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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 @11:34AM (#46066635)

    ... we want educated people at slave wages.

    Signed,

    Bill gates.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Calavar (1587721)

      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

      • Re:Read as... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:41PM (#46066985)

        It is easy to ridicule this as a benefit to the privileged, but our current funding of education, primarily with property taxes, is the root of much of the inequality in America. Property taxes are high in areas with high incomes, and low in areas of low incomes. Low income people also tend to have more school age kids. So the result is that rich kids attend schools with good teachers, libraries, computer labs, music programs, etc., where they only associate with other rich kids. Moving to a system of funding based on a broader tax base would do a lot to create more equality of opportunity.

        • by Koby77 (992785)
          Many inner city schools in the United States receive extra funding from the state and federal levels. They spend huge amounts of money per student compared to the national average and private schools. If your theory is correct, then Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles should have the best educated kids in the world. In actuality, the United States gets mediocre results despite spending the most of almost any nation on education, with low income areas receiving even more per student on average. Nei
        • Of course America has a capitalistic educational system, always has, always will until a real revolution occurs. With partial exceptions such as the administrations of FDR and JFK, the last American who truly attempted to institute a meritocratic system in America was Alexander Hamilton, and the first murdered his only son, then they murdered him! (He was also strongly opposed to slavery back then!) This isn't about those shills for the super-rich altering the educational system in America, it's about in
        • RTFA.

          The defeated proposal was to use state-wide income taxes to better fund education. That would have helped overcome exactly the problem you cite. Of course tech billionaires, ever concerned about the education of our children, spent lots of money to defeat it. Obviously feeling great remorse, they now propose to use H-1B fees instead.

        • It is easy to ridicule this as a benefit to the privileged, but our current funding of education, primarily with property taxes, is the root of much of the inequality in America. Property taxes are high in areas with high incomes, and low in areas of low incomes. Low income people also tend to have more school age kids. So the result is that rich kids attend schools with good teachers, libraries, computer labs, music programs, etc., where they only associate with other rich kids. Moving to a system of funding based on a broader tax base would do a lot to create more equality of opportunity.

          "Except Utah".

          Utah has one of the lowest housing costs in the nation, and therefore lower property taxes; California has one of the highest property taxes in the nation, except for commercial property shich is never actually sold (you sell the holding company that owns the property instead of selling the property in order to use the technicality in Prop 13 to avoid tax increases on commercial property_.

          Utah has some of the lowest per-student funding in the nation; California has some of the highest per stud

          • by ATMAvatar (648864)
            Not that I necessarily disagree with your conclusion, but...

            What do costs look like in Utah versus California? If you were to convert costs and salaries to Utah dollars, would teachers in Utah and California have similar standards of living? How about building costs, utilities, busing, school food, textbooks, etc.? Do both states employ comparable numbers of multilingual teachers?
            • by tlambert (566799)

              Not that I necessarily disagree with your conclusion, but...

              What do costs look like in Utah versus California? If you were to convert costs and salaries to Utah dollars, would teachers in Utah and California have similar standards of living? How about building costs, utilities, busing, school food, textbooks, etc.?

              Salaries are comparable, adjusted for cost of living. Building costs are comparable, since most schools end up getting things built up around them, the property gets valuable compared to other property, and the school district sell it to a developer, and moves the school to a cheaper area. Busing is similar, since costs for busses and fuel and maintenance aren't very variable by region (or we'd all fly to Utah to buy our cars). Text books are overpriced monopolies everywhere. Food is lowest bidder, parts

          • Utah has some of the largest class sizes in terms of student/teacher ratio in the nation; California has one of the smallest.

            This is not surprising. There is very little evidence that "smaller class size" improves student performance. Small class size mostly helps poor students in low grades, and even then, much of the benefit is because of a reduction in distracting noise. Noise absorbing insulation is far cheaper than hiring more teachers, and may do almost as much good.

            Utah ranks twice as high in SAT scores by students than California.

            SAT scores are a terrible metric to compare schools. SATs are specifically designed to measure raw ability, and to exclude, as much as reasonably possible,

            • by tlambert (566799)

              Utah ranks twice as high in SAT scores by students than California.

              SAT scores are a terrible metric to compare schools. SATs are specifically designed to measure raw ability, and to exclude, as much as reasonably possible, the benefits of education. According to this chart [google.com] the average American SAT score in 2013 was 1498, while California's was 1505 and Utah's was 1694. BUT WAIT: in California, 57% of high school students took the SAT, while in Utah just 6% took it. So the top 6% of Utah are better than the top 57% of California students on a test that is specifically designed to NOT measure the quality of their education. I am not sure what to conclude from that.

