theodp writes "Back in 2010, Bill Gates Sr. made the case for I-1098, an initiative for a WA state income tax that Gates argued was needed to address K-12 funding inequity, which he claimed was forcing businesses "to import technically-trained employees, while our own people are shut out of highly paid careers." Opposed by the deep-pocketed, high-tech studded Defeat 1098, the initiative was defeated. Four years later, some of the same high-tech leaders who records show funded Defeat 1098 — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ($425K), Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith ($10K), Code.org founder Hadi Partovi ($10K), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($100K), Microsoft Corporation ($75K) — have gotten behind groups like Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Code.org, which are singing a similar Chicken Little tune, telling lawmakers that U.S. students will continue to be shut out of highly paid computer science careers without additional K-12 funding, and the U.S. will lose its competitive edge unless tech is permitted to import even more technically-trained employees. In a departure from Gates' income-tax based solution, Microsoft and Code.org argue that the-problem-is-the-solution, proposing that tech visa fees be used to fund K-12 CS programs. To 'accept that computer science classes are only available to the privileged few,' writes Code.org, 'seems un-American'. So, as some of the nation's biggest K-12 school systems turn to Code.org for CS education programs, should they expect the funding to come from taxes, H-1B tech visa fees, or the-kindness-of-wealthy-strangers philanthropy?"
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