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Education Programming

Chicago Mayor Calls For National Computer Coding Requirement In Schools ( 217

theodp writes: On Thursday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on the federal government to make computer coding classes a requirement of high-school graduation (video). Back in December 2013, Emanuel — who previously served as President Obama's chief of staff — joined then-Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to announce a comprehensive K-12 computer science program for CPS students, including a partnership with then-nascent "[Y]ou need this skill Make it a high-school graduation requirement," Emanuel said. "They need to know this stuff. In the way that I can get by kind of being OK by it, they can't.
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Chicago Mayor Calls For National Computer Coding Requirement In Schools

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  • Grrr (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @01:17PM (#50694183)

    What's really needed are courses in things like "How not to fall into the debt trap" and "Why being educated is actually worth some effort so you don't end up on welfare", etc.

    • My high school had a Home Economics class that did, in fact, teach some basic economics. It wasn't how to bake a loaf of bread or whatever like a lot of other schools.

      We learned things like:

      1. Compound Interest and how it relates to investment for retirement.
      2. How much a 30 year mortgage really costs.
      3. How to budget.
      4. How to eat healthily on $5 a day.
      5. How insurance works.

      I've rarely come across other people that had this kind of a class in their high school. It's weird to me that people are graduating

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Woldscum ( 1267136 )

        My Sr year in high school had a class for those of us not college bound. Instead of taking Calc/Trig in Sr year the alternative was Business Math. It was a combo of Typing, Computer Lab, Accounting and Home Economics. We had to keep a credit card, checking account and savings account in balance the first semester. Every Friday we got a randomized sheet with a pay check and weekly bills. We had to buy insurance, take out car loans and take out a Mortgage. One part of the midterm test was to fill out a 1040E

    • by locoluis ( 69948 )

      As the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, I'll bite:

      "How not to fall into the debt trap", a few tips from a formerly heavily-indebted loser:

      - Things can and will go wrong. It's better to prepared than to borrow money for an emergency.
      - Never spend more than what you can earn.
      - Pay all of your debts before you borrow again.
      - A breather today is a greater burden tomorrow. Don't make it a permanent issue.
      - Never pay a debt with another debt.
      - Never lose your job while indebted.
      - Borrow only to pay for vari

    • What's really needed are courses in things like "How not to fall into the debt trap"

      If they got serious about teaching it properly that would be a hugely beneficial class. No way they'd be allowed to do it right though.

    • They also need to teach the basics of how our economic system works. That you earn money by providing value to others. You don't magically get money simply because you exist or have a degree.
  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @01:21PM (#50694219) Homepage

    It's one things to say that all schools would have to require it as an elective (which means they have to deal w/ trying to find qualified teachers, etc).

    But requiring all students to learn it? Hell no. Jeff is right [], it's just another skill. Sure, it's great that I rebuilt a lawn mower engine back in high school ... but we didn't even spend a full semester on that.

    Every time some new 'requirement' comes along, something else is going to need to get bumped -- how many schools still have a shop class, or home ec? I'd much rather see home economics be a requirement again, and bring in some lessons on compound interest, savings, and why gambling and money lenders suck, rather than just cooking & sewing. (and if it were all about saving money, then shop class should count as 'home ec', too).

    If you want more people to take programming classes ... reclassify it as a foreign language. Then kids could decide to take it instead of French or Spanish, without it meaning that they need yet another class to graduate.

    • There should be some sort of "life skills" class that incorporates part of home economics and other skills. Some of the skills covered by that class should involve computers (basic computer security, a la "don't give your password to anyone") but financial matters, basic cooking and sewing, how to write a formal letter/email, how to change a flat tire, things like that should IMO also be covered.

      In fact, don't just offer one such class at or near the end of the students' education. Teach appropriate life sk

    • by Zmobie ( 2478450 )

      My high school offered it as an elective and my brother convinced me to take it my sophomore year (I was already interested in engineering, just wasn't sure what field). Out of the entire nearly 2000 students there was ONE class (both CS 1 and CS 2 combined) with less than 50 people taking it over the course of 3 years. There were about 8 of us that were actually any good, out of them I believe 3 (including myself) turned it into a career. The rest pretty much cheated off us or we had to help them throug

    • I'd much rather see home economics be a requirement again, and bring in some lessons on compound interest, savings, and why gambling and money lenders suck

      Actually, this should be taught in a math class. Most states require three years of high-school mathematics for graduation -- generally including at least Algebra I, Geometry, and an elective (which is often encouraged to be a second year of Algebra).

