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NYC To Open 1st High School Dedicated To Software

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ferris-bueller-memorial dept.

Education 188

stephencrane writes "NYC is to open The Academy for Software Engineering, with a focus on software design and college preparation. It'll be a 'limited, unscreened' high school, which means admission won't be tied to grades or test scores; solely on interest (and presumably a lottery, once words gets out)." Would you want to go (or have gone) to such a school? Would you want your kids to attend?

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AC to open First Post dedicated to First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726850)

FIRST

How about a High School dedicated to learning? (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726866)

This sounds like a trade school. High School should be about learning how to think and process information. Once you've learned how to learn you can go on to learning a trade. Its bad enough so many schools are now about being able to pass tests.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1, Insightful)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726928)

How about a High School dedicated to learning?

You mean all of them? Including the one you seem to be complaining about.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726958)

My high school was dedicated to passing standardized tests. Learning was just an undesirable side effect that happened to anyone who happened to have a passing interest in the subject at hand.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (0, Troll)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727154)

So in other words you learned how to pass standardized tests. Glad we agree.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38728030)

Eeesh as a highschool senior attending what's considered to be one of the best highschools in the area, those two concepts aren't the same to me. It's very easy to pass the standardized tests without understanding the subject. I could also picture someone doing poorly on the standardized test for a subject while understanding the material very well. About half of my classes have great teachers who really want to help us learn, the other half not so much. When I try to ask my chemistry teacher why anything she has us learn happens, she informs me that it's because "that's the rule." Sure, that won't affect my grade on the midterm. I probably aced the midterm on it I took today, but I don't care about the midterm I'm already into multiple colleges and this class isn't required. I took this class because I wanted to learn chemistry, and she isn't very willing to help me do that. Not a huge deal, I have the internet and my dad has a PHD in chemistry, but it's a waste of 45 minutes of my time 5 days a week that could be spent actually learning.

My best class/teacher is multivariable calculus because the county has no standard curriculum for it. The teacher can spend more time in certain areas if he wants, and go quickly through others if he thinks we have it down. Frequently he'll realize that X concept would really aid our understanding of what we're doing, or just be interesting, and we'll go off on tangent for a few days learning about it. The teacher isn't disorganized, I've had him for math classes with stricter curriculums in the past, he just takes advantage of the situation and it's great. Of course, teachers like him will manage to teach well no matter the curriculum. Teachers like my chemistry teacher... well my chemistry teacher doesn't understand how cubic conversions work. I had to explain it. I'll leave it at that.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727194)

It didn't used to be like that until we decided that we had the worst educational system in the world. The obvious solution to which was more standardized testing and holding people back who didn't do well on the tests. Which is great, because I know if I have kids I'm going to be very concerned that they might have time to do actually studying in school.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727018)

If you were going to make me pick a trade in high school, it probably would have been visual art. Instead, in college I went from art to math to computer science. I would have missed out on so much by not going to a liberal arts college, and it amazes me that anyone would want to put blinders on their kids when they're that young and unformed. Don't make new specialty schools, make better all-around schools.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727532)

We need a mix of all kinds of schools for the mix of all kinds of people. It's just a matter of figuring our which kind of school to send a given kid.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (4, Interesting)

xero314 (722674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727886)

If you were going to make me pick a trade in high school, it probably would have been Software Engineering. Instead, in college I went from business to marketing to accounting, and then went into a career in Software Engineering. I wasted so much by going to a liberal arts college, and it amazes me that anyone would want to limit their kids ability to get detailed learning in a subject that interests them. Had I been exposed to Software Engineering earlier I would have realised my real interest were in hardware and IC design. Don't make more general schools, increase the options of specialisations.

I wasted half my life in the American education system. The education received in the United States is far to slow for a large number of people. Many of us were ready to specialise by our teen years. I had to be accepted into college before I graduated high school because I was unable to receive the necessary education, and I was not in away alone. The kind of general stuff you are talking about should be done in elementary school. There is no reason we shouldn't be able to have a system with specialised high schools for those that are ready for it.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727036)

This sounds like a trade school. High School should be about learning how to think and process information.

You don't explain why you believe these things to be mutually exclusive.

