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Education Programming Microsoft The Almighty Buck IT Politics

Well-Played: Microsoft Parlays NSF Video 'Remake' Into National CS K-12 Crisis 69

theodp writes: K–12 computer science and information technology teachers head to Grapevine, TX this week for the 2015 CSTA Conference. A glance at the draft agenda shows a remarkable number of presenters employed by or tied to two-year-old Code.org, the tech-bankrolled nonprofit that coincidentally sprung up together with Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC just months after Microsoft called for the creation of a national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis to advance its agenda. Code.org's shaping of the nation's CS K-12 education began with the release of its tech-billionaire and celebrity-studded, slickly-produced What Most Schools Don't Teach video, which went viral on YouTube after being promoted by politicians, Facebook, Google, and a Microsoft-sponsored theatrical release, sparking a groundswell of interest in expanding K-12 CS education, succeeding where a similarly-themed-and-messaged but decidedly-amateurish National Science Foundation video of real-but-little-known computer scientists failed just months earlier (YouTube Doubler comparison). (More, below.)
"The time is ripe to seize that opportunity," declared the ACM's and Code.org's Cameron Wilson, describing how Code.org was forming a coalition with Microsoft, Google, NSF, NCWIT, ACM, CSTA, and others with the goal of changing policy to support CS education. Computer science educators literally applauded Code.org's efforts, which have led to funding of a number of new K-12 CS projects, and may soon make No Child Left Behind Act funding available for K-12 CS education. Despite promises of transparency, details of the relationship of the National Science Foundation, now-NSF partner Code.org, the White House, ACM, NCWIT, College Board, and Code.org's corporate and billionaire backers — including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook — have never really been explained.
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Well-Played: Microsoft Parlays NSF Video 'Remake' Into National CS K-12 Crisis

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  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2015 @04:39PM (#50089941)

    I'm supposed understand this gibberish mess of links and blabber? I miss you old times

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Saturday July 11, 2015 @04:58PM (#50090039)
    privatize profits/socialize expenses.
  • it's just as important in today's world as learning algebra, literature, or music

    i'd also like to see financial literacy taught as well (but credit card companies would lobby against that)

    the rest of the "summary" above is a bunch of stilted hate. we get it: people hate microsoft and facebook. heck, i hate microsoft and facebook

    but even hitler liked dogs and believed in a funding national infrastructure. meaning: even someone you hate can be right about something and you can agree on something

    if you actuall

    • K-12 school made me hate math. It was presented by people that didn't understand it or it's implications. They followed a workbook created by the book industry who's main motivation is profit.

      On the flip side, I learned to program in high school through resources on the Internet (late 90's). They were usually created ad-hoc by real programmers and computer scientists. When I got into college and was taught math by professionals, I gained interest, but the damage was already done.

      Modern education is a
      • I didn't have the Internet to pull from, but that's pretty much what happened with me too. Bad math teaching in elementary school turned me off Math, and the only thing that got me back into it was programming. I started writing software when I was 9, and by the time highschool came around, I was getting algorithm books out of the library, and realized how it all depended on optimization maths. So I took some advanced math/calc courses in HS, but the damage was already done... mathematics weren't intuiti

      • don't teach kids math so they don't hate math. got it

      • To quote my 8th grade math teacher when I asked "But isn't there a way to calculate square roots?" .. he answered "There is no way to calculate square roots. It must be done by trial and error."

        That sums up K-12 math education right there. He wasn't lying. He just didn't know.
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Most mathematics "educators" teach by rote. You do this to get this result and this is the proof. They never once actually explain WHY that is. They do not abstract and show the real world functions beyond the abacus used to teach toddlers. (They still make those, yes?) For instance, percentages are really damned easy if you figure out a single percent and then add/subtract that to find your total. You tell someone to get 53% of 500 and they will look at you as if you are daft. You should be able to do this

    • by theodp ( 442580 )

      Kids learning programming is fine. Whether public education should depend on the philanthropy of tech companies and their billionaire leaders [slashdot.org] whose grants may come attached with conditions for who teachers/schools should educate and how [slashdot.org] is another matter. Microsoft's reported insistence on CS-education-their-way [slashdot.org] in return for agreeing to pay taxes is also reason for concern, IMO.

