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Education Programming

Chelsea Clinton At NCWIT: More PE, Less Zuckerberg 255

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 @10:18PM (#47096519)

    Why do we care what she thinks?

  • Role Models (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:20PM (#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.

  • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:30PM (#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.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:31PM (#47096581)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:36PM (#47096609)

    '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.

  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:36PM (#47096611) Homepage

    Because Americans love dynasties. Duh!

  • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:39PM (#47096627) Journal

    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 Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:54PM (#47096709)

    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 classes to teach the basics and some advanced techniques. And at the end, you go into how they can use computer software that they created in their other classes and in the real world.

  • uhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:55PM (#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.

  • Re:Role Models (Score:1, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:56PM (#47096721)
    She seems to me to be an intelligent young woman who is, yes, born and raised in a background most people don't get to experience. This doesn't necessarily mean that she isn't and won't a force for good in her lifetime. You post is based on assumptions you hold about her, you really don't know the woman, or her true ideals. How about we have a wait and see approach before condemning the young lady, hmm...
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:00PM (#47096765)
    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...
  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:23PM (#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.

  • Re:Role Models (Score:5, Insightful)

    by youngone ( 975102 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:37PM (#47096911)
    Of course it means that she won't be a force for good. She'll be exactly what every member of the American ruling class is: a force for whatever is good for the American ruling class.
  • She's great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:38PM (#47096921)

    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 Balance.

  • Re:Back at you. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:28AM (#47097127)

    I'm sorry, a master's degree in what? History? Who gives a shit.

  • by cluening ( 6626 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:43AM (#47097181) Homepage

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

  • Re:Wait... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:50AM (#47097209)

    Actually you're in all likelihood more cognizant of U.S. politics than most U.S. citizens. We're currently steeped in a very, very divisive society with a small extremist conservative sector, an even smaller liberal one, and a massive apathetic, generally-misinformed middle. Give us a few decades to sort our shit out, we'll either crumble under our own doing or bounce back into something more relevant again.

  • Re:Back at you. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:37AM (#47097507) Homepage

    But interestingly enough... no matter how much smoke you blow, you failed to answer the question.

  • Re:Role Models (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @03:02AM (#47097561)

    While we're at it, it's worth noting the other person mentioned in this headline, Mark Zuckerberg, is also part of the American ruling class, and acts accordingly.

    He was raised nearly from birth to fill that role, too, attending an elite private boarding school [] that's basically a finishing school for members of that class.

  • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @06:46AM (#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?

  • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tommeke100 ( 755660 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @07:29AM (#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 luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @10:06AM (#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.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen