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Education Google Programming

Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative 548

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-good-coders-more-good-software dept.
theodp writes: On Thursday, Google announced a $50 million initiative to inspire girls to code called Made with Code. As part of the initiative, Google said it will also be "rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy." The rewards are similar to earlier coding and STEM programs run by Code.org and Google that offered lower funding or no funding at all to teachers if participation by female students was deemed unacceptable to the sponsoring organizations. The announcement is all the more intriguing in light of a Google job posting seeking a K-12 Computer Science Education Outreach Program Manager to "work closely with external leaders and company executives to influence activities that drive toward collaborative efforts to achieve major 'moonshots' in education on a global scale." Perhaps towards that end, Google recently hired the Executive Director of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), who was coincidentally also a Code.org Advisory Board member. And Code.org — itself a Made With Code grantee — recently managed to lure away the ACM's Director of Public Policy to be its COO. So, are these kinds of private-public K-12 CS education initiatives (and associated NSF studies) a good idea? Some of the nation's leading CS educators sure seem to think so (video).
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Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

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  • Want to code? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tridus (79566) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:27AM (#47281221) Homepage

    Are you a girl? Great! Here's all kinds of grant money to help people make that happen.

    Are you a boy? Get out of my classroom, if we have too many of you it will threaten our grant money.

    That's "progress" for you.

    • Re:Want to code? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:33AM (#47281309)
      No, it's more like "why is ~50% of the country not pursuing IT?" Seeing as IT is fantastically important to today's economy, and half of the population just isn't interested in taking part in it, it seems like an issue that should be researched. This is one way to do that. You can act all put upon and oppressed, but as you're not, you just sound like one of the people who causes people to think IT is full of socially-awkward neckbeards who think they're special.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by K. S. Kyosuke (729550)

        No, it's more like "why is ~50% of the country not pursuing IT?"

        Because when people find out that anything useful in CS that nobody has ever done before requires actual math knowledge, most of them will are stumped.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Seeing as IT is fantastically important to today's economy, and half of the population just isn't interested in taking part in it, it seems like an issue that should be researched. This is one way to do that.

        They aren't "researching", they are recruiting and trying to change the statistics.

        You can act all put upon and oppressed

        I don't feel oppressed. I just think it's profoundly stupid to try to mess with people's free career choices.

        • by neoform (551705)

          If they started explicitly recruiting only men, you would have no qualm then, correct?

      • Re:Want to code? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jc42 (318812) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:19AM (#47281749) Homepage Journal

        No, it's more like "why is ~50% of the country not pursuing IT?"

        Nah; it's more like 99%. The majority of young men are also not very interested in becoming computer geeks.

        The problem is that young women are being systematically discouraged from even trying to be part of the 1%. This is, of course, not restricted to just CS/IT topics.

        • by neoform (551705)

          >The problem is that young women are being systematically discouraged from even trying to be part of the 1%.

          You do realize "the 1%" is a fraction, and by nature it can only be a tiny minority of people.....

          What a strange statement.

      • "why is ~50% of the country not pursuing IT?"

        and half of the population just isn't interested in taking part in it,

        Answered your own question there, buddy.

    • Right, because that stupid hypothetical "evil affirmative action" scenario has ever happened to any of us.

      I get and even endorse the principal you're espousing. Equality is a high value, and doing it wrong can hurt it's own objective. But ridiculous hyperbole just makes you come across as completely disinterested in the actual idea, and only concerned with a the argument as a matter of convenience to your own interests.

      • by neoform (551705)

        How is it hyperbole? The very existence of this program guaranties this is happening.

        The only reason people aren't turned away is because they weren't allowed to apply in the first place, so they didn't.

        • Because the vast majority of CS education related grant money goes to pay for mens' education, in spite of this. Period. We aren't being left behind at all.

    • by BergZ (1680594)
      I read the headline and knew right then that somebody would find a way to turn this good news into something to complain about.
  • Sexism (Score:5, Informative)

    by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:29AM (#47281249)

    End of story.

    • by gnupun (752725)
      Or they are trying to push down the programmer wages from $70-120K to $50-100K?
    • Succinct. I like it :)

    • by BobSutan (467781)

      Nope.

      http://rixstep.com/2/20111127,... [rixstep.com]

      This documentary did a great job looking into what drives our choice of careers and found women are just not that interested in STEM jobs, generally speaking.

      tl;dw - The more free and open a society becomes, the more likely people are to follow their predispositions. For women that means comfortable jobs with lots of socializing opportunities. For men that was more hands-on type of work relating to personal interests.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:36AM (#47281339)

    So now Google thinks they need to pay women to learn to code? What an absolutely sexist campaign. Women are plenty capable of learning to code, they don't need cash payouts by patriarchal companies; this is akin to prostitution and Google should be ashamed.

  • It will never work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raseri (812266) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:41AM (#47281391)
    There's been an ever-increasing push over the last 10 or 12 years to get more girls and women into tech, with almost no visible results; in fact, the number of women in tech has been declining for decades. This seems odd at first, but the reason this push is constantly being attempted at all is that it's part of a larger effort to increase the pool of applicants and decrease salaries. It's the same reason that Facebook, Google, et al. want to increase the number of H1-B visa workers.

    There is nothing stopping a girl or woman from learning programming/networking/etc. if she wants to, and these increasingly bizarre, desperate, and creepy attempts to lure in women will end up pushing away the ones who might have pursued tech careers otherwise.
    • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

      My salary has been steadily increasing and I certainly haven't found that there are skilled developers sitting idle at home. I can collect a small fortune in placement fees, if only I know some out-of-work developers I wouldn't be ashamed to recommend.

