling. A view from the air is "AERIAL" not "arial" (see caption on pic at very bottom of

Erik Mann said...

great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA