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The Almighty Buck Education Programming

Kids To Get the Best CS Teachers $15/Hr Can Buy 157

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-great-volunteers dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Billionaire-backed Code.org, enthusiastically tweets U.S. Dept. of Education Chief Arne Duncan, is 'providing tremendous leadership in bringing coding & computer science to our nation's schools.' Including bringing kids in Broward County Public Schools the best computer science teachers $15.00-an-hour can buy, according to a document on the school district's website. One wonders how the Broward teachers feel about Code.org apparently coughing up $38.33-an-hour for Chicago teachers who attend the required Code.org professional development, which ironically covers equity issues. Duncan's shout-out comes days after Code.org claimed in its Senate testimony that 'our students have voted with their actions [participating in an hour-long, Angry Birds-themed Blockly tutorial starring Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates]: that learning computer science is this generation's Sputnik moment, that it's part of the new American Dream, and that it should be available to every student, in every school, as part of the standard curriculum.'"
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Kids To Get the Best CS Teachers $15/Hr Can Buy

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  • sputnik moment? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by 0xdeaddead (797696)
    lol are they smoking this isn't 1974 with the release of Intel's 8080. Who are they kidding, this is just more people looking for .gov handouts dressed up in "professional development", and all the other jazz that comes with US government contracts. Good grief.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hey, that's cynical and wrong. It's people looking to lower wages of software developers as well as justify immediate requests for more H1Bs, all while taking away the focus on improving our nation's weak skills in the basics of reading, math, and science.
       
      (Note that cynicism is orthogonal of correctness.)

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        well with seatle setting min wage at 15 an hour, If these people are in seatle, they are saying that coders are worth the same amount as a mcdonalds cashier...
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:33PM (#46908403)

    For those who don't feel like clicking on the linked documents, they aren't talking about teacher salaries, what they earn teaching. The pay also isn't set by code.org.

    When a Chicago teacher spends a couple of hours doing professional development (taking a class or seminar), Chicago pays their teachers $38/hour for the time they spend at the seminar or wwhatever professional development they choose to do. Boward pays their teachers $15/hour for professional development. Those rates are for time doing prof dev, NOT teaching students, and it doesn't have squat to do with code.org - the districts pay for prof dev is the same for any class the teacher wants to take. (Of course it needs to be approved as professional development, a skydiving class probably wouldn't be approved for payment.)

    • This is essentially a report that says local cost of labor are off by more than 100% in those two areas for the same job. Seems like too many teachers in one place, not enough in another.

      • by aix tom (902140)

        Might also reflect the cost of living.

        I earn a lot less than others in my field in the bigger cities, but then I also was able to buy a home for 1/3 of the monthly cost of renting one in the bigger cities. And that's in "somewhat small-ish Germany" even.

        • That's the domino effect... if pay is low, and costs are low, people are happy, but that's still an error to anybody who wants the economy to be leveled out.

      • The pay for the teachers is voted by the local bureacrats. There are some market pressures of course, but also political ones. It may have more to do with politics than economics.

      • If teacher salaries were much different, that would be one thing, but that's not the case. How many employers pay ANYTHING for time employees spend taking classes? Chicago treats pays PD time at about the same rate those employees are paid for doing their job. Broward pays just as much for the teachers' normal job. They just figure PD, someone taking a class they choose to take which may benefit the employer, is paid as if it were half work-time and half personal. I figure that's about right. I'd be t

        • by stonewolf (234392)

          Not very long ago... 20 years or so, all employers paid technical empolyees to take classes. The classes were even often taught at the companies location. Local colleges would send full professors to teach classes that started just after the close of business so that they were convenient for the workers. It was normal to give employees time off during the day to take day classes. The employees were oftern paid for time and the employer allways paid for the tuition, books, and lab fees.

          Technical employess u

      • Well considering that this is just a minor benefit in any teachers salary I would disagree. This is just an indication that the teachers union Chicago cared more about this minor benefit than the teachers union in Boward.

        At the end of the year the Chicago teacher, who attended the exact same seminars as the Boward teacher just took home a hundred or two more.
        And the Boward teacher might make thousands more as a base salary (we do not know), or maybe they have better health insurance.

