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Tech Takes Its K-12 CS Education and Immigration Crisis To the DNC (cnet.com) 118

theodp writes: In early 2013, Code.org and FWD.us coincidentally emerged after Microsoft suggested tech's agenda could be furthered by creating a crisis linking U.S. kids' lack of computer science savvy to tech's need for tech worker visas. Three years later, CNET's Marguerite Reardon reports that tech took its K-12 computer science and immigration crisis to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, where representatives from Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon called for the federal government to invest in more STEM education and reform immigration policies -- recurring themes the industry hopes to influence in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. "We believe in the importance of high-skilled immigration coupled with investments in education," said Microsoft President Brad Smith, repeating the Microsoft National Talent Strategy. The mini-tech conference also received some coverage in the New Republic, where David Dayen argues that the DNC is one big corporate bride.
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Tech Takes Its K-12 CS Education and Immigration Crisis To the DNC

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2016 @02:19AM (#52597151)

    For all that verbiage, what I got out of it is that they just want to bring more H-1Bs into the US to bring down wages. STEM education is definitely nothing more than a PR stunt.

    • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @04:22AM (#52597489)

      Bingo. H-1B's exist for one purpose: To provide indentured workers that can be treated as wage slaves and undercut american labor.

      • by John Smith ( 4340437 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @05:37AM (#52597665)
        Exactly. So kill the indenture part, then they will work at about market price. Suddenly, hiring H1-Bs becomes way less economical, since you can't pay them artificially low wages.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          That won't make a meaningful difference, you'll still have companies crowding out American workers with much cheaper foreign labor. The best solution is to reverse the indeture. If a company REALLY claims that it's utterly impossible to find an American worker and they absolutely must bring someone in force them to pay that person a princely sum and killer benefits for a mandatory minimum period.

          Make it so that bringing in an H-1B is outright painful. If they legitimately can't find an American worker they'

          • You glossed over parent's solution pretty quickly and did not explain why it would not make a "meaningful difference". There are two things going on here. First, there is the problem with H1-Bs and similar visas being strongly attached to an employer and requiring a somewhat painful process to transfer to another employer if he employee wants to change employers. This encumberment probably does depress H1-B wages.

            But second, there is what most people here are actually bitching about but won't admit it: "dey

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @09:00AM (#52598653) Homepage

            Hold on a second. A corporation is saying it can not find skilled local workers, so why the fuck do they not train some. So when anyone, has to go for that training, they have to take on a massive debt to pay for the skill corporations want to exploit. So why the fuck do the corporations get that skill for fucking free. Why are not the corporations paying for training, why are those cheap arse bastards, demanding that the government pays, or the individual pays. Whilst those self same corporations refuse to pay for training and to top it all off, what to pay lower wages to those individuals who pay for that training and in addition those self same corporations cheap on their taxes by offshoring profits in tax havens. The should take the D out of DNC and just have changed it to the CNC the Corporate National Convention.

            • Here's the deal with Training. You have a choice when training your employees. You can train American workers, and when they are fully trained, they leave for greener pastures OR you can train H1B visa holders, and they can't leave, without having to go home.

              Economically speaking, the ONLY real choice is to hire H1B workers, and train them, because they can't leave. This is only ONE of many reasons why H1B rules favors Corporations and hurt workers. This is also why Government should NOT be messing with the

              • Exactly, that why the government should abolish H1B Visas.
              • This is also why Government should NOT be messing with the economy at all, and let the market forces work things out. Artificial rules create artificial supply and demand problems, interrupting normal economic activity.

                The very existence of a government is going to "mess" with the economy. What would be a neutral position on immigration? Can economic activity be reduced to natural rules?

            • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
              You can't train CS. Ever see the damning stats related to CS and programming in general? 80% failure rate in the first two semester for people who WANT to get into CS or programming. Then another 20% drop out along the way, and of the remaining 16% who applied, 50% of them only pass because of a strong will, but are otherwise horrible. Of the remaining 8% who have even the slightest knack, their skills are distributed on a power curve, leaving 80% of them below average.

              We don't need a strong push for more
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Exactly. So kill the indenture part, then they will work at about market price. Suddenly, hiring H1-Bs becomes way less economical, since you can't pay them artificially low wages.

          I'm sure you believe that, but it simply isn't the case. You are talking about companies with a seemingly suicidal PC tact [businessinsider.com]. You really have to take a step back when seeing something like that and ask yourself "if this greedy megacorp is out for every dollar why would they take such a massively racist stance when it hurts their profit?"

          The answer is actually pretty straightforward, as Warren Buffet said: "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making w

          • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @09:14AM (#52598791) Homepage Journal

            You are exactly right - MOD PARENT UP.

