Tulsa Public Schools have linked student participation in fall sports to their least desirable option for remote learning. Don’t play their games - play our sports instead.
Tulsa Public Schools may not know or care much about sports, but they at least know their game theory. Or maybe they’ve just learned a few things from watching The Sopranos.
TPS is leveraging incentives (to be generous) or using strong arm tactics (to be more honest) to get students to sign up for their “virtual” learning option this fall. The main incentive / extortion is involvement in sports or clubs. If a student wants to play a fall sport or join an extracurricular, they have to take the “virtual” option, which means staring at a computer screen continuously for the duration of a normal school day.
Apparently, they haven’t heard of “Zoom brain,” nor used their own brains to think about what that level of screen exposure - and the particulars of real-time multi-person video streaming - might do to young brains.
The alternative for students and parents is “distance” learning, which would be a learn-at-your-own-pace curriculum via the online education provider Edmentum. TPS surely knows how many families in the area have opted out and chosen Epic, and are not interested in opening the door for another fox to enter their henhouse. To get the students to do what they, the school district wants, Tulsa Public Schools are withholding what the students want.
We’re here to make it possible for you to not give TPS what they want, and to provide what Tulsa parents and student-athletes want: sports.
We can’t do much about football. But if your child (or you, the athlete, if you’re the one reading this) runs cross-country or plays a winter or spring sport, we are your place for one-on-one or group performance training.
Cross country runners, in particular, benefit from our years of experience working with track & field athletes; and even more so given the pathetic level of coaching and advice we’re finding is common in the area (an upcoming “Heard around Tulsa tracks blog” will be about coaches encouraging sprinters to join cross country for the fall so they can “get in some workouts”). We may also go ahead with presenting some kind of race or meet this fall so that those track athletes who did not get a chance to compete last spring and are being excluded from racing this fall will have a chance to throw down some times and flare off some competitive fuel.
Athletes from all sports are welcome and will benefit from our athletic performance programs. We are working on group options - en route to our ambition of being a true athletics club - so students will not have to give up the social benefits of sports (another thing about which TPS - and, to be fair, many of the other schools in the area - seems blandly dismissive).
Please send us an e-mail or, before deciding to do that, read some of our other blogs to learn more about what we do and how we do it. We’re new in Tulsa, but we are 100% here for Tulsa’s athletes of all ages.
No school? No school sports? No problem. In fact, this could be great for us.
Oh, and if in-person learning returns before the end of the fall semester, “distance” students will not be welcomed back, which means they would probably be ineligible for winter sports as well.
Photo credit: Janice Waltzer, Flickr, under CC BY 2.0.