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Education Programming Celebrates 5th Anniversary, Success In Changing K-12 Education Policy ( 36

theodp writes: It's exactly five years since launched with the video What Most Schools Don't Teach ," noted in a Monday blog post entitled Dedicating Our 5 year Anniversary to our Partners. "Since then, tens of millions of students have begun learning computer science, hundreds of thousands of schools have begun teaching CS, tens of thousands of teachers have attended workshops to introduce CS in their classrooms, hundreds of school districts have added CS to their curriculum, and forty U.S. states and 25 countries have announced policies and plans to support CS in schools [...] We should start by thanking our amazing donors, particularly Amazon [$10+ million], Facebook [$10+ million], Google [$3+ million], Infosys [$10+ million], and Microsoft [$10+ million]. Whether it's corporate funders, foundations, or individual donors, without your generous funding, we wouldn't exist [...] Changing education policies in forty states wouldn't be possible without the help of Microsoft, College Board, Amazon, and every partner in the Advocacy Coalition [...] We're particularly fortunate and proud to have had the vocal support of Bill Gates [$4+ million] and Mark Zuckerberg [$1+ million] since day one." Hey, it takes a corporate village to raise a CS-savvy child!
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  • ...Your kids if you truly love and care for & about them.

    The US public school system is a failure and a disgrace. They're nothing more than ideological indoctrination centers. They gave up on educating children long ago, as the steady stream of illiterate and incapable-of-basic-math H.S. graduates every year proves beyond a doubt.


    • Although I don't 100% completely disagree, I'd say it depends entirely on the location you're in. I went to public school and got a decent education out of it, enough to prepare me for college. My wife, on the other hand, went to school out in bumfuck America and the lack of quality education she received is pretty obvious.
    • 40% of people in the USA live below the official poverty line and so things like access to text books, libraries (reading for pleasure correlates strongly with academic success), food (you can't study very well on an empty stomach), racial and social stigmatism (some people are told that they can go to college/university while others are led to believe that they can't or it's just not for them), etc., all have dramatic effects on educational outcomes. When you control for poverty, i.e. look at the pupils wh

    • Don't lump all US public schools in the same sub-par category. It make you sound like the illiterate one.
  • I've got kids in middle and high school and clearly this comp-sci-in-the-classroom and STEM are really big hot-button topics right now. I see what my kids bring home, and it's not anything great. So some handful of teachers with absolutely zero give-a-shit went to a workshop and hot-glued the proverbial H-bridge Whisker-sensor 'robot' together and put together groups of 3-4 kids for 20 minutes? Or paused the keyboard words-per-minute work in the computer class to let kids navigate to [] to

    • They aren't really teaching "CS" in elementary schools. They're treating CS as a job skill and preparing a workforce who can do simple labor. At least they should call all of this "introduction to computer science". It's like doing physics in high school, the most you're doing is replicating experiments and memorizing formulas, you won't be able to graduate from high school and demand a job in physics.

      I think a lot of this feeds into parents fears that kids are falling behind. This started in the 80s at lea

  • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @12:41PM (#56194501)

    Why do we want primary and secondary pupils to learn how to write software? Software engineers make up just 2.54% of the USA labour force. There's more than double the number of traditional engineers and those are typically higher paid, have better benefits, and enjoy more stable employment, many more in permanent contract positions.

    Also, software engineering is highly specialised and narrow and therefore doesn't transfer well, i.e. getting good at coding doesn't make you good at anything else. The principles and practices of traditional engineering are more transferable and therefore more useful to the vast majority of pupils who may study it but never go on to become engineers. Why don't we have an campaign, I wonder?

    Or to take it further, the single most predictive thing for educational, professional, and social success is literacy. The current average level of literacy for students at university graduation in the USA is B1 (CEFR), which is an intermediate level, far lower than the minimum for overseas students to enter undergraduate studies in the USA. How about a campaign?

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      >> getting good at coding doesn't make you good at anything else.

      If that's all you believe that Software Engineers actually do, then you are part of the problem.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Why do we want primary and secondary pupils to learn how to write software? Software engineers make up just 2.54% of the USA labour force.

      I think that learning to code is basic civic skill. You want a mortgage? - go whip up a spreadsheet to evaluate it. You want to make an informed vote? - get the data online about how your representative has voted, maybe scraping the data if needed, or gather any kind of data about any topic. You want to heat your house cheaply? - program the danged thermostat. You want to cook something? - heck, just knowing that recipes and algorithms are similar will make you a better communicator.

      These aren't questions o

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Follow the money. Who is behind Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc.. These companies are not interested in giving students a better education or making their lives better. They especially don't want to give them transferable knowledge. You see these companies are usually run by economic majors and they know the simple principal of supply and demand. If they can flood the market with coders then they can significantly reduce their labor costs. Plumbers and MDs usually make more money than cod

    • There are some useful parts of coding which transfer over to other tasks in life. Breaking down complex problems into orthogonal chunks which you can tackle one at a time, flowcharting to design a procedural process, developing a methodology for debugging based on the logic of what the code is supposed to be doing. All of these are useful skills which can be applied to other areas of life. If you're going to be teaching software coding to the masses, it should be as a vehicle to teach them these skills.
    • Why do we want primary and secondary pupils to learn how to write software??

      Perhaps the answer to the question is that many of the people pushing these techno-ed initiatives and the educators championing them don't fully understand technology to begin with. This isn't to say they lack proficiency with the tools (although many do), but technology ultimately is about problem solving - not solution creating. With due respect to my fellow technologists, many of us are so freaking obsessed with our mastery of techno trivia, we can't see the forest for the trees. Worst of all, however, w

    • Being a good programmer needs more than just knowing how to be a coder. You need domain knowledge. And you can't always rely on the domain expert being on hand.

      Ie, you're going to use a formula that someone gave you in a spec, so you should know how to convert that formula to the programming language and have it give an accurate result in a reasonable amunt of time. Yet it is very common for even experienced programmers to screw that up badly because they don't know how floating point works, they don't kn

    • What drivel. Engineering leans intensely on complex math. Try teaching that to a bunch of disinterested, undereducated children. Many (most?) people actually interested in Engineering drop out after the first year in college. Software Engineering is a much easier pill to swallow and leverages technologies modern youth are already intimately familiar with. No kid is going to go home and start designing a bridge, but any kid can go home and make their first webpage or app.

      Rule #1 of Engineering: your i

  • "hundreds of thousands of schools have begun teaching CS, tens of thousands of teachers have attended workshops to introduce CS in their classrooms"

    So, one suitably informed teacher for every 10 schools? Will the other schools still be relying on their PE teachers?

    • by Hasaf ( 3744357 )

      More often, the business teachers. The Business Education endorsement on a teachers license specifically includes computer courses.

      The trouble with that approach is that, at least at the middle school level, is that the computer courses are computer apps only (at my school, Word, Excel, and Photoshop).

  • A lot of kids will learn about it on their own, but many won't, so a little bit of high school CS training makes sense, so kids at least understand what an operating system is/does, and the same for databases, compilers, HTTP, etc. Not enough so that they could get a job doing it, but just so they've been exposed to concepts and can talk about it in layman's terms.
    • ...but just so they've been exposed to concepts and can talk about it in layman's terms.

      I don't think that's very likely at all. Like all uninteresting classes I was forced to take in high school and University, I hardly remember anything about them. Ask me even the most basic questions about sewing, statistics, economics, etc., and you will get gobbledygook back.

      For 99.99999% of kids forced to go through these "CS" classes, the end result will be similar. They will core dump everything they were forced to memorize the day after their final exams, because they don't give a single shit abou

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