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Education Government Programming

How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill? 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the trick-question-congress-can't-pass-anything dept.
theodp writes: Over at Code.org, they're celebrating because more than 100 members of Congress are now co-sponsoring the Computer Science Education Act (HR 2536), making the bill designed to"strengthen elementary and secondary computer science education" the most broadly cosponsored education bill in the House. By adding fewer than 50 words to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, HR 2536 would elevate Computer Science to a "core academic subject" (current core academic subjects are English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography), a status that opens the doors not only to a number of funding opportunities, but also to a number of government regulations. So, now that we know it takes 112 U.S. Representatives to make a CS education bill, the next question is, "How many taxpayer dollars will it take to pay for the consequences?" While Code.org says "the bill is cost-neutral and doesn't introduce new programs or mandates," the organization in April pegged the cost of putting CS in every school at $300-$400 million. In Congressional testimony last January, Code.org proposed that "comprehensive immigration reform efforts that tie H-1B visa fees to a new STEM education fund" could be used "to support the teaching and learning of more computer science in K-12 schools," echoing Microsoft's National Talent Strategy.
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How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

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  • by pjh3000 (583652) * on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:06PM (#47590847)
    What are 400 Millimeter Dollars?
  • Sorry, but... why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:07PM (#47590851)

    Sorry, I don't buy into all this "we need to get kids using computers and programming in grade school!" crap. Or this "we need everyone to be in STEM!" crap.

    Why do we need this, exactly? To keep the pool of employees huge and the pay low? Where is the push for teaching kids automotive skills in grade school? Cooking? Surgery?

    Let's just focus on the basics. Teach kids to be inquisitive, critical thinking, human beings with a strong grasp of reading and writing and math and history and geography skills and knowledge. Those with an interest in other things will pursue them and doing so will be much easier with a solid primary foundation in these universal fundamentals.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:20PM (#47590901)

    Sorry, I don't buy into all this "we need to get kids using computers and programming in grade school!" crap. Or this "we need everyone to be in STEM!" crap.
     
    According to Google and Facebook only women and minorities need that. The white males can fend for themselves.
     
    Oh, that's right, the white males have been doing it by themselves thousands of years. Damn, I forgot.

  • Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:47PM (#47591023)

    Ultimately, no significant cash would reach the classrooms, but piles of new regulations and requirements would.

    We do not need more STEM workers; we have a surplus as is proven by the fact that wages in the field are essentially flat (a shortage would drive wages up). US employers do not even want American STEM workers; they want the inexpensive, pliable, and held-hostage-by-immigration-papers variety. Half the STEM workers we already have are working outside of their fields and we have millions of unemployed. If we need to have ANY effort to boost ANY career area via education manipulation it should be a massive boost in the skilled trades like welding.

    Education is simply NOT a federal responsibility, and every federal intervention has made things worse. If you read even the letters by ordinary Civil War soldiers to their families you see how far our education system has degraded - in comparison I'd rate most current high school grads as illiterate. The education most Americans got in "the basics" in the 1930's (often in one-room school houses, often run by a young woman with a two-year degree) produced a generation able to build the and use the industrial might for WWII - something the current generation probably could not do. Many of THAT generation were then able to go on to college and get actual degrees (as opposed to degrees in ethinc or women's studies) and then "put a man on the moon". Subsequent generations educated with lots of federal government meddling are unable to put a monkey into space today (even given all the information the earlier guys had to learn the first time and given far more time than the earlier guys had). The feds are too slow to react properly (they'll set standards that rapidly become obsolete and will still be pushing stuff when industry no longer uses it) and any money gets filtered through too many hands, funding too many "experts" and administrators before it gets from the taxpayer, to Washington, back to the taxpayer's state and ultimately trickles into his child's school. For every million tax dollars, I'd bet $10 makes it into a classroom, where we keep being told teachers need to buy their own chalk despite education funding being higher per-pupil than ever before.

    A further problem is that things like programming are more like art than many other things - a bit of a "calling" where you need to like it and have a talent for it or you will suck at it no matter how well-trained. Most kids will never be programmers, never care about programming, etc. Teaching all kids CS stuff is a bit like forcing all kids to join the chess club or the marching band.

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