Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Google Government Microsoft

Massachusetts Embraces Philanthropy-Funded K-12 CS Education 38

theodp writes: The Boston Globe reports that after more than two years of lobbying, the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN) — an advocacy group comprised of Boston-area execs from Google, Microsoft, and other large tech companies — will use $1.5 million of state money and another $1.5 million in matching MassCAN funds to train teachers in computer science instruction and to lobby more school districts to introduce the lessons. The move comes two months after the State of Washington embraced philanthropy-funded K-12 CS education after being cajoled to do so by Microsoft and tech-bankrolled Code.org. "Computing isn't introduced in certain schools at all, or it's introduced very late in the educational experience — and computer science is a very difficult thing to learn later in life," said Steve Vinter, director of Google's Cambridge office and the head of MassCAN. Vinter acknowledged that MassCAN's campaign is driven in part by self-interest: Google and other companies are worried about a lack of programmers and developers that are highly in demand in the booming MA tech industry.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Massachusetts Embraces Philanthropy-Funded K-12 CS Education

Comments Filter:
  • The article summary states, "computer science is a very difficult thing to learn later in life"

    That is a false premise. To learn anything you need the prerequisite skills. Computer Science can be taught to people with basic reading and math skills. Some experience typing is helpful but not necessary. I am working with my seven year old daughter on various tech skills. I found the Gcompris [gcompris.net] educational software to be a good place to start. Early parental involvement in learning is way more important tha

    • You can teach the basics like a do-while loop to anyone, but to produce anything of value is going to take hundreds and thousands of hours of practice.

      Young people have very limited options in life - go take a bath, go play in the yard, ride the bike, rake up leaves. Older people have many more opportunities for distraction - go on vacation, go out to eat, go to work and earn some OT, go buy some new toy, ad nauseum.

      Why use up good chunk of what's left your life learning a skill with limited value as c

    • There's a difference between teaching basic programming constructs and teaching people how to solve problems. The latter skill is universally applicable and something I think is sorely lacking in a lot of people. As society becomes more automated, anyone without problem solving skills or critical thinking ability has no value as they can be replaced by a robot. We can either invest in educating our populace now, or pay for it later when we have a portion of the workforce that's incapable of working.
      • Even if everyone were educated to become a programmer, doesn't mean they will have jobs. There simply aren't enough jobs to employ everyone. And just look at the churn in the industry, where what's hot rapidly becomes unimpressive. Coding as a career is dying it's up or out, and there are only so many management positions.
    • by flink ( 18449 )

      Computer Science can be taught to people with basic reading and math skills. Some experience typing is helpful but not necessary. I am working with my seven year old daughter on various tech skills.

      I would break it down into:

      1. Critical thinking/problem solving
      2. Basic math (e.g. algebra, some trig)
      3. Set theory/boolean algebra

      I think the biggest gap in our schools is with #1, largely because they're too busy teaching to some irrelevant standardized test rather than helping kids learn how to learn, which is probably the most valuable skill anyone can get out of a primary education.

      • by Dareth ( 47614 )

        #3 is sorely lacking in standard computer science curriculum. Working with sets of data in a logical manner is a very useful skill. Not everyone has to be a DBA, but some general idea of how data fits together helps.

  • But whe it says "Massachusetts Embraces" it doesn't seem to refer to the Commonwealth of MA, just this lobby group.

  • WH visitor records indicate MassCAN Executive Director Jim Stanton was at the White House on the day Code.org 'taught President Obama to code' [slashdot.org] last December, and that he joined Google, Microsoft, and Code.org execs [google.com] in a sit-down immediately afterwards with the head of the National Science Foundation. Stanton is also a Sr. Project Manager at Education Development Center (EDC leads MassCAN [edc.org]), which announced in March it had received a $6.5 million NSF grant [edc.org] to bring Berkeley’s Snap!-based The Beauty and [berkeley.edu]

  • FTA: "tech executives argue that local public schools are failing to teach students valuable computer skills."

    Does this mean if *high schools* (because we aren't talking about universities) picked up the slack and started to churn out code monkeys, these tech companies would stop lobbying for more H1B Visas? Because if they don't stop lobbying it just means they are selling these kids a bill of goods since their jobs are going to be replaced by H1B Visas holders. So Google, you can piss off.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday August 12, 2015 @11:56AM (#50301629) Homepage

    And in a year or so, these "philanthropists" will cry poor, and insist government does this.

    This is special interest groups controlling education for their own corporate interests.

    They don't give a damn about children. They care about a workforce of people who will be made to work cheaply as they've been educated to meet corporate requirements.

    Having corporations dictating the direction of education is scary.

    Welcome to the dystopian oligarchy, you'll do what we tell you to, and we have government on the payroll to ensure you do.

  • This whole CS as a core subject really bother's me. Basically it's being motivated by corporations to serve their needs without any regard for what is best for the student nor society at large. In 2012, 1.8% of the population of the US is working in the "information sector" and the idea that we our going to tailor our education to serve that industry is appalling. All the hand wavy arguments that teaching CS will have broad benefits is absurd in that it ignores the fact that time is being taken for CS th

  • Later? Another turn of the screw. Just don't become chronically dependent on this shit. We already know how quickly they will shut down a project that doesn't produce the desired results fast enough. This is social engineering to install a trojan at its finest. Let's see what our Nigerian Princes want in return.

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Wednesday August 12, 2015 @12:13PM (#50301827) Journal

    Teach kids logic and critical thinking and c.s. will be easy to learn, however old you are.
    Teach just c.s. and their education will be obsolete before you know it.

  • by kwoff ( 516741 )
    In turn, the companies need remedial civics [wikipedia.org] lessons. If those philanthropic companies wouldn't avoid paying taxes in the US...
  • >> Google and other companies are worried about a lack of programmers and developers that are highly in demand in the booming MA tech industry.
    >> computer science is a very difficult thing to learn later in life

    Translation: no one older than 30 need apply

  • I'll steer my kids far away from CS as it will be a poor way to make a living; awash in cheap labor.
  • How much of this state money will be spent on Windows licenses?

To be is to program.

Working...