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Education

Should Teachers Get $100 For Steering Kids To Google's 'Hour of Code' Lesson? 89

Tomorrow's "Hour of Code" kick-off event features Melinda Gates, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and "multiple state governors," reports theodp -- who has some concerns. With Microsoft boasting that nearly 70 million of its Minecraft Hour of Code sessions have been launched, and tech companies pushing coding and their products into classrooms, it's probably no surprise that the 2017 Hour of Code -- organized by tech-bankrolled Code.org -- seems to have presented a too-hard-to-resist branding opportunity for Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.

And, in what might evoke memories of Dollars for Doctors, some teachers will even be rewarded for steering their kids to Google's Hour of Code lesson. "Thanks to our friends at Google," explains crowdfunding website DonorsChoose.org, "4th-8th grade public school teachers who engage their students in a 'Create your own Google logo' Hour of Code activity can earn a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift code -- and have the opportunity to receive one of five other grand prizes (including $5,000 in DonorsChoose.org credits for your school!)."

Should Teachers Get $100 For Steering Kids To Google's 'Hour of Code' Lesson?

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  • A Bribe?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But isn't the money spendable only on charities / non profits ? Doesn't seem like the teacher gets to just pocket that

      It would have been cool of the activity were something other than Google logo

      • Not relevant where it goes. It's already the teacher's job to encourage kid's interest. Funneling then towards a vendor specific product is not.
        • agreed and agreed, its gonna be irresistible however if there's prizemoney for the schools in it the head and misses heads will push their personnel anyway to do it in a lot of cases. I have not rtfa so i probably miss what "create a logo" has to do with coding unless they use ajax to render it or something vectorgraphics-ish but i think getting kids to understand the innards of the machine is quite important in the age of phoneboy-watch-me-swipe-so-cool, debatable but sponsored events always hold personal
  • by Ayano ( 4882157 ) on Sunday December 03, 2017 @05:42PM (#55669419)
    You're hooking teachers in for profit, possibly even pushing kids who don't want to perform this activity. If you want to get more 'coders' as this articles like to say, then advertise cool activities that they're familiar with.

    Making a simple smartphone app, quick, accessible, and they can show it off. It has cool factor for tweens all over it.
    Or perhaps a Tumblr or Wordpress page widgets and additions.

    Some of you might cringe, but this is what's hip for kids, and honestly it's a better lure than shaking money and the promise of karma at educators.
    • You're hooking teachers in for profit

      The teachers don't profit. They money goes toward classroom educational projects. For more information, read the summary.

      possibly even pushing kids who don't want to perform this activity.

      To qualify, the students have to complete the activity, and will likely learn something in the process.

    • You're hooking teachers in for profit, possibly even pushing kids who don't want to perform this activity

      ... have you ever been in a school?

      Teachers NEARLY work for free, but not quite. And "pushing kids to perform activities they don't want to do" is pretty much K-8.

      It's called "compulsory education" after all.

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Not here. According to Glassdoor, they're averaging close to $60k. That's above the national average household income, but then, this is a high cost of living area.

  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Sunday December 03, 2017 @05:45PM (#55669431)

    I'll be sure to direct my "students" to your thing if I can... Why shouldn't I figure out a way to game this system and make a few bucks?

    Now, where did I put that old Teacher ID I used to have to get all those discounts?

    I'm kidding, but you KNOW somebody will put aside their ethics and cash in if they can..

  • That depends. Is it okay if a pharmaceutical company gives doctors $100 for each kid they diagnose with ADHD? Is it okay if the porn business gives a teacher $100 for each student he/she convinces to go into porn?

    Let's make it slightly more ambiguous. What about if doctors got $100 for 'suggesting' an ADHD diagnosis and explaining how it would help the kid get extra teaching aid? What about if the teacher got $100 not for sending a student into porn, but for getting them to audition?

