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Education The Almighty Buck Politics

K-12 CS Education Funding: Taxes, H-1B Fees, Donations? 165

Posted by timothy
from the still-on-that-eh? dept.
theodp writes "Back in 2010, Bill Gates Sr. made the case for I-1098, an initiative for a WA state income tax that Gates argued was needed to address K-12 funding inequity, which he claimed was forcing businesses "to import technically-trained employees, while our own people are shut out of highly paid careers." Opposed by the deep-pocketed, high-tech studded Defeat 1098, the initiative was defeated. Four years later, some of the same high-tech leaders who records show funded Defeat 1098 — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ($425K), Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith ($10K), Code.org founder Hadi Partovi ($10K), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($100K), Microsoft Corporation ($75K) — have gotten behind groups like Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Code.org, which are singing a similar Chicken Little tune, telling lawmakers that U.S. students will continue to be shut out of highly paid computer science careers without additional K-12 funding, and the U.S. will lose its competitive edge unless tech is permitted to import even more technically-trained employees. In a departure from Gates' income-tax based solution, Microsoft and Code.org argue that the-problem-is-the-solution, proposing that tech visa fees be used to fund K-12 CS programs. To 'accept that computer science classes are only available to the privileged few,' writes Code.org, 'seems un-American'. So, as some of the nation's biggest K-12 school systems turn to Code.org for CS education programs, should they expect the funding to come from taxes, H-1B tech visa fees, or the-kindness-of-wealthy-strangers philanthropy?"
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K-12 CS Education Funding: Taxes, H-1B Fees, Donations?

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  • Read as... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:34PM (#46066635)

    ... we want educated people at slave wages.

    Signed,

    Bill gates.

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:39PM (#46066657) Homepage Journal

    Underfund K12 general education but send money to try to teach your illiterate, mathematically incompetent students computer science. I'm sure Ballmer and Bezos have wet dreams of armies of intellectually complaint code monkeys.

    Speaking as someone who actually *has* a computer science degree, the CS you can teach to someone who is not intellectually prepared is just code monkey stuff. Real CS is quite mentally challenging, and requires a strong grounding in mathematics. It requires some creative thinking too, which is something you can't expect a college student to manifest after a lifetime of intellectual impoverishment.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:39PM (#46066665)

    The US ALREADY has more funding per student than any other major country. That's funded mainly through property taxes, other taxes, etc. This news story points to a 440 page report with all of the details:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us... [cbsnews.com]

    We already spend the most money, and we get terrible results. Obviously, then, spending a LOT of money does not result in a better education. If it were a funding issue, the US would have the best education in the world. Funding is NOT the problem.

    Some problems we have include:
    Spending time and money teaching politics rather than skills. (K-12 students spend FAR more time studying global warming than technology). See also full WEEKS devoted to learning about Mexican culture, another week for Asian culture, two different weeks on black culture, etc.

    Ridiculous rules that horribly bad teachers can't ever be fired because they have tenure (weren't fired sooner).

    Parents are forced to pay for a specific school, rather than having school choice and therefore competition.

  • Re:Read as... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Calavar (1587721) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:55PM (#46066737)

    Dear best buddies in government, We want educated people at slave wages, but people keep trying to stop us. Please tie education funding to our precious H1Bs so that no one will dare to touch them. Signed, Bill Gates

    FTFY

  • by clifwlkr (614327) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:11PM (#46066801)
    I don't understand why these top business people keep trying to say that we need to push more CS type stuff into grades k-12. Why would we tailor such early education specifically to one career choice? What happens if we now have too many programmers, and that is all these young people have been trained for? Other countries do not do this. K-12 should be about fundamentals, and broad education. If you are exposed to a variety of topics, and simple things like the scientific method, math, and problem solving, you can do almost anything in STEM. The problem is our education system is about memorization and regurgitation. Switch to an interactive model where kids actually build stuff ( code, chemistry, woodworking, anything ) and tie lessons into that. Then they will be prepared for whatever comes down the road. Myself, there was zero computer education at my school, as it was in its infancy. Yet somehow I managed to teach myself to do it on the one or two apple IIs we had, and made quite a go of it. What I had learned all my life was first how to learn, and second, how to problem solve. Given those tools in your tool belt I believe anything is attainable. I can't help but feel like this is all a smokescreen to keep tech workers wages capped. I topped out quite a few years ago, and only move up slightly. Don't get me wrong, I am paid well in the grand scheme of things, but if the industry is so strapped for great programmers, like they say they are, why aren't wages through the roof? Every interview I have done ( recently switched jobs ) they have immediately offered me a job. All of them want to only pay either slightly less, or slightly more than I am making currently. The wage gap between a kid just out of college, and a top senior engineer is pitifully small now. That's not right.... They want H1Bs since they are trapped. I am all for allowing work visas, but how about we revamp the program and make it a 2 year work visa where they can switch companies at will. Let's see how many of these tech companies will be scrambling to acquire them then, as then they will have to pay them the same as everyone else, or lose them.....
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:11PM (#46067159) Journal

    Public schools, just like Microsoft, have no shortage of money. What they have is a plague of incompetent management.

    -jcr

The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"

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