      • agreed. but the real problem is opposing teaching programming because we don't like microsoft. fuck microsoft

        oh, microsoft wants a say? make them pay for the hardware. thanks microsoft, now fuck off. see how that works?

        people have this bizarre impression that corporations are this dark force of evil unstoppable and unbendable. corporations are made of people. tell them what to do then tell them to fuck off

        corporations do exert a lot of vile influence in society. so oppose that bad influence, while using the

    • it's just as important in today's world as learning algebra, literature, or music

      Algebra: largely unimportant for most people. Nerds are the exception. Some adults entering college have trouble with fractions. Arithmetic is useful for nearly everyone though.
      Literature is very unimportant except as a means of homogenizing culture, but TV does that far better these days. Reading and writing are important.
      Music is basic to humans, and while I don't share the drive to listen to music that others seem to have, I do have a drive to create music (much to the detriment of those around me)

      • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Saturday July 11, 2015 @06:36PM (#50090391) Homepage Journal

        Algebra: largely unimportant for most people. Nerds are the exception. Some adults entering college have trouble with fractions. Arithmetic is useful for nearly everyone though.

        My kids are trying to halve a cookie recipe right now and are having to ask me questions like "what is half of 1 1/4?" Seems like fractions are pretty important for people like, oh, stay at home mom's.
        Algebra is extremely useful. How else do you you determine whether 24 oz of one brand is cheaper than 20 oz of another (some stores are kind enough to list the price per ounce). Seems like Algebra would be extremely useful for people who go shopping for groceries.
        I was at a store the other day when a young girl tried to talk her mom into the big box of cheerios because it was cheaper per ounce. The mother shot her down saying "they just make the box bigger, they don't put any more in it". Hopefully, HOPEFULLY that girl learned no lesson that day other than that her mother is a dumbass and she needs a better role model.
        I'm not so sure education is the problem in America. The kids seem to be bright enough. The kids I graduated high school with knew basic biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, English and so forth. It's the adults that seem to be lacking in this knowledge. Have you seen Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? The kids in America are pretty smart. It's the adults that seem to go out of their way not to know anything and try to forget anything that they DID know.

        • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday July 11, 2015 @11:53PM (#50091579)

          Have you seen Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? The kids in America are pretty smart. It's the adults that seem to go out of their way not to know anything and try to forget anything that they DID know.

          I'm not agreeing with GP in any way, but... That gameshow relies on the fact that fifth-grade material probably hasn't been actively recalled by the adult in many years, even decades. While amusing, it's not a good display of levels of intelligence or education. People naturally will tend to forget material that is no longer relevant to their daily lives.

          It's sort of the same thing with the "man on the street" interviews that purport to show how ignorant Americans are. You need to take these with a grain of salt for a few reasons, IMO. First, these interview segments undoubtedly only use the most hilariously bad answers, since it wouldn't be any fun to see someone that can intelligently answer the questions given. Second, most people get really nervous when a camera and microphone are suddenly shoved in their face, and they're asked questions about an unfamiliar subject with no time to mentally prepare. I can't help but think this will affect the quality of the answers.

      • Literature is very unimportant except as a means of homogenizing culture

        what a fucking moron you are. teaching kids great literature is "homogenizing culture"? jesus christ what an ignorant douchebag. yeah kids: don't read the great written works of the wise people who came before you, it might make you impressed by their struggles and learn from them. too "homogenizing"

        god i hope you're a troll. no one can be that fucking stupid

      • Assuming the above is heartfelt and not trolling, I'd offer the idea that kids need a basic toolkit so they can choose the life that fits them. I don't want to find that while little Jane may have been born to be a physicist, that she'll never become one because it didn't seem important to teach science and math. Nor do I want to hear that the kid who might have been a real writer wasn't exposed to great literature early on, because literature isn't important. It IS a good question to ask what are the tr
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Basically we need more computer programming taught at all levels of schools, so more jock strap douche bags and cheerleader wannabes can beat the piss out of nerds and geeks, when the jockstraps and cheerleaders fail at coding, which they will do in huge numbers.

      You will not teach one person destined to be a trades person or a food services industry person or unemployed production worker, much code at all but you will piss them off no end and their frustration will be targeted at those few who succeed or

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday July 11, 2015 @06:10PM (#50090291)

    That's all this about.