              Most college/university bound students in Utah take the ACT rather than the SAT. There are ranking conversion factors listed in the Wikipedia article on SAT test scores: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org] See also the map on that page.

              When I say they scored higher, it's after running the ACT scores through the concordance tables.

        • by cas2000 (148703)

          H1B visa fees are not a broader tax base.

        • It is easy to ridicule this as a benefit to the privileged, but our current funding of education, primarily with property taxes, is the root of much of the inequality in America. Property taxes are high in areas with high incomes, and low in areas of low incomes. Low income people also tend to have more school age kids. So the result is that rich kids attend schools with good teachers, libraries, computer labs, music programs, etc., where they only associate with other rich kids. Moving to a system of funding based on a broader tax base would do a lot to create more equality of opportunity.

          Here where I live, school boards derive their revenue from property taxes and from provincial handouts. Both are based on head-counts, and not locations. The provincial government wanted to have two school boards -- an English one and a French one for the province. Each would not have government representatives on the board of directors. The question is, "for how long?" The idea was defeated.

    • by jd2112 (1535857)

      ... we want educated people at slave wages.

      Signed,

      Bill gates.

      s/Bill Gates/Steve Balmer/

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Slaves don't get paid, silly! Which reminds me, I need some more unpaid interns.

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      blahplusplus gets it!
    • ... we want educated people at slave wages.

      American culture just doesn't value "technically-trained employees"; engineers and CS folks. That's why kids aren't interested computer science careers. Doctors, lawyers, Wall Street bankers and MBA folks in the US are revered. Techies are, well, are car mechanics with university degrees, and don't deserve high salaries. And add to that, employers go to great lengths to scare kids out of techie careers: by outsourcing techies and colluding to cap their salaries. Ever hear of doctors, lawyers, bankers

  • by TemperedAlchemist (2045966) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @11:35AM (#46066641)

    I agree completely. I think we should start by replacing expensive American senior executives with foreigners. You know, we don't want to lose our competitive edge.

    • I think we should start by replacing expensive American senior executives with foreigners.

      Foreigners are already strongly represented in senior management. In Silicon Valley, more than half of CEOs were foreign born. It is likely that educated immigrants create more tech jobs than they take. The economy is not zero sum.

      • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:05PM (#46067461)

        In Silicon Valley, more than half of CEOs were foreign born. It is likely that educated immigrants create more tech jobs than they take.

        You're seriously mis-citing that statistic. The actual statistic is that over half of SV companies include founders that were foreign born. That's a very big difference, since the vast majority of companies have multiple founders. As a matter of fact the proportion of foreign born company founders in SV is lower than the overall proportion of the foreign born in SV. You're citing a statistic like saying that 30% of company founders have blue eyes, therefore we need more blue eyed people. Meanwhile you overlook that 34% of the population in question has blue eyes. Given those statistics, it's hard to see how blue eyed people are better than those who aren't.

        Second, which foreign born people are you talking about? Sergey Brin? He came to the US when he was six. I seriously doubt he had an H-1B visa. Jerry Yang? Came to the US when he was ten. Back in the day, Andy Grove? Came to the US as a refugee. My grandparents? (admittedly not SV entrepreneurs) came to the US as immigrants, not "guest workers". And no, I don't give a damn that the H-1B is a "dual use" visa. The bottom line is that H-1B visa holders initially come to the US as guest workers, and serve a period of indentured servitude, at the behest of tech billionaires falsely claiming STEM shortages.

  • by bunratty (545641) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @11:36AM (#46066647)
    I think K-12 funds could be used to greater benefit for teaching fundamental skills such as a core STEM curriculum. If students have a good foundation in mathematics and science and have had to use standard computer programs such as a word processor and spreadsheet program, they should be all ready to begin a computer science curriculum. From what I've heard, CS classes in high school are a joke and seem to turn students off to programming. I studied programming on my own and achieved a 5 on the computer science AP exam even though computer science was not taught at my school. Are there any of you who have a good experience with a programming class in high school, or did you just learn it on your own like I did?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree! I want my kids to have the math (hopefully Calc), biology, chem, physics as well as writing and thinking. Because if they have a talent for that kind of stuff, I will encourage them to go into medical where there is actually a future and a much better chance of making a living that keeps up with inflation..