In most standard high schools, you are already able to sign up for classes on particular subjects--Computer Science, Music, Drama, etc. I see little difference between that and attending a school that focuses on particular subfields of a given industry. I would have enjoyed a computer-focused high school, as I spent most of my time on computers in high anyway, and I attended multiple computer classes. It's also an opportunity for shy computer nerds to feel like they can fit in, an environment that a normal high school doesn't always provide. Sadly, a terrible social experience in high school can impact an adult for decades.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727212)

Because this is what a trade school is, they educate people to take up some sort of trade. Many developed countries, at least in Europe have schools like this all over the place for students that aren't considered college material.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727422)

Yeah I know. Like my plumber. He went to trade school. He makes $240,000 a year. What a dummy!!! He should have been like me and spent years out of the work force studying ancient history, English literature, advanced math that is almost never used by anyone, for anything. Then he could teach information systems at a college like me and be making 20% of what he makes now.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727498)

Because this is what a trade school is, they educate people to take up some sort of trade. Many developed countries, at least in Europe have schools like this all over the place for students that aren't considered college material.

How will the big banks make tens of thousands of dollars of interest off government guaranteed student loans, if we admit that some kids should go to trade school instead of college? Sacrilege! All kids need to go to college and take out huge unrepayable loans...

Of course they could bump the tuition of our local 2yr trade school up from $1000/semester to $2500/semester so the kids and retrainees need lucrative (for the banks) loans... Oh wait, thats exactly what they've done! Brilliant!

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727678)

Bonch [slashdot.org] is a pseudonym/sockpuppet used to astroturf slashdot with posts backing up Microsoft's policies and to attack any point of view which isn't favourable to MS and supportive of their interests.

Here is a list of known MS shills on slashdot:

These accounts also engage in cooperative/supportive posts, to try to defend the karma hit that each account receives when their astroturfing covert efforts are blown.
See the followup posts to this message from a known MS shill [slashdot.org] , and check the replies which come out for support and try to counter avoi
d burning another account.

These accounts often post messages based on the the same script. For example, see this post from Overly Critical Guy [slashdot.org] and compare it to this post by bonch bonch [slashdot.org] .

http://waggeneredstrom.com/about/approach [waggeneredstrom.com]

Mod accordingly

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727882)

That is by definition a vocational school.
FTFA

4. It’s not a vocational school. Unlike traditional vocational schools, this new school will have a rigorous academic component and will prepare students for college. But college is not for everyone—many of the best programmers I know were just not interested enough in a general four year degree and went straight into jobs programming.

I love how they spin this as "not a vocational school", while still it's a school devoted to producing software engineers, which you would think the kids would be taught academia as well due to critical thinking, reasoning and general problem solving. No matter how they label it, it's a vo-tech++ of sorts.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727126)

It is a trade school. I went to one as well where you could get numerous trade school degrees in things like college preparatory, electronics, agriculture, etc. I got two diplomas when I graduated h.s. I thought most h.s. offered this type of education in general areas, but I guess not. There wasn't much special about it, just that your electives ended up being toward a certain program and you went to full days of classes unlike many that seniors barely go to class.

The only downside I saw was we were a county h.s. with no close access to a college to take college level courses as many h.s. seniors do.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727218)

Maybe back in the '60s and '70s or places that aren't America. But in America they've been focusing on getting students to college for so long that those sorts of programs have largely been dropped for lack of time and interest. Not to mention funding.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727360)

Eh, my HS in the 80s was a combination vocational and academic school, servicing 3 towns in Massachusetts. Academic kids could take vocational courses as electives if there was room, I did 1 year of Electrical shop. If I'd had the room in my schedule I would've done a semester in Auto shop too, to learn how to work on my car better.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727546)

Eh, my HS in the 80s was a combination vocational and academic school, servicing 3 towns in Massachusetts. Academic kids could take vocational courses as electives if there was room, I did 1 year of Electrical shop. If I'd had the room in my schedule I would've done a semester in Auto shop too, to learn how to work on my car better.

In the extremely early 90s I took what we called high school voc-tech drafting. That paid off big time over the course of my engineering career. Early drafting classes are all about learning what the correct symbol to use for a duplex outlet box, or the correct line type for architectural diagram of the data center, how to visualize blueprints in 3d, proper dimensioning, layout block standards, etc. I'm sure memorizing 1990s autocad would have been useless but I never "advanced" into those classes, so I only learned the useful stuff.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727880)

Same here, took some drafting classes and an electronics class and it paid off with my engineering degree (to a point).

