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Education Programming The Almighty Buck More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls 381

Posted by timothy
from the achieving-a-particular-balance dept.
theodp writes "The same cast of billionaire characters — Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Eric Schmidt — is backing, which is lobbying Congress for more visas to 'meet our workforce needs,' as well as, which aims to popularize Computer Science education in the U.S. to address a projected CS job shortfall. In laying out the two-pronged strategy for the Senate, Microsoft General Counsel and Board member Brad Smith argued that providing more kids with a STEM education — particularly CS — was 'an issue of critical importance to our country.' But with its K-8 learn-to-code program which calls for teachers to receive 25% less money if fewer than 40% of their CS students are girls, Smith's is sending the message that training too many boys isn't an acceptable solution to the nation's CS crisis. 'When 10 or more students complete the course,' explains, "you will receive a $750 gift code. If 40% or more of your participating students are female, you'll receive an additional $250, for a total gift of $1,000 in funding!" The $1+ million CS education partnership appears to draw inspiration from a $5 million Google-DoonorsChoose STEM education partnership which includes nebulous conditions that disqualify schools from AP STEM funding if projected participation by female students in AP STEM programs is deemed insufficient. So, are Zuckerberg, Gates, Ballmer, and Schmidt walking-the-gender-diversity-talk at their own companies? Not according to the NY Times, which just reported that women still account for only about 25% of all employees at supporters Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. By the way, while not mentioning these specific programs, CNET reports that Slashdot owner Dice supports the STEM efforts of and Donors Choose."
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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2013 @04:22PM (#45509027)

    Now that most medical students are female, will the same measures be taken to punish "sexist" women doctors ?

  • Other Fields? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2013 @04:28PM (#45509075)
    So will the same apply to nursing teachers if not enough male students enroll?
  • by Sneftel (15416) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @04:36PM (#45509129)

    You don't know a single competent programmer who just started programming just because they wanted to. They started programming because they had the opportunity to, and the support. And if manipulating teachers is effective in countering their (probably unconscious, but nevertheless well-researched and documented) bias towards offering opportunity and support towards mostly boys, then it's the right thing to do.

  • Re:Other Fields? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @04:40PM (#45509149)

    Some years ago (1990s I think - it was quite a while ago anyway), the University of Washington proposed what amounted to reverse affirmative action in their teaching school with the goal of increasing the number of men going into that female-dominated area. They got slapped down pretty hard by the various women's groups, and quickly back pedaled.

    What's sauce for the gander is obviously not sauce for the goose.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @04:54PM (#45509241)

    Just say women next time. Or how bout "women and girls"

    "Women" as I said is inaccurate. Strunk & White would veto your sentence expanding "women and girls" when a perfectly good english word, Female, exists to cover both terms and indeed the totality of the gender.

    I fail to understand why anyone would see "female" as a creepy word unless they had some underlying issue with females themselves or were too steeped in political correctness to write well because of some absurd fear of trigger words. It's very suspicious you are not willing to attach a "real" handle even to your assertions.

  • by theodp (442580) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @05:53PM (#45509687)

    Kind of odd that just a few paragraphs after saying it will cap teachers' grants for classes with too many boys, instructs teachers [] to: 'Inspire your students: introduce computer science and make it exciting, creative and for everyone. Show your students the film, "What Most Schools Don't Teach": it features Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Black Eyed Peas founder and NBA star Chris Bosh talking about the importance of programming."

  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @06:15PM (#45509863) Journal

    The politically-correct bullshit has to stop - do people REALLY believe there's a concerted effort to keep women out of coding? It must be so, because that's the only situation in which this sort of thing would matter.

    As far as I can tell, they do. Not in the sense of a conspiracy, but in the sense that they think male programmers are by and large misogynistic bastards who drive women out through our poor hygiene, sartorial failure, creepy stares, inappropriate jokes, and the like. This idea fails on any number of levels, chief of which IMO is that in professions where the men are far, far, worse (such as sales and advertising), there are more women.

    Anyway, given that idea, the obvious "solution" is to simultaneously encourage more women (and fewer men) to enter the profession, while coming down hard on any sort of expression or action by men which might tend to alienate women. This, of course, fails on every possible level.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex&project-retrograde,com> on Sunday November 24, 2013 @06:49PM (#45510105)

    Why does it matter what chromosomes your coder bears?

    Maybe the women are more likely to tolerate being underpaid. If training more coders is an effort to keep wages down, it might make sense to train a class of people who have historically worked for lower wages.

    Except that your revisionist historical bullshit is wrong. Women who work the same jobs for the same time as men are paid more than men, this has been true since at least the 70's. [] Never married women make more money than never married men. What happens when folks get married? KIDS. So, The husband may work a bit harder while the wife takes maternity leave to have a baby. Women are more likely to spend time off work with their kids. Then some deluded feminists with an agenda come along and tally up the pay of all women and all men, ignoring the choices that women and men have made were different. Then they go on about some wage gap myth that never existed in the first place.

    Furthermore, your argument makes no sense. If women naturally worked harder for less pay, then it would be foolish for any business to hire a majority men. Contrary to what you're implying: WOMEN ARE NOT DUMB. Get it through your fool head: You are wrong about the wages. STOP listening to the "women are always victims" bullshit. It's wrong. Read a history book or ANY unbiased sampling of wage data for fuck's sake: Running a home and raising a kid used to be a full time job before all our modern conveniences came into existence. Men and women are different. They have different bodies and behaviors thanks to millions of years of evolution as a sexually dimorphic race. They make different life choices at different rates. We give them equal opportunity and they express their differences in the choices they make.

  • Re:Horse, meet water (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2013 @07:09PM (#45510219)

    This is the sad reality playing out for minor sports in college. If a school cannot find enough women who are willing to play sports, they have to start cutting men's sports. Can we require students sign a contract that they will play sports for the first two years? Since women had made up the majority of students on college campuses for a generation, this would ensure plenty of women participating in sports.

  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @10:58PM (#45511469) Journal

    Don't knock it. We've hired a buncha folks lately, and frankly, the quality of the "average developer" these days is horrible. About a decade or so ago, you might have to go through a dozen or so interviews before finding someone who is at least a good code monkey, but these days, you have to go through at least 30 or so applicants to find someone who is even remotely competent (like ability to open an editor and write a hello world program competent).

    There is definitely a skills shortage. I doubt it can be solved by importing folks from other places, or whatnot. Education really needs to step up.... way too many folks get the degrees (or pretend degrees) without knowing the basics.

    There's not a skills shortage, there's an idiot surplus. The good ones are still there, but thanks to overall economic conditions there's a lot more idiots applying so you have to sift through more idiots to find people you want. (HR policies which select for idiots and (especially) liars don't help).

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday November 25, 2013 @01:08AM (#45512149)

    If they get past that, ask them how heap sort works.

    Heapsort? I doubt that most CS graduate students could code up heapsort on the spot if you ambushed them with that question. This is the kind of question that interviewers ask to make themselves look smart without realizing that it makes them look like a smart ass. If they have a CS degree from a reputable school you can safely assume that sorting was covered. It's rarely an issue in commercial code because efficient sorting is a built in feature of just about every commercial software framework in common use. If you really must weed out the people who absolutely cannot code, just throw FizzBuzz at them. It's effective and serves essentially the same purpose without annoying (or eliminating) otherwise decent candidates.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.