      As opposed to the decreasing real wages in the CS professions.

      Unless they really are passionate about the work that they MUST do it regardless of the pay, it's a shitty profession to be in.

      • I will encourage them to go into medicine where there is actually a future and a much better chance of making a living that keeps up with inflation

        Every time I hear someone ask why women and African Americans are underrepresented in CS or engineering, I want to answer that it's because they're not as naive and gullible as white men (as a white man I'm allowed to say that).

  • We should embrace the notion that not everyone will be a genius and that is ok.

    Not either all immigrants are smart too.

    But if we increase the skill pool we can choose and drain more brains to US.

    Sure that will hurt some `small pond` geniuses but overall for the country it is better.

    • We embrace that notion; but if being a non-genius leaves you unemployed or receiving advice from HR about how to apply for food stamps to supplement your paycheck, we embrace the notion of telling you to go get some skills or fuck off and die...
    • Not either all immigrants are smart too.

      But some of them can speak English.

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @11:39AM (#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 dkf (304284)

      intellectually complaint code monkeys

      Ow! Not the best time to make that mistake...

  • 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 i

    • Your premise that funding for US education is higher than everyone else is simply false. Look at the Scandinavian countries and their level of per student funding.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The GP is just repeating talking points he heard somewhere, probably by Limbaugh or on Fox News. I'm surprised they still go so bold on the racism these days. "Poor kids learning about non-white cultures, when their classes should only focus on white history liked they used to do!"

        • by raymorris (2726007) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:21PM (#46067563)

          It seems obvious to me that $race month is racist.
          How about science month? What company today is hiring for "Lead $race Developer". None.

          Spending a month out of each nine-month school teaching racial division when our students are so far behind their international competitors is simply foolish.

          You think they should teach black history, Mexican history, hill billy history, gay history, and tstv history. I think they should teach history. They'll have enough time for stupid identity politics when they're grown.

          That's a major reason our daughter won't be going to public school. She's not going to be taught to hate whitey, she'll be taught math, science, literature. I aim to keep her focused on useful skills as long as possible before she starts asking for details of her heritage so she can figure out which hive you expect her to be a drone in.

        • Sorry, you're the one with parroting talking points, probably from Comedy Central. Here's another source for you.

          http://www.oecd.org/edu/educat... [oecd.org]

          I'm afraid that parroting Jon Stewart isn't going to fix that fact that our students are routinely whipped by former banana republics.

      • by khallow (566160)

        Look at the Scandinavian countries and their level of per student funding.

        As of 2012, the US spends more [businessinsider.com] per pupil than Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

      • The Scandinavian countries DO spend a lot.
        Denmark is the third highest. The US is the top spender (but nowhere near the best results).

        http://www.oecd.org/edu/educat... [oecd.org]

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      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]

      And it's not as though all spending on education is public, the OECD report found. Public spending accounts for just 70 cents of every education dollar in the United States. Parents picked up another 25 cents and private sources paid for the remainder in 2010.

      So it works really well for kids whose parents can afford to to pick up 1/4 of the tab. Faint praise indeed.

      • > So it works really well for kids whose parents can afford to to pick up 1/4 of the tab.

        Pretty much every measure says it doesn't work well, for anyone.
        US scores are routinely lower than countries that spend half as much.
        The US has alot of education funding and a lot of " worst" rankings. More of the same is more money spent on more garbage.

    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:40PM (#46066969) Homepage
      Europeans spend weeks learning about every country in Europe, yet they don't seem to be doing all that badly. You seem to dislike learning about other people and their cultures and how this can influence and inspire you, and well that's your loss, but removing history and geography to put more time in science is NOT the solution. The much greater problems are teachers, methods and parents. Pay teachers a correct wage (which can easily be done by just reducing salaries for administrative leeches and shutting down the hilarious iPad programs), use good methods for teaching and evaluation (as opposed to Texas textbooks and horrible standard tests) and inform the parents that their job is to help their children learn (instead of just protesting loudly whenever they get a bad grade) and things would already work out much better.

      Ironically enough, you're trying to get the US to stop looking at other cultures (or dramatically cut down their importance) when the biggest flaw in US education is wholly a cultural problem.
      • Europeans spend weeks learning about every country in Europe, yet they don't seem to be doing all that badly.