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727866)

This was the 90's.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727528)

I took vocational electronics in HS (back in the day) and glad I did. Good prep for my programming career, probably better than "software engineering" in HS had they had it at the time.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727176)

That's ridiculous. Not every person can follow some ancient Greek ideal of higher thought.

There were plenty of doofuses that spent high school throwing a pencil at the kid in front of them. Trade school is good for them.

And back on topic, just because someone is good with computers does not make them automatically wired to go through the traditional liberal arts education routine. Some kids will thrive in a targeted environment like this.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727370)

Trade school is fine, but it can wait until after high school. Don't throw the cart before the horse

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727644)

High school was a waste of time(for me). I came from on of the higher(top 10%) ACT/SAT scoring schools in the nation and Soph/Jr/Sr was a joke. Like state paid baby sitting.

I knew I wanted to work with computers since I was ~11. I'm not saying everyone knows what they want to do, but in cases like mine, there should be alternatives.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727490)

There were plenty of doofuses that spent high school throwing a pencil at the kid in front of them. Trade school is good for them.

Now, that's highly unfair.

Not everyone who isn't going to go to university/college is a "doofus". I know loads of people who are very smart, but who had no interest in academia.

One of my friends has a son who is going to culinary school because he has no interest in going into tech like his dad. One of the smartest coders I know skipped university altogether, travelled the world, and taught himself to code. I also know at least one person who likely has a genius IQ, but who is a welder because he can't bear the thought of sitting at a desk and would rather work with his hands (and, likely has a little ADD to be honest).

I agree with everything else you say, and I concede there are doofuses ... but that doesn't mean trade school is their exclusive domain. As you say, a lot of kids will do far better in this kind of environment than the usual high school.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727630)

There were plenty of doofuses that spent high school throwing a pencil at the kid in front of them. Trade school is good for them.

Actually, no. Prison is a great place, or adult day care, or pumping gasoline, or McDonalds...

I did the 2-year voc tech telecom thing, to get a real job, which paid for my 4-year degree, etc etc a pull yourself up by your bootstraps approach.

The "throw the pencil at the kid in front of them" crowd didn't survive more than two months of AC/DC principles, although a couple shocked themselves during lab building half / full / bridge rectifier power supplies and several believed themselves nobel prize winners for inventing the smoke emitting diode while in class. The idiots all dropped out before the first midterm.

Now admittedly some of my fellow voc tech were not the most intellectual people you'd ever meet, I think I was the only student to ever pass thru the doors who "read books for fun" etc, but the truly anti-social types and the unmotivated idiots didn't last long.

Basically a 2-year voc tech telecom diploma was a 4-year EE minus 32 credits of liberal arts and minus most of the math. They taught us exactly what a class AB power amplifier was and crossover distortion etc, but I didn't get the mathematical Fourier analysis treatment of crossover distortion until EE type classes much later.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727794)

Of-course a real trade school would have real masters of trade teaching, and since masters of trade prefer to do trade, rather than to waste time teaching doofuses, there won't be any real masters in that 'trade school', which automatically means it won't be worth it.

The real way to do this is to allow apprenticeship to happen again, but this means that government would have to step out of the people's way. If somebody doesn't want to go to school, they must not be forced to. But then there must be no laws making it impossible for companies/people to hire apprentices, and this means hiring them without government interference in the employment and labour practices.

Literally this means that a company should be able to hire/fire apprentices and pay them whatever (0 to any amount) without government interference.

You can't have apprentices that are not actually learning from real masters of the trade, and you can't have masters of the trade teaching anybody if it's a liability and an expense on their part.

It's all about making it beneficial for both sides - the kids and the employers to come together to some form of an agreement - I teach you this and this and this over such a period of time, you get paid this small amount and as you learn something you can get paid more, maybe you have to sign that you will work for the company for no less than say 5 years, so you can't quit until that time is over, but maybe you will be fired anyway.