      The simple fact from where I am standing is: There is a lot of work and there are not enough skilled people to do it yet we are only using 50% of the population.

      But the sector has a massive negative image. Not even so much anti-women as anti-human. If you don'

      • There is a lot of work and there are not enough skilled people to do it yet we are only using 50% of the population.

        I think you're oversimplifying. There seem to be supply and demand dynamics in play.

        We have a tug of war. Google and Facebook want to increase the supply of developers, so the prevailing wage goes down. Current and aspiring developers want a decrease in the supply, so that their wages go up.

        This is a very, very old kind of story.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:44AM (#47281411)
    I don't blame misogyny for girls not getting into programming, because I don't think computer programming is necessarily characterized by social interaction. The lone "cowboy[/cowgirl] coder" is much more of the norm than our zealous gender imbalance adjusters think.

    When I was getting into programming in the 90's I certainly didn't rely on anybody else's affirmation -- I learned how to program sitting by myself at my computer(s) with very little in the way of two way communication with the outside world. I realize it's not the 90's anymore, but the argument that says you have to have a vibrant Twitter presence and go to local programmer meetups to be a coder today is, quite frankly, hogwash. It's about the code, friend.

    Here's another theory that I will probably be flamed for -- maybe girls don't get into programming as often for the same reason that female deer don't bash heads against each other as often as the males do. Maybe it boils down to testosterone. Males of many species have an impulsive drive to accomplish certain things, and in humans' case this is largely independent of intellectual aptitude. Yes, girls are smart. Many could be good programmers. But do they want to? Are they driven to? Am I (at least partially) driven to my peculiar lifestyle of being glued to a screen and eschewing much social interaction because of testosterone? ("Yeah, you'd like to _think_ so" I can hear my naysayer naysaying.) But these are questions I honestly ask.
    • by asylumx (881307)

      I don't blame misogyny for girls not getting into programming, because I don't think computer programming is necessarily characterized by social interaction.

      I do. Look at the first post on this article for an example. For that matter, look at the first response to that post as well. Immediately, Slashdot readers (who we *used to* expect more from) objectified all of these women. Twice. Before anyone else could make a remotely educated comment.

      • I agree that misogyny exists, as our fine Slashdot trolls demonstrated above; but I disagree that it is the cause of girls not getting into programming, for the reasons I described in my post. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion.
      • by sribe (304414)

        Before anyone else could make a remotely educated comment.

        Educated comments take more time to compose ;-)

  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@lauren c e m a rtin.org> on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:56AM (#47281527)

    She would most likely start cutting down one of her microseconds to strangle some folks. We don't need to do stuff like this we need to get kids to learn from the beginning that

    1 Girls are not SEX OBJECTS
    2 Smart and Pretty are not exclusive of each other
    3 Some girls can do Math and some boys can't do Math (and science and tech and...)

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:41AM (#47281977)

      Girls are not SEX OBJECTS

      Yes, they are. In the sense that men look upon women and have a desire to sleep with them.

      The problem is thinking that women are only sex objects.

  • offered lower funding or no funding at all to teachers if participation by female students was deemed unacceptable

    So basically the headline is completely debunked by the third sentence of the summary. It is NOT "all."

    • by sribe (304414)

      So basically the headline is completely debunked by the third sentence of the summary.

      The third sentence refers to prior programs, not this one. So how "similar" is this one? We can't tell from the summary.

  • I am for it, as long as it isn't also construed to discourage the boys. That's the last thing we need to do to our "educational" indoctrination system.

    In fact, anything that undoes the dumbing down to match the lowest achievers that has been done in the last 80 years or more needs to be undone itself.
    Reading comprehension for instance, went down when they dropped phonics back in the 40's. That was a monumental mistake IMO. So now, in 2014, we have 3+ generations of people who cannot read the daily fish wr

  • I am all for intervention to ensure equal opportunity.

    But I am opposed to interventions to manipulate equal outcomes.

  • Focusing on the line that says "rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy." Why should that matter? If they take a CS course from somewhere else does that mean they don't qualify? Seems more like drummed up business then actually caring about driving interest in CS.
  • The only reason Google is doing this is they're about to get hammered for having a nearly all-male workforce. Truly, Google could care less whether this program actually accomplishes anything or whether more women get into coding. If it works, great. If it doesn't work, well, they can always say they've poured a few million dollars into the effort and they tried.

    Frankly, I could care less whether the program works or not, or even the fact that it is aimed squarely at women. This is because a lot of code

  • by taxman_10m (41083) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:30AM (#47281865)

    Asian males and white males get screwed.
    http://www.thisismetis.com/rub... [thisismetis.com]

    Total Cost: $12,500 for 12 weeks.
    We offer a $2,000 scholarship for women, underrepresented minority groups, and veterans or members of the U.S. military. We also provide a $2,000 refund when you accept a position through our placement program.

  • by pcolaman (1208838) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:04PM (#47282811)

    As someone who tutors in CS while finishing up his bachelors, I think this is great. Too many times I see women who have the skills to be a good programmer but don't have someone pushing them hard to be a great programmer because it's assumed that the field just "isn't for Women." Women can be just as good at engineering, programming, math and science as men and I think the industry as a whole can stand to get a bit more even in terms of gender representation. If anything, encouring the women in our country to get into these more technical fields could help drive the men who are competing with them to work harder and perhaps we'll be importing less tech savvy people from other countries. My $0.02.

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