            In fact the ultimate goal is much more insidious. Currently, the global median household income is at $9,733, and the goal is to level wages in ALL countries to the same place. Ultimately, some country's income will rise (where the multinational corporations are building factories and offices right now), but in most countries of the West is must be significantly be reduced. Note that's household income, which in many cases is two earners per household.

            Workers wages are, in fact, the ONLY commodity price that is being depressed right now. All others (food, energy, housing, etc.) is on the rise. You can argue by how much by citing ShadowStats vs. the US BLS, but you still see the same trend.

            Interesting the globalist party (a.k.a. the Democrats) continue to push this agenda. The symbolism during the convention was really in-your-face. More bridges, less borders, more flow, faster equalization of wages. While the elites continue to amass wealth and ignore countries (the wealthy don't NEED countries - their wealth provides them ultimate mobility, influence, and protection).

            They don't really need the middle class at all. Sure, they are using them right now as a cash cow to keep the funds flowing, but ultimately they are more trouble than they are worth. Better to reduce them to nothing and get as quickly as possible to a 2-class system. With the cost of living increasing and wages being "globally equalized" as quickly as possible, soon that's what they will have. The important thing to do now is to demonize the nationalists as racist, xenophobic, uneducated neanderthals clinging to sky-fairy religions, to avoid things like voting for a Brexit and electing nationalists like Trump.

        • Nice try, Shill "John Smith". The GAO--you know, Congress' non-partisan investigative arm--reported that a full 50% of entry level--yes, entry level--jobs went to H-1B visa holders [computerworld.com], not to candidates with high skills. That's a myth pushed by the big tech companies. They just want cheap labor, at the expense of US citizens.
    • The thing is, I don't see a lack of supply. Whenever there is a job opening there are a bunch of candidates available. The problem is companies have poor understanding on what the techies do. They normally fail to understand that this is a professional occupation, with professional responsibilities and requires professional pay to get it correctly done.
      You can get someone who can code for cheap from another country or right out of school. However they don't know how to ask the right questions or deal wit

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )

        The problem is companies have poor understanding on what the techies do

        That's a large part of it. Upper management listens to the offshore companies telling them how much experience their people have in the area. Labor rates are cheap and there are tax advantages to contractors vs. employees. But when the contractors show up and start asking questions which make it obvious that they have no experience at all it's too late. I've seen it happen multiple times.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          That's a large part of it. Upper management listens to the offshore companies telling them how much experience their people have in the area. Labor rates are cheap and there are tax advantages to contractors vs. employees. But when the contractors show up and start asking questions which make it obvious that they have no experience at all it's too late. I've seen it happen multiple times.

          And you know why? The people who are good get hired.

          Our company has hired a number of Indians the past couple of years -

    • I definitely fully agree. The whole thing is a scam and the democratic party is as corrupt as any other, totally infatuated with enriching itself, and basically doesnt care about the country one bit.

      The idea that there is an IT worker shortage is a documented lie and that this is a fact. You have Tech giants who have billions and want billions more who want cheap low wage labor to increase their profit margin. The main way the democrats get elected is promising more welfare giveaways and free college. They

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @02:24AM (#52597159) Homepage

    invest in more STEM education and reform immigration policies

    Really means;

    ensure we can get cheap labour from poor countries while making it look like there's another reason for it besides profit

    How about a plan to let those companies temporarily (until their domestic replacements finish school) hire immigrant workers at tenfold cost of domestic workers, with the extra money invested in STEM education? That would fix the "crisis" long term and short term, right?

    • Re:Translation (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2016 @02:47AM (#52597215)

      Precisely. Lower our costs and increase our profits using cheap labour. "High skilled", so we don't have to do any training, thereby cutting costs further. Get handouts from government for whatever training we find we still have to do. And the profits go up and up!!!

      Shame about all the unemployed Americans, tho. Can someone make sure they are moved away from my mansion?

    • Are you telling me Trump was correct when he said H1B's were not good for America?

      The TPP isn't going to fix this? really? I mean Nafta was fantastic, look at the manufacturing in this country, its so much better!!

      /sarc
      Seriously, if you can't figure out how to make sure those black box voting machines, that are so wonderful you do not need to see the code or how they work, are safe, this is game over. Hillary and the DNC will steal this election with the help of a few of the RNC folks. Epstein an
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      Why? Government intervention is bad! What right does the the government have to "let" companies do anything? The free market will sort it out! You will just need to compete.

