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Education Programming

Chelsea Clinton At NCWIT: More PE, Less Zuckerberg 255

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the pizza-and-mountain-dew-considered-harmful dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Among the speakers at last week's National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Summit was Chelsea Clinton, who spoke fondly of the Commodore she received as a kid on Christmas Day in 1987. During the Q&A, Clinton was asked (Vimeo), 'What do you see as some of the right policies that could help put Computer Science — which is undeniably the most important 21st Century skill — into our classrooms?' To which the former First Daughter responded, 'I won't quibble with the fact that I think it's very important. I also think other things admittedly are important.' Such as? Aligning Computer Science with Common Core, for one thing ('Ensure that Computer Science is part of the definition of science'). Using state budget surpluses to hire additional physical education teachers for elementary and middle school students, for another ('For Computer Science, as any subject, kids that are well-fed with healthy food and who have been activated in their bodies will able to learn and retain information in any subject better than if they're not'). And, last but not least, 'continuing to tell stories of people that are not...people who don't look like Mark Zuckerberg as successful in Computer Science and technology.' NCWIT, by the way, was listed as a "major partner" on last December's Hour of Code, which arguably made Mark Zuckerberg the face of Computer Science for K-12 students in the nationwide campaign embraced by President Obama during CSEdWeek."
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Chelsea Clinton At NCWIT: More PE, Less Zuckerberg

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  • Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:18PM (#47096519)

    Why do we care what she thinks?

    • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:30PM (#47096577)

      "Clinton rattled off a series of discouraging numbers that relate to tech education. The share of female computer-science grads has declined during the last decade, from 21 percent in 2001 to as low as 16 percent, a trend she finds “deeply challenging.”"

      Well female graduates from veterinary science programmes have been steadily rising to the point women now outnumber men in the practice of veterinary medicine. I dare say veterinary science is more difficult and demanding than any computer science curriculum. Who's smarter - women choosing a career in veterinary science or women not choosing a career in computer science? I'd say they're both smarter than most men pursuing a career in computer science which in most workplaces means some IT role where a science background is all but useless.

      • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @03:49AM (#47097815) Journal

        Not sure about the USA, but veterinary graduates in the UK have the highest suicide rate of any discipline. It turns out that most people who go into the subject do so because they like animals, and much of the job of a qualified vey (especially a newly qualified vet) involves killing animals. With that in mind, a career in IT doesn't sound so bad.

        Here, by the way, the veterinary school has the most unbalanced gender ratio of any department in the university (more so than computer science), but (as you say) it's female dominated. I suspect that the reason this is seen as of less concern is that our society is increasingly dependent on computers and decreasingly dependent on animals.

        I don't believe that an uneven gender ratio is necessarily a bad thing, but I do mind that we're not getting the best students in computer science, and when only around 10% of our applicants are female then it looks like there's a good chance that we're missing some very competent people.

        • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by swb (14022) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @05:46AM (#47098103)

          Not sure about the USA, but veterinary graduates in the UK have the highest suicide rate of any discipline. It turns out that most people who go into the subject do so because they like animals, and much of the job of a qualified vey (especially a newly qualified vet) involves killing animals. With that in mind, a career in IT doesn't sound so bad.

          And as it turns out, much of the job of new CompSci grads involves killing application systems and designing database entry screens. The question isn't why is the suicide rate so high for veterinarians, but why isn't it higher for CompSci grads?

          • by pla (258480)
            And as it turns out, much of the job of new CompSci grads involves killing application systems and designing database entry screens.

            Support has always counted as one of the biggest PITAs in software engineering. Reducing that to something we can handle server side has made a world of difference to how much it sucks to take a nice clean app and actually give it to (ugh!) users.

            Now, I'll agree data-entry front-ends have very little glamor to them. But keep in mind, someone gets to write the back-end co
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by necro81 (917438)

          I don't believe that an uneven gender ratio is necessarily a bad thing

          I have not particular evidence to back up this next assertion, but...

