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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 @06:06PM (#47590847)
    What are 400 Millimeter Dollars?
    • It's MegaMillions.

      • by jd (1658)

        Schools will be paid in casino chips and their first task will be to find the correct casino.

    • by jd (1658)

      Very small.

      But, actually, it's not mm, it's MM. Since inverting the case usually means inverting the sense, that would be 400 million meters. Which would make it the largest unit of currency ever circulated in the US, and smaller only than the Ningi and Pu.

      Since CS can only be taught in America on the removal of Microsoft, a 400 million meter long piece of paper makes sense. It should be plenty to completely wrap the key buildings. It will not be sufficient to wrap the ego of Bill Gates, who still "advises"

    • It's Roman numerals. MM=2000. Legislators like Roman numerals, makes them look clever. But they obviously forgot how to write the 400 (CD) in $2400.

      That's a pretty big bill, I guess, but with a hundred sponsors it works out at $24 each. I assume they all got hats.

  • Sorry, but... why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @06:07PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

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

      Why is it crap? For years many children have really struggled with why they are learning math (at least above arithmetic). Part of the problem is that they never see how it could possibly be applied to anything, ever. By teaching programming, math can begin to be applied to something; in a way that's not doing math for the sake of doing math. It's doing something, and it just so happens to use a lot of math theory. Learning CS will really strengthen many children's ability to do math, because they'll be doi

      • by Beck_Neard (3612467) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @06:44PM (#47591007)

        Instead of getting more people interested in math, I predict it will wind up getting less people interested in CS. Count on school to turn highly interesting, mentally-stimulating subjects (like math) into boring rote memorization exercises.

        • by jonwil (467024)

          I did programming at school and I didn't find it boring in the least.

          To be fair I was already super-interested in computers and programming by the time I started those classes and was easily writing programs above the level of the classwork even before I started. And the teachers knew what they were doing and how to teach things.

          Heck, I still remember getting in trouble for trying to pirate VB4 off the machines in the computer labs or spending every lunch break in the labs using Netscape 3/4 to access the I

        • by guruevi (827432)

          Math has been in the boring rote memorization exercise for decades in schools. The reason is that most people simply do not grasp the 'mechanics' behind mathematics and teachers have neither the will nor the skill to teach a subject like math. I didn't like math in school simply because they went so slow and required rote memorization of multiplication tables, axioms and rules. I even remember doing tests that were simply asking to write down axioms in text form.

          Some people do grasp math and those will be t

          • by perpenso (1613749)

            Math has been in the boring rote memorization exercise for decades in schools.

            The best math teacher I ever had, including college and grad school, was from 7th grade. He went off curriculum on nearly every topic, always showing us real world practical applications of a topic/technique when the book and formal state-approved lesson plan failed to do so. It really made a difference.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Count on school to turn highly interesting, mentally-stimulating subjects (like math) into boring rote memorization exercises

          A lot of schools already do this. They (some schools) were doing it since the 80's that I know of. If your school is/was different, count yourself lucky because you had a couple of good teachers who are/were allowed to teach. And from what I understand, that will end when common core kicks completely in and they have to follow a lesson plan dictated to them while teaching to the test.

        • by BronsCon (927697)
          This. Don't tell kids why they need to memorize this facts and formulas, teach them how to figure them out for themselves. Teach them the basics of how things interact and let them decide which things and interactions interest them; they will then seek out the facts and formulas that are relevant to those interests. Then, you have taught them how to learn. On their own.

          Which is the best kind.

          That's not to say you can't, or shouldn't learn from others. Quite the opposite, in fact. One of the most importa
        • Count on school to turn highly interesting, mentally-stimulating subjects (like math) into boring rote memorization exercises.

          I can see it now, quizzes on operator precedence for all the C language operators.

          • by plover (150551)

            I also figure with our inept, corrupt lawmakers, they'll mandate something too specific that will tie future classrooms full of kids into the 2014 equivalent of punch cards.

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          Instead of getting more people interested in math, I predict it will wind up getting less people interested in CS.

          I don't know if it would get more people interested in math, but it would help make math less foreign/absured to them.

      • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:22PM (#47591155)

        Honestly, forcing computer programming on kids will have the same effect as forcing math on them. It's no different - it's a way of solving problems, except by using logic and algorithms rather than equations. It's still a general solution in search of a problem. I think a lot of tech people tend to view technology as being interesting or important for it's own sake, but that's not how the world at large sees technology (nor should it). It's only real-world value is in what it can do for us that we couldn't do before without it, as heretical as that may sound here on slashdot.