        Europe has the same shortage of tech workers as does the US, and even higher unemployment figures for the young to boot. So it would seem that in fact whatever they are doing is not really that great either, they just spend less at sucking.

        • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:18PM (#46067549)

          Europe has the same shortage of tech workers as does the US

          You mean they don't have a shortage either?

        • by hibiki_r (649814)

          It's hard to look at European employment figures as an aggregate, because the economic situation in say, Germany and Spain has nothing to do with each other, and even though people could theoretically move from one country to the other and work, language and cultural barriers make it far harder for a Spaniard to work in Germany than for someone from Mississippi to move to Washington.

          And no, southern Europe has no problem with tech workers: They have plenty of unemployed tech workers already. Their problem i

      • How about we Americans give you superior Europeans a huge number of our low-performing students? In proportion to your country's population, of course. Wouldn't want to over-burden you. Then you can deal with them fighting with each other and your native population, the racism, the hostility towards people who don't look like they do, and then you can tell us how well you can teach them about every country in Europe while they disrupt the learning for every class they're in.

        A lot of times I think Europ

    • another week for Asian culture

      No wonder our schools are terrible if they only spend a week on such a broad and important topic.

      • There are 36 weeks of 5 days each in a typical American school year. How do you think they should be spent?

        Where I live in Texas, six weeks are devoted to seperating out assorted "minorities". (Hispanics and women are actually the majority, but students are incorrectly taught that each is a minority.) Another 8 weeks or so are devoted to assorted political indoctrination.

        Just over half of the year remains for useful ormarketable skills like math, science, writing, etc.

  • by duckintheface (710137) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @11:41AM (#46066673)
    Why would you tie CS education to visas for those who will compete with those same students receiving that education? Think about that. When we have a barely adequate supply of home-grown talent, will the visa numbers be reduced? If so, funding for education will also be cut, returning us to the days of insufficient education.! If CS education is important to our society (and it is) then it should be funded on its own merits. This is a rich country that is constantly pretending to be poor. If there is a lack of funding, it's because taxes on the wealthy have been cut and cut again. For example, if capital gains were taxed as regular income, we would have no problem funding education in this country.
    • by lawson89 (1198787)
      This comment sums it up, well done sir! especially "If CS education is important to our society (and it is) then it should be funded on its own merits" Funding with visa fees is just a smoke screen
    • You're absolutely right. That last sentence suggests you haven't studied economics, though.

      > if capital gains were taxed as regular income, we would have no problem funding education in this country.

      Most countries don't tax capital gains, or barely tax them (like 2%) because most countries understand how destructive it is to penalize saving. That's what capital gains tax is - a penalty for retirement savings, buying a house, or most other wise financial decisions. (Anything that results in being better

    • by Ichijo (607641)

      Why would you tie CS education to visas for those who will compete with those same students receiving that education?

      Because it makes the H1B visas a dollar more expensive and CS education a dollar cheaper. Each of these alone gives U.S. students a dollar's worth of advantage over H1B workers. Tying CS education to H1B visas is therefore twice as effective as not.

      Also, it's kind of poetic.

  • More money for CS programs is not going to help. You can't just have a CS class in high school. Kids need to learn to use computers as tools,not just for games and browsing. Not even just for learning. Kids have to be trained that computes are creative devices.

    This has to happen from the early grades, and for this to happen the teachers have to know how to use computers. As is, many teachers can write in MS Word. I have seen college graduates from very good schools not even know how to create an engag

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      So what we need to is a teacher population that is extremely highly compute literate, to the point where many can code, maybe to the point of a dynamically generated web page. This should be test prior to any teacher certification, just like pedagogy is.

      Why would I want to force out competent math or english teachers on the basis they cannot code?

      Wouldn't the be like forcing out physical education teachers because they don't know the basics of Shakespeare?

      If we want kids to learn computers (and many do just

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      fermion, seriously dood, are you a complete idiot?

      It ain't about education, douchetard, it's about sucking all the money from the taxpayers, while increasing offshoring of jobs and foreign visa scab worker visas! Sweet Jaysus, you are one clueless, halfwitted clown!
  • He should have taught his son the importance of paying his taxes.
    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Thank you, one more intelligent comment at /. which has truly devolved over the years (that's makes about four intelligent comments here!)
  • un-American? What does that mean? Define American values.
    • You act like that's hard or ambiguous. When you form a club, let's say the Justin Bieber fan club, you set rules, goals, and a mission statement. The founding fathers did that, it's only the people who don't agree with personal power, liberty, and economic freedom who pretend that there are no American values.
      • by Ultra64 (318705)

        Of course it's hard.