          Men and women utilize and consume technology is roughly equal amounts. Not just sitting in front of computers trolling facebook, but also driving cars, accessing medical care, communicating on mobile devices, pay taxes to fund the military-industrial complex, and burning through a whopping amount of energy in the process. So, to the extent that men and women are e

          • by stdarg (456557)

            if women aren't helping to develop new technology, then we're probably missing something important.

            So your argument is that women bring something different than men. Well what if what they bring is not important or is actually detrimental somehow, and that's why they are underrepresented?

            I mean, if you're arguing from the stance that men and women are that different, then you have to admit both possibilities.

      • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tommeke100 (755660) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @06:29AM (#47098271)
        There was a girl in our first year of CS who was a very hard worker, but just couldn't handle the advanced math.
        She switched to med school after she flunked and passed with flying colors.

        It really depends on what you take as basis for a 'tough' curriculum.
        Med school and veterinary school may require you to work 'harder'. But with CS and Math, if you don't get it, you just don't get it. No matter how hard you work.
        I wouldn't be able to do Med school though, I faint at the sight of a needle ;-)
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I don't think most people look at the entire range of available careers and pick one based on their job/life prospects. They choose something they are interested in and can stand to study in depth for a few years, and which they have some talent at.

        In other words it isn't about ratios or numbers. All that matters is if someone who is interested in studying or having a career in engineering is put off for some reason other than lack of ability. We want a meritocracy, right? So if a guy can't afford it but ha

    • or will be. She's a member of the American Ruling Class. The working class is hoping she's turn on her own and help us out....
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:25PM (#47097113)

      We don't. She's just a mouthpiece who happens to have famous parents.

    • Why do we care what she thinks?

      Because she was in the Beavis and Butthead movie of course.

    • Maybe? I don't know why else she may have been invited to speak there. Except that someone thinks she may run for elected office someday?

    • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @09:06AM (#47099049) Homepage

      Why do we care what she thinks?

      Because she is a visible public-speaking figure with the power to lobby for or against things. For better or worse what matters in this world is not what you know but your power to influence policy making. This is not to say knowing and ability to influence are mutually exclusive, nor I'm saying whether Chelsea Clinton is qualified to say what is needed or not in STEM education.

      I'm simply saying that if *you* (the generic you) do not care what a public speaker with the potential power of influence (directly or by political/family ties) says simply because some perceived or real lack of technical acumen, *you* are an idiot.

      It is like saying "why should we care what a Creationist politician thinks?" and then wondering why state legislation bodies keep passing idiotic laws regarding STEM education in public schools.

      Stupid, right?

      Against, this is not say whether Chelsea Clinton is onto something or is completely unqualified to speak about the subject, but more about an indictment in ./'s collective technotard arrogance and cluelessness on how the world operates. That your post actually gets modded as insightful is a pathetic example of that sad state of affairs among people who consider themselves techno-illuminated.

    • Because she works at NYU as an assistant vice provost recruiting students. One of her jobs is to go out and find academic talent and bring it to NYU. So her job is to determine what skills are most valuable in an academic sense, which is exactly what NCWIT is talking about with concerns about women in technology.

  • Role Models (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:20PM (#47096527)

    Why, Chelsea herself demonstrates that there are options for people who don't look like Mark Zuckerberg. All you need to do is be born into the right family and you too can be Vice Chair of a foundation you basically can't be fired from.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:31PM (#47096581)

    She's just a political Kardashian, why do people pay any attention to her?

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:36PM (#47096611) Homepage

      Because Americans love dynasties. Duh!

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:00PM (#47096769) Journal

        Because Americans love dynasties. Duh!

        It's weird. You go and found a country that forbids noble titles and state religions and you get the US. You head across the pond to the UK, and you've got a monarchy less influential than some congressional committee positions and a state religion that can't even get people out of bed and into church one day a week(and the remaining subscribers are greying out pretty dangerously).

        Not sure how that happened.