But this comes with territory - you want to learn actually to do something as a trade - you have to be willing and reliable and initiative, nobody is there to make your life easier all of a sudden, you have to work.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727942)

Of-course a real trade school would have real masters of trade teaching, and since masters of trade prefer to do trade, rather than to waste time teaching doofuses, there won't be any real masters in that 'trade school', which automatically means it won't be worth it

Having been there, and obviously met many "masters of trade" while there, most of them were frankly handicapped or had more of a "parental" or "teacher" personality than the stereotypical psychopath "manager" personality, so in an "up or out" company they got the "out". Or they ran their own business into the ground, in which case I wouldn't take entrepreneur classes off them, but they were expert techs. Or they had "family problems" and thats the end of 60 hour work weeks, hmm, here is a nice 30 hour per week teaching gig... Or stress problems, doc says chill out or die, hmm maybe I'll calmly lecture about dBmV vs dB vs dBmW till I die hopefully much further in the future. Handicapped doesn't necessarily mean you're missing a leg, but includes things like back problems that eliminate ability to stand, hearing problems, vision problems... You can become a master electrician around age 30, but the average age of my instructors was probably about 60.

The intense ageism thing we have going in C.S and here on /. doesn't really apply in the real world outside of C.S. Supposedly something biochemical happens such that a guy over the age of 25 could never dream of learning Ruby, but vo-tech people seem to learn new stuff well into their 80s, so...

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727812)

Right, but at the highschool level you don't want to overspecialize. One of the great strengths of education comes from what you can do if your job disappears. If all you know how to do is be a brake mechanic, and they suddenly reinvent breaks (say a switch from mechanical to electrical brakes) you're stuck back at job training. If you know absolutely nothing about electricity, because you started this career as a brake mechanic at age 13, you've got a lot of catching up to do.

The earlier you start that narrow specialization the more difficult it is to fix if something radically changes in the industry. I'm all for more software development in high school, but there is a point of 'too much'. Especially in something like software, where you might be called upon to do physics, math, business, or god knows what, you need to have some idea what those other areas are, so you at least have some concept of how they're all connected to the problem you're trying to solve. Imagine if you get a job in a game studio out of this programme (and then a university degree in something like SE or CS), and that company wants to make a WW2 fighter pilot game. Well you don't really know anything about the physics of flight, and all these people in the office who keep talking about the Big E and Zeros are just completely baffling. Oh and you have no idea where the Philippines are, and what that has to do with Japan.

There's only so much time you can meaningfully spend teaching someone anything. If you go to a 4 year highschool programme on programming, well, you're going to either be at a 2nd or 3rd year level of university, or you're going to have spent 4 years learning super basic stuff over and over, which doesn't do any favours. Especially if they go on into SE or CS and find they've done 60 or 70% of the course material already. Then you've just wasted a bunch of their time.

Admittedly, everyone's idea of what base exposure to information everyone should have is going to be different, but I tend to think a broad education until you're about 16 is a good idea. Focusing on getting people into the workforce as software developers at 18 or 19 poses serious problems to their ability to meaningfully participate in anything outside of some very narrow problem areas. You don't really want these guys to graduate, work for 10 or 15 years, find out that suddenly the industry has completely changed, and they don't have the skills to do anything else, nor do they even know what else they might want to do, because they've spent the last 15 years writing php and SQL.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727258)

This sounds like a trade school. High School should be about learning how to think and process information.

Well, let's face it ... not everybody is going to go to university. Nor should they be expected to.

A high-school that focuses on a specific trade is at least trying to ensure that they're teaching the kids something they can use. Because, it's entirely possible that nothing they'd learn in history class is going to help them get jobs.

Trade schools at least recognize that not all of us are (or want to be) academics. It's more beneficial to ensure that these people are still getting an education that is of use to them than it is to discourage them and lead them to drop out.

Why does there need to be a "one size fits all" approach to schooling? Better to help them get somewhere better than being a high-school drop-out with no trade than to assume they should all be taught stuff they're not interesting in/don't have the aptitude for.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (2)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727412)

This sounds like a trade school.

Unless you read the article.

4. It's not a vocational school. Unlike traditional vocational schools, this new school will have a rigorous academic component and will prepare students for college.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727436)

Well I guess it is a trade school, though just software engineering seems a little limited in scope compared to other trade schools which usually offer a variety of trades. With time you might see some parts of the high tech world become more like traditional trades. I'm sure there will still be demand for advanced CS and Software Engineering degrees but don't you think some of the tech jobs out there could be done by someone who went to a trade high school to learn those skills. There are certainly self taught software developers working these days. A focused high school education could be a good choice for someone with a knack for technology but isn't likely to go on to a university either because of financial limitations or personal preference.