        My advice to educators is to let kids make their own computer games. You'll sucker them into doing some of the hardest sort of programming there is, and they'll likely enjoy it. More importantly, for those that are more artistically or creatively inclined rather than technically inclined, they can help out with artwork, story, music, and sound effects. Videogame programming is a fantastic cross-discipline project that can involve all sorts of different skills and abilities. So, not everyone has to write code, but everyone can contribute in some way.

        I've found that computer games are great at driving home the need to learn higher math as well. Geometry, linear algebra, and matrix math are all used extensively in many types of games. Kids will naturally run into these problems, and probably work in vain to come up with a home-grown solution. At that point they're primed to learn a more elegant solution using higher math. The big advantage is that this lesson concretely demonstrates the value and usefulness of that math, making it much easier to learn and appreciate since it has a useful context.

        • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Saturday August 02, 2014 @08:11PM (#47591303) Journal
          This post succinctly describes why I'm not a Java developer, no matter how many times I've set out to learn the language. I'm primarily a web developer, full-stack LAMP and JavaScript (with strong sysadmin roots), so everything I've ever set out to develop in Java had followed the same process: start development, determine I could implement it better as a web app, begin implementing as a web app, get annoyed at reimplementing logic I've already done, causing me to eventually abandon the project. It wasn't until recently, when I started a project that can't really work as a web app, that the light came on and the value of Java (likely as a stepping stone to a number of other languages) became concrete for me; as you said, making it much easier to learn and appreciate since it has a useful context.

          This is how people learn. Give them a problem, give them the tools. Hell, show them what the solution should look like. Leave it to them to figure out how to get from the problem to the solution; don't tell them anything they don't ask for. Let them fuck up. When they get stumped, they'll ask for help; show them what they did wrong, don't tell them what they should have done, unless they ask. People are inherently smart, unless you teach them to be dumb.
        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          Honestly, forcing computer programming on kids will have the same effect as forcing math on them.

          You mean introducing it to them? Without school "forcing" topics on kids, many wouldn't know that those topics even existed.

          • by Dutch Gun (899105)

            Honestly, forcing computer programming on kids will have the same effect as forcing math on them.

            You mean introducing it to them? Without school "forcing" topics on kids, many wouldn't know that those topics even existed.

            By "forcing it on them", I simply meant that it shouldn't be mandatory. A computer science course should be an optional track, same as high-level math. There's no need to push it on students who don't have an interest or inclination for it.

            Don't misunderstand, I absolutely support the notion of giving kids the option of taking CS courses as early as possible. I started programming around the sixth or seventh grade myself, if I remember correctly, and it was great to have that early head start when I took

      • They probably won't be learning CS. Most people, including many around here, mistake CS for anything computer related.

        Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, but if they incorporate some practical computer lesson and projects into the curriculum it may not be so bad. Things that are more general and practical in nature. Perhaps creating a web page that involves a little java script, maybe connecting a temperature sensor to a raspberry pi and writing a script to read it, etc. Are these CS or EE, not really,
      • For ordinary programming you don't need math.
        And certainly nothing beyond arithmetic.

        Math is needed in programming when you start doing something more hardcore, e.g 3D engines need some (limited) knowledge about geometry. Or if you want to simulate something like a satelite orbit.

        It is roughly once a year that I have to calculate something on paper that is relevant for a software project. The software projects themselve usually don't use any math except +/- I don't even remember when I used the last time *

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          For ordinary programming you don't need math. And certainly nothing beyond arithmetic.

          Right, which is why it should be taught around the same time algebra is taught. Lots of children struggle with the transition to math that isn't all numbers. Having X's and Y's, and other variables takes a surprisingly long time to mentally figure out. But if they had a year of programming (which only involved arithmetic), when algebra would be taught, a lot of the hurdles would already be overcome because they relate the math they're being taught to their programming experiences.

          • I was not against teaching programming, I only challenged the idea that being good in math makes you a good programmer.

            Actually most people with a math degree who moved into programming, are good at problem solving but bad at coding. Physicists OTOH are often medium good in both things, means they are a bit slower than mathematicians but produce better code. But they are not lazy enough as 'good coders' are who hate to repeat themselves.