        • Reverse psychology. You don't HAVE to, so you WANT to.

          We should maybe outlaw elections and/or caring for political decisions.

    • by jcr (53032)

      That's a very good way to put it. Her only claim to notoriety is that she's the offspring of a pair of depraved power-seekers.

      -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ClickOnThis (137803)

      She's just a political Kardashian, why do people pay any attention to her?

      Well, her dad was POTUS, and her mom just might be the same in the near future. That, and she's intelligent and well-spoken (PhD in International Studies.)

      I don't think the Kardashian sisters can match the above.

      • by Gothmolly (148874)

        PhD in "International Studies" doesn't mean "intelligent and well-spoken". A PhD means that your professor knows that your dad is Bill Clinton.
        I feel for her - if she succeeds nobody will buy it, because of all the political shenanigans her family has been involved in. Look at all the useless Kennedys.

      • I have an idea... let's just make her Ambassador to Lybia and station her in Benghazi for a few years. If she does OK there, we'll see what difference it makes and if it improves her public image.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because she is right. PE and healthy foods help to balance out the unhealthy sedentary lifestyle of a coder.

      And Zuckerburg sucks. I don't see how Facebook is worth 1/100th of what it is.

      But, as for how to teach CS, the whole system needs to be looked at. It works a lot better to focus only on one subject for 2 months instead of bouncing between classes first of all. Then you need to have interesting projects and challenges to solve. They need to be real world applicable. And then you need to have clas

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:23PM (#47096857)

      Well, I think she said the right thing. Too many of the politcal Kardashians keep saying things like "we need more knowledge workers". In other words, they want more workers, not more people who are genuinely interested in computers or technology or even science. More workers means more economic strength, which is good for the country but not necessarily the best for the actual people involved if they would be happier elsewhere. We're already glutted with computer workers who have little aptitude for it all. It's best to focus on the basics first instead of worrying about the electives.

      • by JWW (79176)

        The only problem I have with what she said is that it basically boiled down to, "we need to improve Computer Science education by educating kids in a whole bunch of other basically un-related things."

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The only problem I have with what she said is that it basically boiled down to, "we need to improve Computer Science education by educating kids in a whole bunch of other basically un-related things."

          Computer science education is pretty fucking far down on the list of worries, and there's a long way to go in our education system before it's worth including significantly to begin with. Basic education of the sort required to comprehend computer science like mathematics and god forbid logic are not in a state to prepare students for CS.

          • by stdarg (456557)

            Saying they need to learn math and logic to prepare for CS is not an argument AGAINST it. Sometimes if you give kids a goal, they are more motivated to learn the prerequisites. Who knows if it would work, but it seems reasonable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'What do you see as some of the right policies that could help put Computer Science — which is undeniably the most important 21st Century skill — into our classrooms?'

    "Undeniably", technology buffoon? Scavenging for food and repairing shelters and small machines are much more likely to be the most needed skill in the not too distant future.

  • maybe in K-12 but at collgle if they want to to take PE it better be free not at the a price that is way over the cost of a 2 year plan at a good GYM just for the price of one class before fees..

  • uhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:55PM (#47096719)

    ...which is undeniably the most important 21st Century skill...

    Computer science is not a skill. Even if it were, however, I'd regard its status as undeniably the most important 21st Century skill to in fact be fairly deniable.

    • I'm putting 'the ability to read' as a strong candidate for most important 21st century skill. Anyone have another more important skill?
    • Re:uhh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:49PM (#47096969) Journal
      OK, after watching the movie, it was the interviewer who claimed that CS is the most important 21st century skill. Chelsea looked at the interviewer as though it was the stupidest thing she had ever heard, and then said, "uh.....it is very important, but there are other things that are also very important."
  • if you ignore the Math then "Computer Science" is writing if-elses and for loops. As near as I can tell this is just a bunch of rich people tired of paying programmers 6 figures. Points to Ms Clinton for asking that money be put to fundamental development and the general betterment. The cynic in me wonders if she means it (who watch half his career go overseas and the other half eroded by cheap 'n easy work visas) hopes she means it...
    • Points to Ms Clinton for asking that money be put to fundamental development and the general betterment.