That said, I don't think I would send a child to a school like that if I thought they could go to college for software. I do believe a general education is more valuable but its not for everyone.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

apcullen (2504324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727516)

This sounds like a trade school.

That was precisely my first thought! But I disagree with your conclusion. Some kids used to go to trade schools and become plumbers or carpenters and go out to make a decent wage. Others would start their own plumbing business or become developers and create jobs for the economy (and grow wealthy in the process)

In the same way, I think a school like this will produce a lot of code monkeys who make a decent wage for some heartless corporation that will someday be ripped apart by Bain Capitol, but others might create the next microsoft and make america a little bit better than it was. I don't think you need a college degree to learn to code. And I think high schools could teach one how to "think and process information" using a curriculum that featured programming as readily as it could using one that features math, english, and science.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727984)

Just so you are aware, you don't need a college degree to learn anything, but in general if you wish to do something with that knowledge there are a lot of companies that want that piece of paper.

Thats a bit LATE anyway (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727534)

I would think that preschool- 2nd grade should be focused on learning how to learn then 3rd-7th should be getting the basics down 8th and 9th we deal with the non-core stuff and then 10th-12th we start with this kind of Focused Learning.

(btw i would have Businesses and the Military do some "shopping" late in the 9th grade to get kids going to Jobs that they can be great at)

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

an_orphan (1918548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727748)

I didn't learn how to learn until late into my master's studies... I was near the top of the class in one of the best public high schools in Georgia. I would have very much more enjoyed a school like this.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727806)

I agree with this, also given the current state of education here I shudder to think what kinds of software engineer hopefuls this school would churn out.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727838)

Hi Kenja,

In principle I agree. However, high school is FAR too late to learn how to think and process information. Both of my kids had a pretty solid grasp on this by early elementary school. At some point kids need to learn the practical building blocks toward a career as well, and High School is fine for the.

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Zenin (266666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727972)

Once upon a time high schools (and heck, jr high schools) most ALL offered strong shop/trade classes. Metal shop, wood shop, auto shop, etc. For some it was just "broadening their education", but for many it was/is an e-ticket to the American middle class.

A good auto mechanic or machinist will make as much as a good software engineer. And they'll start working right out of high school...without 4 years of college debt. Most will never catch up in their lifetime.

American education decided a few decades ago that it's either college or skid row, there is no in-between. And we slashed trade skill funding faster then anything else. Any class that wasn't somehow "college prep" was cut.

Never mind that there were (and in many fields still are) a TON of solid middle class careers that do not benifit from the college education model. Apprenticeships were the model for many jobs for hundreds or thousands of years. Many we've now tried to shoehorn into the college system, often with laughable results. For example, for a live theatre technician someone who's spent 4 years in college training vs someone who's spent 4 years in the real world right out of high school, effectively puts the college graduate 2-3 years behind AND in serious debt.

This insanity of forcing everyone and every career into college (or be dammed to welfare) is the #1 thing that has KILLED the middle class in America. For every 1 person that it has propelled above middle class, it has doomed 100 to below middle class servitude.

At the same time it has caused a lot of inflation across the board, as those college graduates living under massive college debt for years, must pass the cost of paying that debt onto their employers/customers. TINSTAAFL

Re:How about a High School dedicated to learning? (1)

Zenin (266666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727992)

...woops

This "Most will never catch up in their lifetime." was meant to go after this, "For example, for a live theatre technician someone who's spent 4 years in college training vs someone who's spent 4 years in the real world right out of high school, effectively puts the college graduate 2-3 years behind AND in serious debt."...

Surprisingly probably not (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726886)

I think I would have jumped at the opportunity when I was in school.

However, looking back, I don’t think it would have been a great idea. I’ve said it many times, but if left to my own devices, I would have spent most of my free time glued to a computer. As it stood I had a few non-computer geek friends who would figuratively drag me out of my basement every once in a while and looking back, I had a lot of fun.

Maybe I would be a slightly better programmer .. but I think I would have missed out on a lot of important experiences, and more practically, development of social skills (which I’ve found are becoming more important as I’ve progressed through my career).

In other words, diversity in peers is a good thing. Not having to “deal with” people who are outside of your interests and being surrounded by like minded individuals may sound great, but that kind of narrow focus so early on just sounds like a bad idea.