      What POSSIBLE excuse is there for any person to graduate high school in this country without understanding the BASIC MATH needed to survive in this world?? -- that includes understanding interest and its relationship to investments, understanding and being a

  • Let's be perfectly clear here: If you get a highschool diploma, and stop your education ... you will not be programming computers.

    If you think you're going to have a bunch of kids coming out of highschool who are the programming workforce of the future ... you have decided to set your kids future up so that they will be the low-paid programmers who only have a highschool diploma.

    Somehow we've let a bunch of rich people who work in technology to convince the world that everybody needs to know how to program

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      Let's be perfectly clear here: If you get a highschool diploma, and stop your education ... you will not be programming computers.

      If you don't have a college degree, you probably won't get a job at all. Many jobs that previously required a high school diploma noq require a college degree. Never mind that the actual work may not have changed.

      • Pretty soon, you won't be able to work at McDonald's without a degree from Burger U...
      • by vvaduva ( 859950 )

        Actually that's not true at all. Most job postings today require a college degree OR experience. Fuck college degrees. Acquire killer skills and you'll be just fine.

        • by creimer ( 824291 )
          When I skipped high school to get an associate degree from the community college, I had trouble getting level-entry jobs for the first five years after graduation because I didn't have a high school diploma. Never mind that an associate degree ranks higher than a high school diploma. Once I got hired by a Fortune 500 company through a roommate, the high school diploma became less relevant and experience became more important to my tech career.
          • by vvaduva ( 859950 )

            I imagine it probably has a lot to do with the market and niche you are in and the supply and demand of jobs in that specific market. When there is a severe shortage of people to fill roles, many employers are willing to lower education requirements and focus on what someone can actually deliver.

        • Yes. Every time I have a chance to talk to recruiters in the tech industry I always ask them how important education is. They always tell me that experience is way more important.

          That said, there are still some large employers that require specific degrees but for the most part, if you have the experience, it doesn't matter if you only have a GED.

          • by vvaduva ( 859950 )

            Yes, especially large healthcare organizations. They seem to be stuck on the whole degree thing AND also paying much lower than average. Which is why they often end up with sub-par employees on board.

            Bottom line, hone your skills, hold your ground and go for the best offers you can get.

    • If you think you're going to have a bunch of kids coming out of highschool who are the programming workforce of the future ...

      I think it is pretty clear from his comments about having to have his kids turn on the TV for him even after him having the basics, that he's not trying to create a high-school graduate programming workforce. It's obvious that he is smarter than that and knows, like we do, that it won't happen.

      It seems like he's trying to create a baseline understanding of what a computer is and the things they do, by forcing everyone to know how to program something on one. That's not a bad idea, but it isn't "programmin

  • Bored /. editors who weren't able to find another "more women in coding" story, slaps up another "more programming in education" story.

    Tomorrow's scope: VW engineers screwed the pooch (again).

  • by Forgefather ( 3768925 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @01:25PM (#50694269)

    So the Chicago school districts which are grossly underfunded piles of crap are going to magically extract the funding for a comp sci program from a laughing pony's asshole? All so they can fall into debt trap anyway because they can't afford college, and a company isn't going to hire a high school graduate whose only coding experience is babies first intro to Python? 100% bullshit.

    • Well, sure, because computers are free, right?
    • >> grossly underfunded piles of crap

      I wouldn't say "grossly underfunded" - they currently pay about $15K/year per student. For that kind of money, you'd think you could get 1 teacher (making $50K or so) for every 5 students. []

      >> magically extract the funding for a comp sci program

      Oh, but politicians in Chicago ARE good at that. In fact, very little of the spend mentioned above goes to student education. If the mayor kicked off a "CompSci Bootcamp" or a similar i

  • A week ago news broke that Chicago was padding its graduation rates. (They're really around 66% - yikes.) []

    Then there's the story from TODAY about Chicago's school chief agreeing to plead guilty to bribery: []

    To me, this "code for all" announcement mainly seems timed to distract from the fact that Chicago's public schools are horribly ineffective dumps run by hacks.

  • Not even prisoners who take classes are forced to learn how to code. WTF is wrong with these bureaucrats? Some kids want to be artists, musicians, architects or doctors. How does forcing them to learn programming help anyone at all, other than ballooning the school's budgets and wasting more money?

  • Perhaps Hizzoner should make sure students are learning reading, writing, and arithmetic (and maybe some history and science too) in the Chicgao Public Schools before becoming concerned with national requirements for computer coding?

    • Or maybe even worry about the massive crime problem his city has and let the school board worry about education standards?