        Or maybe they do make 50

        • by nbauman (624611)

          Well considering that this is just a minor benefit in any teachers salary I would disagree. This is just an indication that the teachers union Chicago cared more about this minor benefit than the teachers union in Boward.

          If you're a science teacher, professional development is not a "minor benefit". Do you want a teacher coming in to class and teaching your kids the same thing he learned in college 20 years ago? I know a lot of science teachers who put a lot of effort into keeping up with their field. They read journals, go to lectures, and attend conferences. It really makes a difference when you're teaching kids in the upper grades who are planning to go to college.

          We've learned a lot in biology since they sequenced the h

          • Well regardless of how much time any teacher spends keeping up with their field, most of that is not going to translate into new curriculum.

            Not too many ground breaking developments in grade 10 chemistry in that last few decades.

            • by nbauman (624611)

              Well regardless of how much time any teacher spends keeping up with their field, most of that is not going to translate into new curriculum.

              Not too many ground breaking developments in grade 10 chemistry in that last few decades.

              You're not a chemist. Right?

              Human DNA was sequenced in 2003. Since that time, our understanding of the human genome has been turned upside down every year. Do you know what a histone is? Patients get DNA tests to find out which drugs their cancer will respond to and which drugs will just make them worse. Chemists are figuring out the shapes of proteins and designing drugs to fit. http://cen.acs.org/articles/92... [acs.org] Old theories of human evolution turned out to be right or wrong.

              This is what chemists who are n

              • And it must of been a very long time since you have had any schooling in high school or university.

                The curriculum is tight, and specific. Not only is that new discovery not at all going to help you pass a chem exam, but there is no time to teach it.

                Even in university chemistry/physics, they only teach the basics, the stuff that was all carved in stone centuries ago by long dead guys. And they do not even have half a day free time to get into current science news.

                • by nbauman (624611)

                  And it must of been a very long time since you have had any schooling in high school or university.

                  The curriculum is tight, and specific. Not only is that new discovery not at all going to help you pass a chem exam, but there is no time to teach it.

                  Even in university chemistry/physics, they only teach the basics, the stuff that was all carved in stone centuries ago by long dead guys. And they do not even have half a day free time to get into current science news.

                  It depends on the school (and the teacher). If your goal is to pass the test, you have a problem.

                  If the students will go on to science and medicine, they already know enough to pass the exam. It's the current stuff that helps them understand what they will need to know in life.

                  For example, in New York City, Rockefeller University has a Christmas break lecture series in which Nobel laureates give high school students briefings on the current research in their field.

                  You talk about how easy it is to be a high

                  • by winwar (114053)

                    "I admit that if you have schools whose goal is to get students to pass standardized tests, rather than to understand science, then you don't need a science teacher who is current in the field, or even a science teacher. All you need is a proctor who can teach students to memorize textbooks and short answers, from workbooks published by Pearson or McGraw-Hill, based on 10-year-old material."

                    I suggest you try that. Get back to us when it fails miserably. And 10 year old curriculum is common. You don't nee

              • by winwar (114053)

                And do you understand the difference between chemistry and biology?

                DNA, the human genome, evolution, etc. are taught in Biology.

                Chemistry, not so much.

                If you don't want your kid's science teacher to lack knowledge then I would suggest reducing their work load in other areas. Implementing cutting edge discoveries into the curriculum isn't exactly a priority to administrators or a requirement of the standards.

                • by nbauman (624611)

                  And do you understand the difference between chemistry and biology?

                  DNA, the human genome, evolution, etc. are taught in Biology.

                  Chemistry, not so much.

                  If you don't want your kid's science teacher to lack knowledge then I would suggest reducing their work load in other areas. Implementing cutting edge discoveries into the curriculum isn't exactly a priority to administrators or a requirement of the standards.

                  You just don't know much about chemistry.

                  When I go to the American Chemical Society meetings, one of the largest sections is the Division of Biological Chemistry.

                  http://abstracts.acs.org/chem/... [acs.org]

                  What do you think chemists do all day? Add hydrochloric acid to zinc?

                  (Actually, if you wanted to find out what chemists do all day, you can read an issue of Chemical & Engineering News.)