    Say the american population can't do the job so you need this education upgrade and all the H1B visas you can handle... and then of course fire the existing american labor force that made everything the tech industry has... and possibly have them teach the imports in their final days and then fire them.

    The whole thing is sick.

    MS just fired something like six thousand engineers etc but they need more? Why?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Specifically, they want more engineers from India who they barely have to pay. That's all.

      This is just hedging their bets. If enough people catch on to what a scam the H1B program is and what liars all these corporations whining and crying about the alleged lack of people with tech skills and we take their toy immigration program away from them, the next best thing to do is make sure there's a lot more Americans competing for those jobs so that the can lower wages that way.

    • How is this jingoism moderated up to +5? Explain how people have the right to a job just because of a coincidence of birth? I'm having a hard time understanding this concept, it seems bizarre in our borderless world.
      • How is this jingoism moderated up to +5? Explain how people have the right to a job just because of a coincidence of birth? I'm having a hard time understanding this concept, it seems bizarre in our borderless world.

        Because the world is only borderless if you're a gigantic megacorporation. To everyone else, it's anything but. Shit, an American can't even get into the US from CANADA without a passport anymore. Want to move to Germany and get a job, as an American? Or how about one of the Nordic countries? Good fucking luck. You'll be waiting for your work visa for 3 years, if you're lucky. Unless of course a megacorporation wants it to happen, in which case you'll get it this afternoon. That's assuming you can e

      • Jingoism?
        ""
        jingoism
        NOUN derogatory

        extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy.""

        You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        Fucking ignorant peasants are the death of every free republic. You morons are too stupid to be free. You're born to be dominated. And the real tragedy form my perspective is that you were given a vote in my future. You're unworthy of it. Left to your own de

  • I misread the headline as "Well-Played: Microsoft Parlays NSFW Video 'Remake' Into National CS K-12 Crisis" - which I think would have been faaaar more interesting.

  • WTF is up with the constant stream of stories from theodp opposing CS education? Please, Slashdot editors, stop posting them!. Yes, I know it's somehow supposed to be a conspiracy by big companies to reshape our educational system (so it's evil!), and supposedly they don't really care about education at all (wait, didn't I just contradict myself?), only immigration policy, and so on. But really, most of these posts contain nothing but insinuations meant to make people think (without giving a good reason

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2015 @07:37PM (#50090611)

    From the video:

    "Our policy is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. The whole limit of the system is just that there just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today."
    - Mark, CREATED facebook

    "A lot of the coding that people do is actually fairly simple."
    - Makinde, EARLY facebook ENGINEER

    I have been a coder for 30 years. I know HTML, Javascript, C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, Scala, SQL, etc.
    I am currently employed as a software developer.
    Facebook has made no discernible effort to find or hire me. I doubt that they would hire me if I approached them.
    I will work cheap (six figures plus benefits). I will not move to California.

    I have three college-aged children that are modestly talented who would accept $50K + benefits right now. Some would take $20K to work part-time while going to school. Facebook has not hired them.

    There are a dozen kids with decent skills at the local high school. Facebook has not offered them anything.

    Is Facebook really trying to hire as many talented engineers as they can find? Because I could find at least two in every high school in the U.S. and at least 5 in half the universities in the U.S. Give me $100K per, and I will recruit 500 people a year all by myself. That is, I will travel from school to school and hire 2 people every day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, all year. And you wouldn't have to pay me. I would pocket whatever is left over from the $50,000,000 after I negotiate the salary of the 500 talented engineers. I will pay my own travel expenses, too.

    How many millions is Facebook paying to lobby for more visas? I'm offering my services and 500 talented engineers for $50 million per year. No visas required. No congressman required.

    I think I could come up with 10 people who are qualified to spot talented engineers who would be willing to join me. Together, we could recruit 5000 talented engineers per year.

    Mark, would you care to qualify your claim? Or are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and hire 5000 talented U.S. engineers this year.

  • Sure, they have a Gaylord, but, damn, glad I left there a few years ago Grapevine does not have the infrastructure to handle much traffic. And poor Southlake is going to get flooded with even more people who cant judge the space their SUV needs during dinner time.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel

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