      How sad that more people do not realize computers have brought "General Betterment" to more people than most inventions in history.

      • Points to Ms Clinton for asking that money be put to fundamental development and the general betterment.

        How sad that more people do not realize computers have brought "General Betterment" to more people than most inventions in history.

        Sanitation? Fresh water? Roads? Irrigation? Medicine? Education?

        • Computers mean efficient communications and stored knowledge. ALL of the things you mention have been made better through information stored and shared via computers.

          Computer Science is thing thing that amplifies everything else, making it more accessible to everyone and not just first world countries.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          How sad that more people do not realize computers have brought "General Betterment" to more people than most inventions in history.

          Sanitation? Fresh water? Roads? Irrigation? Medicine? Education?

          All of which are implemented today through the auspices of computing. Our current financial boon would also not be possible without computing. Now if only we spent it on betterment instead of private yachts or worse, not spending it at all.

    • by cluening (6626) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:43PM (#47097181) Homepage

      Computer science _is_ the math. If you ignore the math, you're ignoring the entire field.

  • She's great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    But Common Core is shit, and it's robbing children, notably poor minority children, of their education.

    What works? Letting teachers teach and putting the administrators on a tight leash.
    What doesn't work? Micromanaging all teachers, telling them how to do their job, and letting administrators run the show.

    Let's stick with what works. We don't need iPads in every classroom, we don't need to teach every kid C++, and we don't need bizarre curriculum revamps or biased and unproven testing methods like Smarter B

  • Most people who need to use computers don't need to know how they work inside or how to program them. There is no "undeniable" need to boost CS anymore than there is a need to teach the masses about the details of running a farm.

  • Here's a link to where she talks about the Commodore 64 [vimeo.com], check at 1:45. She also mentioned that she liked Carmen Sandiego.
    • I would expect her to have gotten a Commodore 128 in 1987. Did she say she got a 64? I didn't hear it in the video.
  • Zuckerberg built a mediocre site that was in the right place at the right time to make a quick buck off of it, and the modern iteration is not maintained by him. The only reason we're hearing from him is because of how much money he makes. The only reason we hear from chelsea clinton at all is because she's a clinton, and she's just repeating her mother's party line, nothing new.

    Neither are 'computer scientists' nor are they informed enough to speak for education or technology in general. One speaks from

  • So why is Chelsea Clinton's opinion any more important than the flavor-of-the-month reality TV star(let)?

  • Skip the focus on fucking Comp. Sci.
    America has, overall, great schools in the k-6 realm. I have seen kids come from Germany, Austria, China, Sweden, Britain, Thailand, Japan, etc, and over and over, most of the K-6 are BEHIND American student. It appears that around 6-8, we are similar. It is in high school where we appear to fall behind, but not really. In all of the other nations, they spit the kids out in our high school arena. Most of them will not go to college so start working on learning simple ski
    • by gordo3000 (785698)

      interesting this is your experience. My experience is the exact opposite (and was educated in a public school in the US, in central Florida so not a well monied district). My experience was that language barriers existed for those who came here randomly at young ages and they struggled at US history because they spent their time learning the history of their own country, but in mathematics, Americans were regularly 1-3 grade levels behind those educated abroad. The worst gap was against Indians at young

  • ... Computer Science â" which is undeniably the most important 21st Century skill...

    I sort of stumbled over this one - it stands out as blatant nonsense, IMO, at least when picked out of its context. There is no doubt that information processing is important, but all the important, fundamental research has been done, really, and we are just polishing up and filling gaps now. I would say that most of what computer science has brought us, now belongs to the basic skill set along with things like literacy, numeracy and the ability to eat and drink through the right orifices. All very importa

  • It should be more RMS, less Zuckerberg.

    Fixed that for ya Chelsea.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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