                  There are high schools in places like Cold Spring Harbor, where the parents and the school board include many scientists, who u

                • by nbauman (624611)

                  Incidentally about half of the recent Nobel prizes in chemistry
                  http://www.nobelprize.org/nobe... [nobelprize.org]
                  are for cellular biology.

                  Your advice is very good for teaching students how to go through life filling out tests.

                  It's not very good for teaching students how to accomplish something useful in science.

            • by i.r.id10t (595143)

              It isn't often just classes on the field the teacher works in, it is often classes on pedagogy, using new technology to enhance their teaching, learning new software like a course management system, etc.

              And yes, teachers should be paid while they are attending these courses, as well as for any course they are required to maintain whatever professional licensing they have.

          • by Belial6 (794905)

            in the upper grades

            This is a key line that needs to be in any discussion on teachers salaries/qualifications. A 1st grade teacher simply does not need the same qualifications as an AP science teacher.

            • by nbauman (624611)

              A 1st grade teacher doesn't need the same qualifications but they do need qualifications in teaching science.

              Science magazine has had lots of articles about the new ways to teach 1st graders about science.

              For example, teachers gave out stones and seeds. They asked the kids what the difference was between the stones and seeds. Then they planted them and waited for the seeds to sprout while the stones did nothing.

              The point was that 1st graders don't distinguish clearly between animate and inanimate objects. T

    • Ps, teachers in their first three years also get an additional $300 bonus if they complete professional development (including code.org) equivalent to six credit hours.

  • by paiute (550198) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:39PM (#46908431)
    You get what you pay for.

    Money talks and bullshit walks.
  • After all, $15 / hour is better pay than grad school, or an academic postdoc position. There are certainly some people who recently finished their CSci degrees who aren't interested in jobs in industry and would jump at the opportunity to make that wage.

    Now, is it what we should pay teachers? No, teachers should earn more than that. But a starting teaching position for someone with only a BS would be reasonable at that wage.
    • by Trepidity (597)

      Grad students make less, true, but postdocs typically get a bit more than that, closer to $20-25/hr. Not exactly stellar pay considering how many years you have to put in to qualify for a $20/hr job, but it's still better than what you'd get as a K-12 teacher.

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @01:17PM (#46908653)

    ... why not look at what Code.org has to offer?

    This is not a sampling, and it is free to all.

    K-8 Intro To Computer Science Course (15-25 hours) [code.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... why not look at what Code.org has to offer?

      This is not a sampling, and it is free to all.

      K-8 Intro To Computer Science Course (15-25 hours) [code.org]

      Sorry that is NOT programming. By the logic of code.org I was programming a computer while playing PacMan way back in 1982 on my Commodore VIC-20. I was programing back then but not while playing PacMan. Computer programming and the people writing the programmes used to be respected and well-paid. Today it is a race to the bottom.

      • Sorry that is NOT programming.

        The second lesson introduces basic programming concepts to navigate a maze.

        You construct your program using graphical building blocks. But you can expose the equivalent JavaScript code.

  • 15 an hour??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you can teach coding, you can get a job making more than 15 an hour. You're only going to get awful teachers at that salary.

  • Is designing Angry-Birds derivative games a "Sputnik moment" for education? A simple litmus test for the educational validity: Would it sound as cool and be as well received if it were in another mode/medium, e.g. designing board games? The educational outcomes for getting children to design board games are arguably more desirable, cheaper, and more practical than getting children to do the same with code. (I've done it and read the background research on learning projects including designing board games, a

  • Honestly, just get yourself hands-on, and dive in!

    Download a netinst for Debian stable.

    Install it.

    Install gcc, g++, ddd, vi/emacs, make, git, and play.

    Try things. Learn by hands-on, error messages, research, stackoverflow, and time. ...There are so many good Internet resources out there in terms of tutorials, source code of existing GPLd programs and projects, of all areas of Computer Science. So again, honestly, just get yourself hands-on, and dive in.

  • Including bringing kids in Broward County Public Schools the best computer science teachers $15.00-an-hour can buy,

    Isn't that the county of hanging chads? Sounds like payback to me.

  • ... Bill Gates is busy getting out of the software business altogether:

    http://www.theguardian.com/tec... [theguardian.com]
    .

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