            The best non 'comp sci' programmer I met was a Chemist. However he had

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      Agreed, there is no need to push for any particular subject beyond ability to read, write and do basic arithmetic. Once those are covered, the kids should no longer be required to be in school. Should be able to go into trades (probably for most), trade schools, should let those, who are truly interested to continue education by removing huge artificial demand created with all the government subsidised debt (student loans) and should get rid of the minimum wage laws and laws that prevent 15 year olds from

      • From talking to older family members it seems that the US had a two track educational system in the 1940s and 50s too. One track vocationally oriented and one college prep oriented. Everyone took math classes of some sort for most/all of high school, even the kids on the vocational track. On the vocational track it was practical job site oriented math (which included some algebra and trig techniques) plus some financial literacy and home economics.

        I think in this respect the non-college prep kids were be
      • You've pretty much hit on a few major themes of what is wrong with the American economy right now.

        Three broad things:

        1. Companies have successfully externalized costs that they should be paying. This legislation is an example of that: companies that are large and profitable should pay to train the workers they want, instead of importing ready-trained (sometimes) workers for less pay. By making the education system the training ground for a highly industry specific field, big companies that need lots of

    • No one is suggesting everyone needs to be in STEM. At the same time though, it's widely accepted that the population could use a significantly broader awareness of the topics involved in STEM fields. We read Shakespeare, study history, and learn about government, not because we're necessarily going to become playwrights, historians, and politicians, but rather so that we have a broader understand of our culture, our world, and the ways in which it functions. The same is needed with STEM.

      You point out that w

      • it's widely accepted that the population could use a significantly broader awareness of the topics involved in STEM fields.

        I don't even think most people are capable of truly understanding all but the most simple concepts. You see this in math, where people think that being able to *use* math is essentially the same as having an intuitive understanding of why and how it works. And it isn't just because of our awful education system that things are like this, though that certainly helps.

    • 75% of STEM workers leave their field. There isn't a recruiting or training shortage, there's a retention issue.

      Why?

      2 simple reasons:
      1. STEM workers are paid less than other disciplines that require similar intelligence, skills, and experience.
      2. STEM workers are pushed to lower social levels. In some places I've seen them regarded lower than the janitorial staff.

    • "To keep the pool of employees huge and the pay low? "

      Well you have the answer right there, but seemed to miss it somehow.

      This is not a feel-good story of congress doing something positive for the USA's fail-sauce edumication system that leaves no child behind by slowing down all the children and teachers.

      It is simply morally corrupt politicians ensuring more meat for the IT grinder run by their campaign donors to help lower IT wages.

      Very plain, very simple.

      Don't believe me? Where is the 100 cosponsor bill
    • by fche (36607)

      ... plus why on earth would it need to be a *federal* matter? Education is local, at best state level jurisdiction.

      • by uncqual (836337)

        I think there is some truth to this, but there is a problem in our highly mobile society if one city teaches things in one order and another city two states away teaches things in a different order. When a student's parent's move between these two cities, their kids are screwed (for example, they may never have learned what their peers at their new school learned last year and may be bored stiff "relearning" what their peers are studying this year but they learned last year).

        As well, it seems very useful fo

        • by fche (36607)

          "When a student's parent's move between these two cities, their kids are screwed ..."

          If all it requires is some such easily-surmountable personal inconvenience to get a major federal government effort started, no wonder the feds thing *everything* is in their jurisdiction.

        • by RR (64484)

          I think there is some truth to this, but there is a problem in our highly mobile society if one city teaches things in one order and another city two states away teaches things in a different order. When a student's parent's move between these two cities, their kids are screwed (for example, they may never have learned what their peers at their new school learned last year and may be bored stiff "relearning" what their peers are studying this year but they learned last year).

          This is not an argument for federal education standards. This is an argument for fundamental education reforms. "Oh, I'm sorry, we can't talk about arithmetic on mixed fractions this year, because that's a 4th grade subject. This is 5th grade. We're doing geometric figures." Or whatever. What about the 5th graders who didn't really get mixed fractions last year? Many of the best mathematicians were made to feel stupid in school because they would rather think slowly than rush through all the subjects in the

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      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?

      Training kids to go into STEM jobs won't automatically get them jobs. But training kids to go into jobs which can be automated away will automatically get them automated away.

      If we don't create a future where that training will serve them, we're probably all fucked anyway.

  • Saying that CS will be considered core doesn't change the simple fact that it won't make the universities care.

    If you want to do CS (or EE) at uni then the requirement is top end math (Calculus) and Physics, with it being a bonus if you've also done Chemistry. Until that changes it doesn't matter what else happens, CS is going to continue to be a lame duck option for high school students.