Re:Surprisingly probably not (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727060)

I think I would have jumped at an opportunity like this at the time, but I also am not sure it would have been a good thing.

I went to a fairly small private school K-8, so my speech impedament automatically barred me from the in crowd. I went from an 8th grade class of 14 to a 9th grade class of ~800; since I bowled, did boy scouts etc I knew a few people, but participating in marching band also helped. I eventually was moderately popular; I never belonged to any one group; I dressed preppy, but was welcome in the anti-preppy crowd. I once had a cheerleader ask me out. I dated a model for awhile (odd story there; we actually met online first). Its not a time I would want to re-visit, but since my daughter was born when I was 18, its minimized my regrets. I did most of the things I might have wanted to do while I was young; some like traveling more or even working outside the US for a couple years, I obviously never did, but its made me care a lot less about what others think because I got out of life what I wanted. Now I just need to keep a career so I can support my family.

Re:Surprisingly probably not (2)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727086)

Valid points, but on the other hand, I think a lot of students who would feel alienated in a normal high school might feel like they could fit in here and have a superior social experience.

Re:Surprisingly probably not (5, Interesting)

f0rdpr3fect42 (1866122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727140)

So I went to a similar school to this back when I was in high school, but the focus was general engineering vs. a specific focus like programming. I don't feel like I missed out on any social development or (as some might fear) academic variety as a result. The school, much like this one, had to meet state curriculum requirements, so the specialization was more like one class a year and then slightly more focused electives later on.

Socially, we still had a good mix of people. Sure, it wasn't as rich or diverse a group of personalities as I would've encountered my normal high school, but I'd petition that this actually helped me develop my personality far more than the standard experience would have. I think being around so many like minded people let me comfortably act like myself for the first time in my academic career. I was less afraid of ridicule for personality quirks that, in hindsight, really weren't that big a deal to begin with. I didn't exactly cut myself off from the rest of the world, either. I still interacted with folks from my middle school days outside of school time and stayed involved in my home high school's extracurricular music program to help maintain those ties.

Meanwhile, during all of this, I developed a simple set of skills that helped me adapt to college more quickly than many of my peers and, I feel, left me more prepared for what was expected of me. I have mild concerns that this school could be too focused too early, but I don't think that the diversity will be as big an issue as you believe.

India? (0, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726914)

Where in India is "NYC"? Isn't that where all the software jobs are?

I would think the worst possible place to compete with a country having a cheap cost of living would be in one of the most expensive cities in the world, so I hope they aren't talking about new york city, new york state...

Would you want your kids to attend?

Heck no, my generation is the last one to get a domestic programming job. Kind of like coal miners don't let their kids become coal miners.

Re:India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727110)

No, mine is!
That is a silly and unsubstantiated argument. The current demand for qualified junior developers is as high as ever. May be not dot com levels, but there is a steady stream of demand.

Re:India? (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727186)

Demand, yes. Real jobs, no.

Re:India? (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727400)

Or jobs that pay well....

Re:India? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727700)

Oh, I've seen jobs for BSCS grads. Pulling cat-5 cable for $8/hr (union electricians can do it, but want $30/hr), helpdesk replacing broken keyboards for $9/hr... Just awesome.

Re:India? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727816)

What should we steer our kids into? I don't know of any remaining "sure fire" careers other than medical / dental. Even there, price pressure is (finally) starting to control salaries and kill off independent practice, and in 10-20 years the bulge in medical care demand will subside as the boomers die off.

Most good careers require 6-10 years of post-highschool education, and predicting that far out is a very uncertain business.

Re:India? (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727842)

I would just like to point out that Joel Spolsky in NYC is claiming that there is a weeping abyss needing a huge number of software engineers. Which is pretty damned hard to rationalize, but that's the argument:

"OMG do we ever need more software engineers. The US post-secondary education system is massively failing us: it’s not producing even remotely enough programmers to meet the hiring needs of the technology industry. Not even remotely enough." [FTA]

One thing's for sure (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726948)

It'll be a sausage fest of geeks with bad enough social skills. How about we through in some poisonous snakes and asbestos insulation since we're going to torture these kids?

Re:One thing's for sure (2)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727038)

But low on bullies and crack-head kids maybe?