    Somewhere on that slope

  • Boys and girls: since the school district lowered my pay to basically zero in order to give more tax breaks and handouts to the ultra rich, we have had to alter the lesson plan a little bit.

    First period nutrition class will be: chocolate the wonder food sponsored by Hershey.
    Second period history will be: how bankers saved the old west sponsored by Wells Fargo.
    Third period science will be: Why everyone who believes in global warming is an idiot sponsored by Koch industries.

    Any questions?

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Fairfax County Public Schools Salaries

      Job Title
      "...my pay to basically zero..."...um, no. LMGTFY...

      Fairfax County Public Schools Salary

      Teacher, Elementary School $58,542
      High School Teacher $57,004
      English Teacher $59,622
      Math Teacher $53,629

  • How much should they get for selling their students into slavery to our corporate overlords? Because we're just haggling about the price.
  • Bribing teachers in an attempt to reduce wages by saturating a relatively expensive labor market which doesn't lend itself to college-level-indoctrination programs, thereby cutting costs in the long term while reducing the spending power of anyone who isn't a hopelessly brainwashed plebeian.

    I don't expect Google, Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon to not be evil, but it would be nice if they could at least be fined until they go bankrupt for trying this bullshit.

  • by imidan ( 559239 ) on Sunday December 03, 2017 @06:01PM (#55669509)

    First, the teachers don't get $100... they get a code that allows them to put $100 toward a crowdfunding project at DonorsChoose. So the money goes to a classroom project somewhere. I guess a teacher could apply the code to their own crowdfunding goal, but even then, the money doesn't just go into the teacher's pocket. Oh, and they don't get $100 per student, they get $100 if they get 10 students involved.

    Second, the 'grand prizes' are all classroom-oriented things, also.

    I've said before, I don't have a lot of confidence that the Hour of Code is that beneficial, and it certainly can have the flavor of corporate marketing in schools, but this is not exactly a major payola scandal that we're looking at here.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      First, the teachers don't get $100... they get a code that allows them to put $100 toward a crowdfunding project at DonorsChoose. So the money goes to a classroom project somewhere. I guess a teacher could apply the code to their own crowdfunding goal, but even then, the money doesn't just go into the teacher's pocket. Oh, and they don't get $100 per student, they get $100 if they get 10 students involved.

      Second, the 'grand prizes' are all classroom-oriented things, also.

      I've said before, I don't have a lot of confidence that the Hour of Code is that beneficial, and it certainly can have the flavor of corporate marketing in schools, but this is not exactly a major payola scandal that we're looking at here.

      My oldest child just started Kindergarden this year. There seem to be no end to various franchises and other entities who market through the teachers/school. Art classes, science classes, various robotic "competitions", etc. The letter always comes on school letterhead, doesn't have any prices mentioned, but the small print on the bottom says "this activity is not sponsored by the school, meetings are held at home or at 3rd party facility, etc". One of our gullible friends signed up for a science class

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Sunday December 03, 2017 @06:24PM (#55669555) Journal
    How much funding has been spent all over the USA over the past decades trying to educate generations of very average students?
    The computers, new math, new textbooks, robot kits, laptops, internet, e books, improved gui ready robot kits and experts?.
    Government demanding more from tax payers, public private partnership support, private sector support to try and get passing grades.
    Whats the result? Profits for people selling new products to help teachers try and educate.

    What would be a better way to use all that new educational support? Test the students in math and science. Find out who can study and get good grades.

    Take all that extra funding out of the school system and give it to the best students who can study.
    Show some ability to pass a test well? Get a full scholarship to a really good university as that person has the ability to actually study.
    All that new education funding can then be offered to a university to ensure the best students have what is needed for science and engineering.
    The below average students can be kept busy been supported learning business math, vocational education, art, sport, languages, history music.
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Sunday December 03, 2017 @11:35PM (#55670617) Homepage

      Thing is, the US is following the "great education experiment" that the Ontario Liberals just pulled up here in Canada. The results? Well it was female-centric methods of teaching, so here's what happened. Boys doing much worse in every area. Less then half of boys pass the standardized math and reading tests in G.6 and again in G.9. Girls on the other hand 70% passed. Dropouts are increasing. They pushed all of the "ebooks, new text books, chromebooks, etc, etc, etc." Dumped learning by rote and so on and it's been a gigantic clusterfuck.

