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January 11, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Solving the problem of inequity funds and coaching in policy debate

[quote]Problem: Small schools get eaten by big schools.
Problem: Walking into an out round where the other team has three coaches prepping them out
Problem: Small teams don’t have access to an army of evidence producers
Problem: Small schools can’t travel nearly as much as big schools
Problem: Small schools don’t get to have “off weekends”

Problem: Inequity in debate.

But that’s nothing new, despite how hard we try to pretend it doesn’t exist. [/quote]

I’m pretty sure I can’t deny that these challenges exist…..although this probably assumes one category of schools to be sure.

But I’m mostly writing this to explode the assumptions that “we can’t afford coaching (from a quality local college debater)”

Also, quality coaching can check this (ie you are small, but arguably you can probably still spilt the cost of a coach between you and your fellow debaters.)
Even squads with only 4 teammates attending may be in a position to do so. The larger problem I see is geography gaps where the only quality/circuit coaching you
might be able to get during the week might be on the phone or via skype.

If you can afford a laptop or camp….you can afford an assistant coach. Paying $1,500 to $2,500 for camp & not investing in coaching with your
other teammates simply doesn’t make intuitive sense.

[b]A practice debate might cost you $6.50 per debate [/b](assuming you hire a judge for $25)…..versus tournament debates are probably more like $30 per debate + $30 for money spent at camp divided over your season. Sorry these are crude guesstimations. (certainly some tournaments are less…and travel tournaments….particularly TOC level tournaments or out of state tournaments are often more). Hiring coaching runs about what hiring a judge from the tournament runs + $100. An extra $25 per tournament generally isn’t going to put you in the poor house.
If you multiply those numbers out….you can get a decent edge for practice debating versus tournament debates. [b]I’m not saying don’t go to tournaments. I’m saying you get a difference of $6.50 dollars versus $65 dollars per debate (rounded off for easy math). Thats 1/10th the cost. Its cheaper to get coaching than attend tournaments. Plus you are already investing a TON of money in the activity. Thats why paying $10 for a Thursday file is a drop in the bucket…especially if its split 2 to 4 ways on a debate squad–the same logic applies to practice debates.[/b]

Other ways to up your game:
• Coaching systems (ie replicable methods for on-boarding new novices in efficient ways)
• Practice debates & rebuttal redoes
• Time for reflection
• Productivity/efficiency
• Consider ways to collaborate with other small squads for coaching (aka split coaching). 2 to 4 local schools could split 1 or 1.5 or even 2 coaches–especially in terms of practice debates. Admittedly this gets harder if these squads have a singificant number of encounters during the year.

Some people do have a lack of funds. Some people have funds but spend it on other stuff (video games, etc…). You have choices….your current position in life isn’t destiny. Its only a starting point.

We have a tendency to describe things in a deterministic way (actually over-deterministic way). They don’t have to be this way–you are smart and creative and problem-solvers.

People probably said the UDL couldn’t be done…that urban students would never be able to compete…..they were proven wrong.

Get creative. If you don’t have money….you have e-bay at your service you also have “Google”
• how can team sports raise money?
• how can school activities raise money?
• how can high school activities get sponsorships?
You get the idea.


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