      • But ... but ... if the criminals had all learned to code there'd be no crime, and everybody would have jobs!! It's true, I saw it on the internet!

        Why do you hate America?

  • "Make it a high-school graduation requirement," Emanuel said. "They need to know this stuff."

    I recall a moment in college when I was standing in the ruins of classic Rome with a friend of mine, reading to him a sign in one of the structures indicating where Julius Caesar was stabbed, and having him ask me, "Who's Julius Caesar?" Smart guy, graduated from college in three years, and has been a middle school science teacher ever since.

    A central problem with our K-12 educational system has been too many coo

  • I'm not a professional programmer - OMG, if I was, I'd shudder to think what would happen - but I did programming back as school in the 80's and 90's and have kept it up as a hobby ever since. I'm one of those engineers who went into product management and I've found coding terrifically helpful as a tool at work, just like presentation skills, personal skills, negortation skills etc. I've used it to create demo content for conferences (ActionScript) (got an award for that one), analyze customer requests via

  • Because I'm sure they have the students best interest in mind []

    but I have my own obvious bias []

  • You don't need a mechanical engineering degree to be able to flush a toilet. You don't need to go to the Bondurant school to be able to drive a car. You don't need an electrical engineering degree to plug in an electric appliance. And you don't need to know how to code in order to use a computing device.
  • Honestly, seeing what I'm seeing as a "veteran" with 20+ years of experience, I feel this is probably the last gasp for average developers and IT people to command a good salary. Offshoring, visa programs, coder bootcamps and yes, these "everyone must learn to code" programs are going to mean a flooded market. This, along with most development centering around locked-down walled garden environments like phone apps, will reduce salaries over time because the _average_ skill level required to get something _w

    • Do what every other trade has done: start a union or trade guild, pass laws requiring certification testing, restrict entry into the trade in order to create an artificial scarcity so that you can command premium rents for the use of your labor. Every other trade has done this including teachers, doctors, lawyers, carpenters, truck drivers, etc., why not engineering? We're too ethical for our own good, apparently.
  • by msobkow ( 48369 )

    Just "No."

    We need to stop pretending that our addiction to smell phones and PCs is healthy, and that the rudimentary skills taught in a high school are going to produce "the next big app" or even a job.

  • Stupid for two specific reasons:

    1) Stop requiring shit at the federal level. Education decisions should be made at the local and state level. You can require whatever you want in Chicago, but leave the rest of us alone. The federal government has a hard enough time doing the job that it is mandated to do in the Constitution.

    2) Not everyone needs to know how to code. It's a waste of time. Not everyone needs to take shop class. Not everyone needs to take home economics.

  • The political fascination with coding is ridiculous. The last time I checked, we still need plumbers, electricians, welders, and equipment operators as well. Why not make those skills mandatory as well?

    Hell, before any of that, let's step up drivers ed first. Many newly minted high-school graduates can't drive a manual transmission, or change a flat tire, or jumpstart a car.

    • The political fascination with coding is ridiculous. The last time I checked, we still need plumbers, electricians, welders, and equipment operators as well. Why not make those skills mandatory as well?


      Because there aren't billionaire plumbers with the ear of government who are loudly saying kids must learn to run pipe for the economy to succeed.

      This is "which rich people are driving this agenda?". The tech billionaires all want to be handed a large, cheap labor pool ... and as a result are framing the

  • Along the lines of "Everyone" in the USA drives a car so we should all be required to take an auto shop class in High School. The auto shop class at least helps everyone deal with the cars that they have - only a small percentage of people truly need to be able to code, the rest may need to be able to use a computer, and a few people need to be able to hire computer programmers to take the money that they raised from Angel Investors.
  • Look, cars are very complex and most people do not understand how the internal combustion engine works. Most of them can not recognize a epicyclic gear system if it is served on a silver platter with watercress around it. It is high time we educate everyone in America about thermodynamics, the enthalpy-entropy diagram, the Carnot cycle, theory of spark-advancement mechanism and the issues with the intercooler in the turbo super charger.

    I mean we want to make the best generation better drivers, don't we? T

  • A more general IT course would be better as a requirement. It could cover the relationship between clients and servers/clouds, what an OS is and isn't, normalization and data relationships (one-to-many, many-to-many, etc.), pro's and con's of different kinds of data keys/id's, encryption techniques, etc.

    They will likely need to know a bit about such in the work-place even if they are not a coder. Coding is only one aspect of IT.

    It's better 100% of students are slightly less naive about general IT which at l

  • You first.

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_