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California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps 374

Posted by Soulskill
from the here-for-the-danegeld dept.
cultiv8 writes: "The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), a unit in the California Department of Consumer Affairs charged with licensing and regulating postsecondary education in California, is arguing that 'learn to code' bootcamps fall under its jurisdiction and are subject to regulation. In mid-January, BPPE sent cease and desist letters to Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, App Academy, Zipfian Academy, and others. Unless they comply, these organizations face imminent closure and a hefty $50,000 fine. A BPPE spokesperson said these organizations have two weeks to start coming into compliance."
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California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

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  • by barlevg (2111272) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:19AM (#46119879)
    What are the regulations regarding wilderness survival camps? What about rock & roll fantasy camps? Is he going to start going after knitting retreats?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:21AM (#46119903)

    If these places are not offering a recognized credential of completion (such as a degree or certificate recognized by the prevailing accreditation bodies), then they are not an educational institution subject to state regulation. Instead, they fall under Federal Dept. of Ed Work Training facilities.

    Federal Law is settled on this, and there are at least 100 cases that I can find that set this precedent.

  • Re:Big $$$ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tibman (623933) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:24AM (#46119941) Homepage

    Maybe if colleges could teach software development there wouldn't be a need for these code bootcamps.

  • by Akratist (1080775) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:44AM (#46120193)
    I do find the luv/hate libertarian thing kinda funny when these things come up. Statist sorts believe that since people are fallible, there needs to be people to regulate people. Libertarians believe that since people can't be trusted to run the lives of other people, then we need to trust individuals instead of groups. Both sorts miss the fact that the basic problem is that we recognize there are people we can't trust. Anyway, as far as regulation goes, I've gotten salmonella twice in my life, both times from large corporate food chains that were regularly inspected by the health department, had food handling standards in place, etc. I've eaten plenty of time at mom and pop greasy spoons and have not gotten sick from them. Likewise, I didn't go to a coding boot camp, but got my degree from an accredited four year college. While most of my professors were good, the guy teaching the .NET class I took had simply gone to a weekend seminar on coding in .NET and copied all the .ppt slides and used them as his own (I knew more than he did about .NET). I had another professor for calc who, while not intentionally being a fraud, absolutely could not communicate the subject matter in a way that was comprehensible. In both of these cases, I figure I was out money because of fraud, so it can happen anywhere. If the coding boot camps are making false claims, then it seems more like grounds for a hefty lawsuit by former students, than grounds for another layer of regulatory compliance, particularly when the products of the four year colleges may or may not be subject to the same type of scrutiny in terms of product quality (disclaimer -- I don't know what the process for this is in CA).
  • Re:California (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cultiv8 (1660093) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:45AM (#46120201) Homepage

    If you're charging someone $15000 for a 10 week course

    My spouse's employer recently paid that amount for a 2 day SAP course, and I'm pretty sure CA regulators are not going after the company providing the SAP course.

    promising jobs at companies "like Facebook and Google,"

    I do not see a promise or guarantee of employment anywhere in the article or in a brief search of their websites.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:46AM (#46120209)

    "We don't want money. They need to bow down and acknowledge us as Lord."

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:46AM (#46120225) Homepage Journal

    "Is there a specific price point at which regulation should be automatic?"

    Any financial transaction. This is fairly standard.

    Why? Should garage sales be regulated?

    Depends on the circumstances - if you're having a garage sale maybe 2-3 times a year, it seems like a waste of resources.

    However, if your primary source of income is "garage sales," and you're holding one every weekend if not every day (we call that "running a flea market" 'round these parts), then yea, you're a business and need to be regulated.

    Of course, this is all ignoring the fact that garage sales are already regulated in most places, by way of permit requirements.

    Why does the government need to be involved in every facet of your life?

    Control, duh. In the case of private citizens, I highly disagree with the practice, as it limits liberty; however, in reference to businesses, the government should be up their asses 24/7/365 - there's a damn good reason the Constitution doesn't give any rights to corporations.

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:59AM (#46120377)

    Yes. However those courses, while insanely expensive and not worth the cost IMO, do provide what they promise- a certain level of knowledge on the topic, so the vast majority are ok. The bootcamps promise that at the end of camp that you're ready for employment as a professional programmer and that a certain amount of their graduates (usually very high) receive jobs as a programmer within a short time of graduation. These are both false claims, and regulation should clamp down on them.

  • Kalifornia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zerofoo (262795) on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:25PM (#46120669)

    Is there any business that Kalifornia doesn't hate?

    I'm simply amazed at the size of California's economy relative to its anti-business ways.

  • Re: California (Score:4, Interesting)

    by s.petry (762400) on Friday January 31, 2014 @04:28PM (#46123041)

    That is a very steep slippery slope you are standing on. School != "performing surgery" and simply going to school has never given a license to a doctor to perform surgery.

    If the Government does not charge for regulation, you may have a point. If they are doing so for the revenue, then it's not protecting the public that they are worried about. This is the problem with most of these types of regulations.

    Lastly, if a student signs up to a college that guarantees a job at X company and does not get job at X company they can sue the school. If they promise to teach you C programming and teach you finger painting you can sue them as well. You seem to be concerned about the people wasting time as much as money, and dding overhead to schools won't change that in the slightest.

    Consumers are always partially responsible for their decisions. The trickier the scam the less responsible the consumer would be. To be honest, I don't have much sympathy for people that sign up to these schools because they can always choose to do 5 minutes of research on the school before dumping 15,000.00 on them. Most of that is done in loans at insane interest rates, so the student does not lose money. They can recoup court costs in civil court so don't lose money there either. Further, what better way of educating people about the ole saying "if something looks too good to be true it probably is".

    This is not the same as tricking some poor ole lady out of her life savings. These "students" are trying to take shortcuts and getting suckered because they want shortcuts. It should take a whole 60 seconds to validate a schools accreditation, and another 4 minutes looking in Google to find people complaining about the scam schools.

  • Re:California (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday January 31, 2014 @04:28PM (#46123045) Homepage

    Libertarians have lots of good ideas, but regulation by trial is not in that set. For example, I totally agree that the War on [Some] Drugs is beyond idiotic and ridiculously wasteful (and that people should be able to make personal choices about which drugs they use). But even if you subtracted every single drug case out of the system, the system wouldn't be able to cope with the onslaught of litigation that would be required under a "regulation by lawsuit" method.

    Secondly, any lawyer whose gone through enough trials will have lost cases he or she thought was a total winner, and won cases categorized as "total dog." A jury trial is a kind of gambling in the most literal sense. You put up your money to cover the costs of building a case, then get a jury pool randomly selected from the community, and then try to weed out the worst potential jurors --- but it sometimes happens that the entire pool from which you get to pick, sucks. When you draw names out of a hat, sometimes you get reasonable people and sometimes you get crazies. Occasionally, every name drawn from that hat is a nut, and you are just looking for the least worst options.

    Then even if you win, the cost of trials is immense. It really is a terribly inefficient method of regulation -- it's as good of a last resort as we've been able to dream up, but for everyday stuff, it would be ridiculously expensive. If people lived in a system where day-to-day regulation, the assurance that businesses operate fairly, was done by trial, we'd all be broke from the endless lawsuits -- or more likely, all the little guys would just have to suck it up even more than we have to now.

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