        If you ask 300 million people what American values are you're going to get 300 million different answers.

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Overthrowing the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala during the Eisenhower Administration.

      Helping to overthrow the democratically elected government of Brazil during the Johnson Administration.

      Destabilizing the secular government of Afghanistan, during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

      And on, and on (and never forget Operation 9/11)......
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:02PM (#46066763) Journal
    Isn't tying funding for education in a given field directly to the number of laborers imported to make work in that field cheaper just a trifle perverse?

    At best, I could see it being saved by virtue of sheer lag (unless going directly into the data mines out of high school, the K-12 students affected by year X's funding level are anywhere from 2 to 16+ years away from the workforce); but that same lag would also lead to fluctuating and potentially nonsensical funding levels under basically any circumstances other than 'high, stable, levels of H1-B demand that mysteriously don't translate into lower incentives to enter the field', a condition that seems potentially unrealistic.

    If we are treating CS as a foundational subject, some combination of a new part of the math curriculum and a valuable skill for all, we are going to need a more stable funding level (regardless of how high or low you think it should be, oscillating is stupid: you'll just get a lot of staff churn, 'fat year' infrastructure expenditures that rot because you can't do upkeep during lean years, and similar wastes of money).

    If we are treating CS as largely vocational, producing students whose educational quality depended on the demand levels of the job market starting over a decade before they enter the field seems like it could go poorly...
    • Isn't tying funding for education in a given field directly to the number of laborers imported to make work in that field cheaper just a trifle perverse? If you believe that, and don't really understand what's going on (see my comment, please) then you really are clueless.
  • by clifwlkr (614327) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:11PM (#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 Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      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.

      I almost compltely agree with you.

      The problem is not that we need to specifically push this stuff on children. The problem is that as society, we do not allow children to believe that those who would pursue a technical career are in any way shape of form, interesting or cool. In some subcultures, being smart is actually looked upon as being a bad thing.

      Cultural icons for modern citizens are more in line with unearned wealth, celebrities famous for being famous, and little else. Science, if it is address

    • by khallow (566160)
      I'd be happy if the US inserted education into K-12 education. Somehow other countries manage this.

      As for H1-B's, my view is just give anyone who is interested automatic green cards in exchange for an entry fee (say $20k). It'll still provide considerable downward pressure on skilled labor, but at least you're not competing against indentured servants.
    • Not to mention that these companies simply do not want to hire new graduates (i.e. without years of experience) who are not foreigners, because they expect we will demand too much money. They won't even offer the lower salaries they want to pay! Hell, I would accept a lower salary for good working conditions. I am not unreasonable about it. Yet us new grads don't get interviews.
  • what about more tech / trades schools and not 4 year high cost colleges. Where some can learn good skills in 1-2-3 years may even have an apprenticeship mixed into that with hands on classes at the tech / trades / Community College level.

    There is to much put into to colleges and they trun out people with skill gaps vs what people can learn in the same time frame at an tech / trades / Community College setting.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just think of the tax boost for the state

  • Rich person likes things that could be paid for by taxes, but doesn't want to pay taxes. So he gets his buddies to help fund a group to defeat a ballot measure that his dad supports. Hypocritical? Yes. Narcissist with daddy issues? Yes. Surprising? No.

  • Hey Bill, How about you actually hire and train people yourselves, or work with High Schools/Colleges to actually have some sort of apprenticeship/internship programs? We have/had high unemployment and low labor force participation. You can't tell me that we can't retrain exsisting people now and not have to bring more people in.
    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      You are asking a person who's corporation (according to their tax returns and the tax returns of "American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc.") donates to the Bilderberger forums?
    • Heretic!

  • Multibillionaires crying that the TAXPAYERS are not providing enough free resource to make the 1% even richer. How about this? BUY H1-b by paying 100% of the lifetime costs of 3 American Students for each and every wage cutting imported $15,000 / year engineer. YOU pay the costs for driving America out of business with your wage cutting H1-B's. There, now, pure captialism. You want something, YOU pay for it, Gates!!!
    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Oh, wow! Another intelligent comment. Amazing. (And thanx)
    • It is hypocrisy of the highest order.