    • by ATMAvatar (648864)
      While Physics and Chemistry are not particularly useful, it's difficult to dispute that Calculus (and, by extension, Lambda Calculus [wikipedia.org]) is useful for Computer Science.
  • "Honest, I only added a few symbols! Why doesn't the program work anymore?" Besides, computer science used to be part of either math or engineering, depending in which school you went to; we could just go back to that and suggest that it be a REAL SUBJECT instead of just tossing web images together and claiming you "wrote" something.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @06:35PM (#47590973)

    ..."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,"

    Translation: We'll do this and then we'll have to let more H-1B foreigners into the country to pay for it. The question isn't how many tax dollars this law will cost, it is how many American jobs it will cost and how further American technical jobs can be devalued by an in-flood of cheap foreign labor.

  • current core academic subjects are English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography

    I get english, and reading/language arts (which is english), math, science, foreign languages I suppose is a wobbler for me, civics and government smells a bit like history, but sure, count it separate, economics is pretty important, as well as history and geography...but arts? Plain old arts?

    I'm sorry, but if people want to make paper

    • One? I would have removed all of the arts and all of the foreign languages. I would certainly place computer science higher than any of those on a list of things that deserve to be "core subjects".
      • Protip: most kids don't learn English well until they take a second language. The English teachers don't know or teach grammar, and the kids often don't really understand what's going on until they see it in an unfamiliar language. I'd rather see foreign language starting as early as possible, perhaps kindergarten, and CS remaining an elective late in the school career when higher reasoning is possible. There are developmental barriers to starting heavier logic like CS early (look up Piaget), but language a

        • Protip: most kids don't learn English well until they take a second language.

          Protip: Nonsense. That has more to do with bad teaching than it does having to take a foreign language to understand the native language of your own fucking country. My high school forced people to take French when I was in school, and it was simply awful. Bad teaching will make any subject seem impossible to learn, especially since most people seem to have no desire to learn on their own, and would rather be spoon fed (hence, public 'education').

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Architecture is an important art with plenty of math worked into it, the human body in art is also a great case for both biology and math; art is important and should be a core academic subject supporting the rest however it should not be "arts and crafts" which is not art but a way of keeping kids busy.

      It should be the reasons behind art, what makes a thing aesthetically pleasing, what harmonics are and how colors and light mix but how do you convince a populace that doesn't even understand half of the wor

      • It should be the reasons behind art, what makes a thing aesthetically pleasing

        That's utterly subjective, and why I think it should *not* be a core subject. If you want to take it, fine, but don't force your bullshit on me. This sort of mentality ("I like it, so everyone should have to take it.") was part of the reason why I never took public school seriously and eventually just dropped out.

      • by russotto (537200)

        It should be the reasons behind art, what makes a thing aesthetically pleasing, what harmonics are and how colors and light mix but how do you convince a populace that doesn't even understand half of the words in this sentence that that is what art is and why it's important?

        Significant progress towards that last would qualify you for a doctorate, because it would certainly be breaking new ground in the field.

  • Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2014 @06:47PM (#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.

  • by cowdung (702933) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:26PM (#47591165)

    I applaud this effort.

    I recently toured 14 campuses in the US and it is clear to me that Engineering and Science is a low priority for most american youth based on the comments I heard from students and tour guides. Also, movies and tv shows keep portraying scientists, engineers and computer people as weird and devoid of social life.

    If the US is to continue to be a country of innovation it needs to inform its youth that the highest demand jobs are those that involve MATH and Science and Engineering. It needs to give these subjects a higher priority in the curriculum. Because it is through these subjects that people will be able to BUILD the future.

    Its nice that so many people are in to art history, or sociology, or communications. But what the economy needs is innovators that can bring technological solutions to make the world a better place. The salary discrepancies clearly show this.

    Teaching programming will help students model and understand the world and to solve its technological problems.

    70% of the youth in Asia chose Science and Engineering jobs. In the Americas the trend is the opposite only about 30% chose these fields. No wonder so many work at Walmart and are wondering if higher education is worth the investment.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No wonder so many work at Walmart and are wondering if higher education is worth the investment.

      'Everybody's gotta go to college!' is a poisonous mentality that only kills education. If many people who don't belong in college/university (people who just want a job and don't care about true education, unintelligent people, etc.) start going, colleges and universities drop standards to appeal to these people in order to get more money, and education suffers. Most colleges are like this, and some universities are like this.

