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Is K-12 CS Education the Next Common Core? 113

theodp (442580) writes In an interview with The Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton that accompanied her report on How Bill Gates Pulled Off the Swift Common Core Revolution (the Gates Foundation doled out $233 million in grants to git-r-done), Gates denied that he has too much influence in K-12 education. Despite Gates' best efforts, however, there's been more and more pushback recently from both teachers and politicians on the standards, GeekWire's Taylor Soper reports, including a protest Friday by the Badass Teacher Association, who say Gates is ruining education. "We want to get corporations out of teaching," explained one protester. If that's the case, the "Badasses" probably won't be too pleased to see how the K-12 CS education revolution is shaping up, fueled by a deep-pocketed alliance of Gates, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others. Google alone has already committed $90 million to influence CS education. And well-connected, which has struck partnerships with school districts reaching over 2M U.S. students and is advising NSF-funded research related to the nation's CS 10K Project, will be conducting required professional development sessions for K-12 CS teachers out of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offices this summer in Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Seattle. So, could K-12 CS Education ("Common Code"?) become the next Common Core?
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Is K-12 CS Education the Next Common Core?

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  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @09:56AM (#47340209) Journal
    Badass teacher association sounds really a bunch of teachers who (like Jaime Escalante) get their kids excited about learning and teach them well.

    It doesn't seem like it though []. As far as I can tell, they exist to try to shift the blame to someone else. Nothing badass about shifting blame.

    (Here is what they said, so you can read it and develop your own interpretation of their goal, that's how I understand it):

    "This association is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning"

  • I hope not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @10:06AM (#47340241)

    I have a soon to be 6th grader.

    Common core is a disaster. The homework is riddled with errors (found 3 on one page) and the instruction methodology is terrible.

    Case in point: My son brought home an assignment where he was graded poorly, and one of the short answers was marked wrong. I know the material they were reading, the book Wrinkle in Time.

    When I asked the teacher about it, this is what I was told:
    His "team" (they are in 6 kid groups) decided the antagonists name "IT" should be pronounced "I.T.".

    Under common core standards, the group can decide what the "right" answer is, as an interpretation of the fact, not the fact itself.
    I can give a little under a "tomato" vrs "tah-mato", but...

    I asked her if the group decided "IT" was a giant mouse instead of a giant brain, would that make the person saying it was a giant brain wrong.

    She replied under the grading rules, it would.

    Fuck me dead, we are raising an army of Project Managers!

    No wonder public support for Common Core is about 35%

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @10:18AM (#47340295)

    First we dumb down the curriculum with "no idiot left behind" to ensure that even the dumbest dud can get a degree, then we add stuff to it which requires not only to dumb down what's inside already but probably reduce "CS" to "copy the code from page 18 and get it to compile (the latter of course meaning that you should make sure you don't have any typos, the code of course doesn't contain errors, no thinking required)".

    Yeah, that's what the US needs. More people with more useless degrees that pretty much amounts to "He managed to come around often enough (or at least not get caught during truancy) and keep the chair from flying away".

  • Re:I hope not. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @10:46AM (#47340407)

    "Under common core standards, the group can decide what the "right" answer is"

    Utter leftist stupidity. You couldnt ruin kids education more with things like this.

    2+2=5 wont cut it when making cars/programs/writing a check for your electric bill.

    These so called educators need to be in prison for the crime they are perpetrating on the children of our county.

  • Exposure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @10:47AM (#47340411)
    I think that there should be more exposure to CS, CE, EE, CE, ME, etc. But not full on long term courses for any but a few faithful. It takes a certain mindset to enjoy computers and engineering; many people don't have this mindset so foisting it upon them is probably bad news. But for those who like it they like it a lot. I would have loved way more time in the computer lab during my youth.

    What I would have much preferred instead of a rigorous course that actually might have put me off CS; especially if taught by a bad teacher or two; Would have been a computer club/technology lab where we would be given the tools and tutorials to better understand what we liked and could do.

    Then when kids go to university and are learning fairly abstract concepts they would be able to regularly have "ah ha" moments where they could realize that this abstract knowledge could have solved problems they had back in the lab.

    Now I would like to see a bit more tech ed as (hard to understand for slashdotters) but there is a huge percentage of the population that simply has no idea what happens to make a light switch turn the lights on and off; let alone how the hell a 3 way light switch works.

    For instance in my children's schools they have chemistry labs that look like they were awesome 30 years ago. But now they are art rooms because of the great sinks and the fume hood is good for stinky art. So again nothing outside of a textbook(other than me) has ever shown my daughters how soap works.

    So before schools should make some foolish large attempt to impose their interpretation of CS they should look at the entire sci-tech teaching issue.
  • Re: I hope not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @11:22AM (#47340583)

    That's what they'd have you believe, but in actual practice, it is a whole-hog takeover (my wife is a teacher, we are both appalled at the never ending 'reforms', too numerous to list. There's plenty on the web to search for), it absolutely involves methodology and pedagogy. Bill Gates, nor any corporate entity, have any business (pun intended) sticking their fingers into education, and not every child wants or needs to be a coder. Technology will only become more invisible as time goes by, we all know this; it is tantamount to saying every child needs to be adept at auto mechanics. A useful skill in some contexts, perhaps, but hardly critical to everyone, that's just plain silly. The day we kick the corporations out of our government is the day America will have a chance again. And bear in mind that the kids are the ones paying the price with wasted time they can't get back while these buffoons stumble all over themselves.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.