      If Bill or Microsoft had suck a problem with the people out there not being qualified, how come they don't spend a Billion dollars or something themselves to train people. Microsoft could easily hire on new graduates or people who want to retrain and invest in their training. I would think this would be some sort of competitive advantage.

  • Well, let's be polite.

    Nothing's going to change until two things happen. Firstly, people value education for its own sake, not as a set of boxes to check on the route to "somewhere," having no other value. Secondly, until the programs taught at high school (CS, Engineering, anything not "core") have both the rigour and the status of pre-requisite courses (for university study or vocation) then the devolution to the "core" will continue as will the decreasing value placed on education. Would that taking a CS

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:03PM (#46067103) Journal

    The problem with education isn't money; we throw tons of money at schools in the US, and the outcomes don't correlate well with money thrown; Newark, NJ schools receive more funding than Millburn, NJ schools, and the former are horrendous while the latter are among the best in the state.

    As far as CS goes, it's not about replacing lessons about the American Revolution with lessons on Mexican culture neither one, whatever its merit, has any relevance to science and math. Nor does it matter for CS if students know more about Booker T. than George.

    Nor is it any lack of CS or other computer education in primary and secondary schools. Nearly every CS job nowadays requires a bachelor's degree at minimum, and those 4 years are plenty to learn the fundamentals of computer science, assuming the underlying foundation is strong. So what's necessary IMO, from a CS education point of view, is for the foundation to be strengthened. The major thing missing from the traditional algebra-geometry-trignometry-calculus sequence is formal propositional logic; it's kind of taught alongside geometry proofs, but it might make sense to teach it separately and before (or even instead of) that sort of geometry. That doesn't necessarily require any more money.

    But the real problem is the foundations just aren't strong. A lot of students can't do algebra entering 9th grade, and they can't do arithmetic entering 6th. Until you solve this, you can't solve anything at a higher level. Fix elementary education, fix secondary education, and only then worry about adding CS programs.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:11PM (#46067159) Journal

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

    -jcr

  • No only an excuse, but OPM --- Other People's Money --- the super-rich never use their own money, but instead will use future tax revenues as an excuse to increase foreign visa scab workers (which are used to further offshore jobs, of course), plus those taxes going to K-12 are a way station to privatized schools, which the Gates Foundation has been strongly promoting, which means those taxes will eventually be going to them! Nothing altruisitic in any of this.
  • How about we reset the educational system to 1947?

    In 22 years, we'll have people with a high school education + a four year college degree, and the ability to land people on the moon again. We'd have a hell of a time doing that today, even with Armadillo and SpaceX's H1-B workers imported from countries with functioning public education systems.

    A lot of what has screwed up education in the U.S. is all the well intentioned (yes, I am giving the benefit of the doubt here) attempts to change education for the

    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      sounds like a good idea to me but lots of luck getting that to happen. For starters schools will need more funding (i.e. teacher salaries that are livable,classroom supplies provided so teachers don't have to pay for paper, materials, etc. out of their own personal pocket). However, everyone will complain about high income and corp taxes (where else does govt get money?) and those leading the charge are these same businessmen listed in article. Then there will be redistribution of wealth, higher income neig

  • or they will move their offices out of state. If they don't pay taxes, they get bad schools. If there really is a shortage of adequately educated people in the US, those CEOs are responsible, along with the state legislatures that are dumb enough to encourage their blackmail and race each other to the bottom (of tax revenues from large corporations). The problem is that CEOs feel no responsibility toward the communities in which their companies operate. Their only responsibility is to the shareholders a

  • This is the worst idea ive ever heard. IT MUST BE STOPPED. A flood of low paid, third world laborers would destroy the US middle class and end up stealing millions of jobs from hard working Americans. Of course the third world thieves paid only a fraction of what US students paid for their college education, so this is going to absolutely cripple US students and put them at a huge disadvantage. We do NOT want to compete with low paid Indians. its already hard enough finding a job for an American IT/CS profe

  • Silicon valley's companies, which sit on billions of cash, need better educated workers. Why don't they just pay for it? They could do that just by paying the taxes they should pay, instead of dodging them though tax optimization.
  • As the rising tide of automation displaces increasingly higher skill levels from the work force, soon the only people who are still employable will be the upper levels of creative/problem-solving types. Everyone else will just be dead weight that our increasingly redistributive economy will have to drag along. So it surprises me that we don't see a proposal for some sort of exchange program to get around the H1-B caps. It'd work like this: If you're an ambitious non-American with upper-level creative/pro

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