      As someone who went to a good university, I can say with certainty that most peopl

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      Does this effort solves the fundamental problem that you bring up? Kids aren't interested in these fields because they are hard and mathy. American society does not value those things. I bet you could get more kids into CS by teaching them shop than by teaching them CS. Like you say: Society has to value BUILDING. Reinvigorate that first.

  • The vaulted Speaker of the House has already stated it is a better metric to judge them on how many laws they have repealed. Oh... nevermind.
  • Bad idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blindseer (891256) <blindseer AT earthlink DOT net> on Saturday August 02, 2014 @07:45PM (#47591235)

    When I was in school the "computer" class was not much more than learning to type. We got to play with AppleWorks and some sort of graphics program, the best one could get with 8 bits of color.

    I recall a conversation I had with a co-worker about how we need more and better computers in schools or our children will be somehow educationally stunted. I pointed out how the Apple ProDos and Microsoft DOS systems we used reflected the Windows 7, Mac OSX, and Linux systems we use today. Elementary school children don't need fancy computers. I wonder if they need computers at all. I'm sure that skills like typing will be important, I took that in high school. Students will need to understand that computers do what they are told, not what you want them to do, but that is true of many things. Mathematics, physics, and chemistry have similar rules. I could argue that law has similar rigor, words mean things. If the law does not mean what you want it to mean then change the law. Perhaps that is a rant for another time.

    Point is that computers are an important part of modern life. Computer technology is still changing fast, whether it is faster or slower now than when I was in grade school is debatable. Rather than teach "computers" to children perhaps we need to find a way to work computers into every subject. Art class should have a portion where students work in PhotoShop, just like they have sections on clay, paint, or colored pencils. Shop class should have a portion on CNC milling. Mathematics has all kinds of options to work in computing. Chemistry and physics classes can work in computers to run simulations and compare to real world experimentation, or do some statistical analysis on data collected in experiments.

    I believe that teaching "computer science" at too young of an age is a bad idea. It will do little to prepare children for life as an adult. I suspect most implementations of "computer science" at anything other than college or trade school levels will be twisted into something that is not "computer science". It will be much like what I had in school, an excuse to play with expensive toys and the only real skills derived from it will be learning how to type. It doesn't have to be that way but I believe that is how it will end up because real computer scientists rarely choose to teach, they make more money doing something else. Much of the issues with teachers not getting paid enough has to do with the government funded education system we have now.

    • I generally agree, but some free access computers would have been nice to have. I was interested enough in computers as a child to read all the available books in the library, including books on DOS and C and Larry Wall's Programming Perl, but I never had the chance to compile anything. Needless to say it didn't quite stick in the sense of learning to program, although it did provide a bit of foundation for such things later on.

      When we actually did use computers the instructor always seemed like the least

  • Will have to cut art and music to fit it in

  • the teachers won't teach to the students.

  • Why do we have a federal Department of Education? Is there a set of common guidelines that apply uniformly for all school districts across These United States? A set of rules, goals, and guidelines that apply to inner-city Harlem, NY as well as ultra-rural American Falls, ID? Eliminate this Department, give the money back to the States, and be done with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It takes 218 Representatives to pass a bill in the House and 60 Senators to close debate in the Senate. Therefore, the answer to the question (How Many Members of Congress Does It Take to Pass a $400 Million CS Bill?) is 278 members of Congress. You can actually manage with fewer than that if some don't vote, but that's the safest answer to the question. 278 is sufficient.

  • What if we just manufacutred criminals by making it illegal to tamper with a URL bar's contens, and then taught every kid to code!

    "Genius! This thing prints money!"

    -- Reform the fucking CFAA. Every kid has a million times more accessibility to coding and information than when I taught myself at age 8. If you're not coding it's either because you don't want to, or your parents are fucking daft.

  • I think this is a horrible, bad idea because we don't really know what computer science is. It's such a young discipline that many of the important pioneers are still around.

    Well, the very first generation, the people who figured out how dancing machinery could represent arbitrary mathematical operations, those people died a generation ago. But many of the foundations of modern computer science, those were pretty arbitrary, and those people are either still around or recently dead: John McCarthy of LISP (1

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      CS when I was in school was teaching kids how to program computers. It was in BASIC, but it was something. CS now is teaching kids how to browse the internet and how to illegally obtain music and videos. My stepson came out of high school CS class knowing how to burn DVDs, but had to ask me what program one might use if one wanted to write an essay.
  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @09:26AM (#47593455) Journal

    Isn't that the cost of a CS education at Stanford nowadays

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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