Re:One thing's for sure (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727682)

Mod parent up! I was in a special program for gifted kids in high school, and while a lot of the parents were concerned that we were too "cut off" from the general population (we didn't follow the regular school schedule; we spent the bulk of the day in the same classroom and teachers came to us, and our curriculum was obviously accelerated, among other differences) but honestly, all it really did was cut us off from the distractions.

When I moved to a new school after my junior year (yay army brat) they did not have a program similar to this, and because I had already met a lot of the graduation requirements (but not enough to actually graduate early, nor a work study program) I ended up taking 2 core curriculum classes and 5 electives my senior year and it was almost torture being held back to the pace of the lowest common denominators in the class. I spent more time quietly reading a book by myself than actually participating a lot of the time; my grades were always good, my assignments were always done on time, but I just did not need a week to cover a concept that I had already assimilated in 2 days. Consequently, 3/5 of the time I could have been learning ahead, I instead read pop fiction. It was either that or stare at the wall and/or doodle.

Socially, I was even more cut off being in the "general population", because instead of being in a class of 30 kids that shared my interests and were learning at the same level I was, I was in a class with about 5 other people I could relate to, 20 people that were basically just running out the clock until they could go home, and 5 criminals that really shouldn't have even been there if attendance wasn't compulsory. It was pretty miserable...

Re:One thing's for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727364)

How about learning English?

Ugh...no... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726964)

"college preparation"

So, more standardized testing that does absolutely nothing to actually prepare you for college?
If I was still in school, the only reason I'd try to switch over to this one is if they cut that BS.

Why focus so narrowly? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726970)

I don't understand focusing so narrowly on software engineering which really isn't that difficult.

High school and college are times to learn the best that has been thought and said, to become a full person who's in contact with civilization; it's not a job training program. You're supposed to read the Western canon, get a foundation for higher math, learn what people are like and how the world works from reading history, play sports, and even socialize.

Computers are interesting but they just aren't that hard (and you know it, too).

Re:Why focus so narrowly? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727078)

I don't understand focusing so narrowly on software engineering which really isn't that difficult.

Don't confuse sweatshop web monkey with software engineer. They are entirely distinct disciplines with the latter having nothing to do with HTML5/JavaScript powered LOL cat animations.

Re:Why focus so narrowly? (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727098)

Computers are interesting but they just aren't that hard (and you know it, too).

Don't necessarily agree with that (it's still something you can spend a lifetime trying to progress our use and understanding of), but I do agree with the general point of your post. High school is about bringing everyone to a basic common level and primarily about social development. University is about becoming more well rounded, specializing in some areas, and yes, _some_ job training. This proposed school sounds more like replacing high school with a trade school .. which that early on.. sounds like a bad idea.

Re:Why focus so narrowly? (1)

undeadbill (2490070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727470)

I thought that was K through 8? At least, that is what my kid is doing in K-8...

My thought is that high schools should be providing a foundation for starting an apprenticeship *or* a basis for entering college. I feel that high schools have been dumbed down to a role that isn't very functional for our society. Shop, basic drafting and engineering, and other trade skills (including basic IT certification training) offer excellent opportunities to integrate learning and life skills, and also provide an opportunity to qualify for a junior level position or as an apprentice carrying a union card. I have no problem with a high school that focuses on integrating education with a goal of being employable as, say, a junior java developer, upon receiving a high school diploma, and I wish more school districts would spend the time and effort to provide the level of education that had been a standard in the past.

Not everybody needs to go to college. Most software "engineers", and IT people in general, don't need a college degree. I say this with about 8 years of college under my belt, AND having done an apprenticeship out of high school- a sole college prep focus is not needed, and can even make it harder on students to matriculate into the real world where they will likely be working to pay for that college diploma. College prep is desirable for some (who have parents who can pay for their kid's college costs), yes, but not needed for most. I'd prefer high schools not confuse the two.

First school where abstinence education will work. (5, Funny)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726978)

Just sayin.

Re:First school where abstinence education will wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38728042)

I wouldn't quite say that, but I do doubt that pregnancy will be a problem.

Football (1)

XCDBFPL (846367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726982)

I bet they will have a very good football team.

Whats the use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727040)

Apparently computer code is patentable in the U.S.. I would prefer to see my kids build successful carrers for themselves rather than be some corporate slave code monkey.