      On the other hand, homeschooling is skyrocketing along with private schooling. I don't live in a rich town, the median income is around $42k/year(median ontario wage is $52k, though closer to $39k if you take Toronto out of the picture), but around half of my neighbors in this area have pulled kids out of school because they'd rather spend time making sure they get an education vs not being taught anything useful at all. Those home schooled kids are passing those standardized tests and coming out in the top 10% though.

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        I'm going to assume you're talking Canadian dollars, which makes this even worse, since the exchange rate is $.79, making that $42k C$ = $33k US

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Yeah now just think how far that $42k/year goes when you're paying $8/lbs for beef when it's not on sale for instance. There's going to be a massive market correction without a doubt coming, I saw my first ad for a 1900sqft house in town for $490k. Keep in mind that median wage too, that's an impossible sum for people making that much money to get 20% down on with the way things are.

  • by dirk ( 87083 ) <dirk@one.net> on Sunday December 03, 2017 @06:26PM (#55669567) Homepage

    The bigger issue is that teachers don't have the things they need to teach, so they might feel the need to do this strictly for the money. The teachers aren't actually getting $100 to take home and spend how they want, they are getting $100 that will got to school supplies. School supplies they often have to buy out of their own pocket for their classrooms. If this is something that bothers you, the solution is to make sure all schools and classrooms are properly funded and supplied. Then the teachers wouldn't need to try and get $100 to spend on supplies.

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      This is a popular argument parents make to squeeze more money out of others.

      In the vast majority of America, schools are funded through property taxes, unless the community is poor, then the state will kick in some money (see Abbott Districts in NJ [politifact.com] - the poorest communities collect so much aid they are among the highest-funded school districts in the state, and among the lowest performing), yet parents never petition for higher property taxes, they argue that unknown "others" need to pay more to educate the

      • It proved that charter schools, which operate with smaller budgets and less regulation perform better

        Of course they do! They don't have to take kids with disabilities, poor kids, or anyone that might drag down their scores. They cater to the parents with more money, and are yet another attempt at segregation, sucking money out of public schools now seeing an increasingly larger percentage of students who are poor and have disabilities.

        When you actually do a apples-to-apples comparison of how charter schools are doing, they don't look very good at all. When you ignore the above mentioned dynamics, they look

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      So, who should be blame for it, because we spend more on education than every other OECD country. Note, this reference is a couple years old, but still relevant.
      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u... [cbsnews.com]

  • Use your imagination. In a near future, students would train their own neural networks to deploy as personal robotic assistants in the real world. What could go right? Or wrong?
  • Dunno the details, but if I was a teacher with 6 classes of 30 students each then everydamnedone of them would be sent to this.
  • This seems like it would be a solved problem. Clearly, some law must some been written, I would guess, about a hundred years ago that prohibited teachers from advertising products/brands for profit to their students. I have never heard about a teacher being paid to be drinking a coke in every class, or for expounding the virtues of eating MacDonald's while studying. And I guarantee you that advertisers and many teachers would jump at that chance.

  • The going market rate for selling out a child's future is at least $500

  • It was considered a bad idea to have commercial interests set the academic agenda? It seems to me that after failing to convince school boards across the nation to add their pointless "hour of code" activity to their curriculum, Google is now going after individual teachers and overtly offering them cash to do so.

    I anticipate we'll see Exxon Mobil funding an "hour of climate studies" and Monsanto funding an "hour of genetics" if this is successful.

  • They need to stop this. They are trying to get the children hooked into their proprietary cloud service that they wont be able to escape from years later.

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