      Signed,
      Typical Slashdot "Libertarian"
    • I can't speak for everywhere, but in Austin the tech market has experienced serious wage inflation, and it is entirely due to restricted supply. My girlfriend is a technical recruiter here and would agree with me. Educating more Americans in STEM could solve that, but I'm a bit skeptical about that. If super high wages doesn't attract more entrants into that job market segment, how is having an extra CS course or two available make a difference? Is unavailability of STEM courses really the problem? Maybe no

  • (..) the DNC is one big corporate bride.

    Okay, we already knew that correct spelling isn't a job requirement for /. editors.
    But FAILing to do a simple copy & paste of an article's title? Hell, even some 6y olds can handle that...

    Can't /. editors take themselves out of the process, or something? Just write up a couple of scripts to automate the 'editing' and be done with it?

    • the DNC is one big corporate bride.

      Okay, we already knew that correct spelling isn't a job requirement for /. editors.

      Perhaps it was a freudian slip, and they were thinking of the word "whore"?

  • Sorry, I'm an old fart and hence don't really always stay current with the neologisms, but since when are the Republicans big on political correctness? Or do they have some sort of problem with the word 'cause it gives the religious nuts a heart attack?

    "Corporate Whore" is the correct term.

  • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @06:20AM (#52597789) Journal

    What skills are lacking in the first place? I would argue that it's not lack of 'tech' skills - there are many people who can read specs and often obtuse community posts and write software that meets some specs.

    What is lacking is critical thinking, ability and desire to refine existing technologies (rather than reinvent things or try to come up with the next biggest thing), and failing to look at how everything is interconnected over the long term.

    We don't need more computer science in schools, we need more critical thinking classes. I'd also say we need more classes in "how practice is different than theory" but that doesn't sound glamorous.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      a million times this.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      I have never seen a class that teaches critical thinking, only classes that talk about critical thinking. Is it something that can be taught? It sounds an awful a lot like increasing one's fluid intelligence. If you actually look up fluid intelligence and critical thinking, you'd think they're talking about the same thing. Not quite, but close. Very possibly the same thing from a different angle.

      I've seen quite a few research topics on how practicing Dual N-Back or what-not can increase your working memo
      • Interesting - thanks for that. It nicely addresses what I was going for with my "what kind of skills...?" question. It's also kind of telling that it belies the idea that you can teach everyone anything - forgetting that there are inherent capabilities and limitations that are different for each individual (I, for instance, will always be at a disadvantage in a height-dominated sport because "you can't teach tall").

    • What is lacking is critical thinking

      What do you mean by "critical thinking"? How does it differ from "normal" thinking?

      According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], critical thinking is "the commitment to the social and political practice of participatory democracy". Do you really think that is what is missing in tech employees?

      • Critical Thinking skills moron. Look it up some time and not at wikipedia. There are courses in college that deal this subject. They deal with logical fallacies, flaws in reasoning. For example an ad hominem: Attacking your opponent's character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.c... [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

        Critical Thinking is rather important, more so than learning how to program in high school.
    • What is lacking is critical thinking

      We've got all these women and minorities taking Gender Studies, recruited to protest the lack of women and minorities taking STEM subjects.

      A critical thinking class would undermine many of the useless classes and ideas that are pushed.

    • by Kobun ( 668169 )
      Thank you for saying it first. I popped in to say much the same - that I would gratefully support investment in proper computer science education in schools, but not programming

      Logic, applied mathematics, problem solving, etc. Please get this stuff back in our schools.
    • we need more critical thinking classes

      "I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers." - attributed to John D. Rockefeller

  • ...against brown people and educating children. Seriously, theodp, no one wants your jerb. How about you think about the younger generation for a second? They need a future too.
  • So we've got a candidate who's shown she is willing to break the law for big money donors. Now she is currently working with large corporate interests who are setting the message at the convention of more H1-B. I think the american tech economy is done for.
    • Can we just GIVE UP on 2016 and move on to 2017 now?!!

      Davie Bowie, dead.
      Alan Rickman, dead.
      Glen Frey, dead.
      George Kennedy, dead.

      Abe Vigoda, dead. (verified)
      Muhammad Ali, dead.
      Umberto Eco, dead.
      Harper Lee, dead.

      Garry Marshal, dead.
      Amber Rayne, dead.
      Keith Emerson, dead.

      Rob Ford, dead.
      Patty Duke, dead.
      Chyna, dead.

      Prince, dead.
      Kimbo Slice, dead.
      Alvin Toffler, dead.

      It's almost like our beloved celebrities know what a shitstorm's coming and are checking out while the gettin's good.

      We'v
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Thursday July 28, 2016 @08:55AM (#52598613)

    I think it's fair to say that a STEM degrees are not easy to get.

    So why bother getting one, if you are just going to have your job offshored, or get replaced by a visa worker?

    If you really want more STEM workers: stop sending the message that are you going to stomp the crap out of them.

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