Stupid gimmicks (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727042)

Like this is going to actually do much to raise the bar in NYC, a school system notorious for having "teachers" who are shut up in a room doing nothing, pulling down six figure salaries because union rules don't let the government fire them. You want to fix things? How about a combination of privatization and allowing public (government!) schools to actually fire teachers and much more easily release "problem kids." By problem kids I mean:

1. Disruptive behavior.
2. Unwillingness to do work.
3. Mommy and daddy have a habit of terrorizing the the teachers and administration when they don't get their way.

Re:Stupid gimmicks (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727488)

Name a high school teacher in a non-private institution making a six figure salary.

Re:Stupid gimmicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727790)

I am not a teacher. I know some.

You are right about parents being a problem. The culture has changed greatly over the years; its not the bad teachers that are the big problem its the societal changes.

I would say the 2nd biggest problem is how polls showed increased importance of education to voters. This turned our broken political system's attention over to education. The system is so broken that any issue is better off not having their interest. The teachers union doesn't have half the influence it once had (when things were considered better and probably were overall) yet today we hear more scapegoating of them than ever. No surprise because politics is a perception game and loves distractions and shifts blame better than an incompetent manager.

I would like to see proof of six figure teachers. I do not believe it. Teachers are not payed well and are hardly respected better than a day care provider. If they work for life, then they make good wages but it takes 20 years to get there and after 30 the system is trying to kick them out the door no matter how great they are. Their pensions are good but then you'd think they'd be safe since those are privatized investment funds taken from their wages; but no, people resent that they have a nice job benefit that Americans used to have. (Instead of getting upset over workers getting screwed more every year they get upset at those who were screwed least; because they had an 'evil' union defending them. You have to admire who ever figured out how to sell that one...)

People (and by extension politicians) are suckers for Utopian dreams. If you have something that works well you would be wise to not tinker with it; if you do, you do it carefully and be limited in scope.

Some kids need to flunk. A few kids need a beating. Some kids need a psychologist... actually, a lot of kids do... Some need to be TAKEN AWAY from their incompetent parents. Oh, and don't forget most marriages end up in divorce today and BOTH parents work and the TV/game/internet are the 3rd parent (which lowers attention span) and the junk food noticeably impacts their behavior... Modern Americans never take responsibility for their actions; even obvious things result in way too much childish argumentative "cleverness" like everybody thinks its ok to act like an unethical lawyer politician. I'm not just talking about how parents push around school districts with threats of lawsuits but how they excuse their incompetence or by extension their own child's flaws. Their brats can't be criticized. Sure there are cases of bad teachers; but those rare cases are used as excuses to cover for every other problem. Some "bad" teachers are just not effective for you or your brat and are in reality not bad teachers. Every brat is different and so is every teacher and as long as we don't strive to make it into a uniform system your brat will have some good and bad ones. If you make it uniform you will be upset when your brat doesn't fit into the monoculture and every teacher is "bad".

The "FIXES" we have been doing for decades are worse than the problems we claim to be solving. BTW, most the influential computer scientists did not have personal computers (some had no computer at all.) Actual science done in these areas goes completely ignored; if you think global warming science has a rough time.... try science where there is never long term majority agreement.

You go ahead and send your brat to Walmart school, where you'll be a happy customer as your kid is trained to be a worker drone and consumer. Private corporations are only for profit. Non profits have some potential... The problem is that an education is not easily measured; sadly, the politicians and the public like simple statistical summaries which NEVER reflect the reality well enough. (Plus people inside such systems easily hack the system to their own benefit or survival. You do it yourself and probably don't even realize because its so simple; like taking a sick day off work when you are not sick, its a no brainer hack of the system. ) Private contractors, monopoly contractors are HUGE HUGE magnets for corruption and difficult to repair. Private / Public deals usually are almost as bad.

The biggest system wide thing the USA could do is to federalize school funding with no strings attached; a per-student based fund for states. federal income taxes rise; local property taxes fall a lot. Some states would be stupid about it can't avoid that... However, today many school systems are underfunded and the low property tax areas are usually easily assessed as doing worse. If you made them all equal; that would make more difference than any initiative in the last 50 years (simply because the really poor ones would rise up so much; maybe they could afford hire literate teachers...) Not that this would happen for many reasons; 1 of which is that down south in some areas the white kids went private following forced integration and property taxes were greatly lowered.... and the situation hasn't changed even though there is no longer a KKK out there organizing it; the resistance won't be purely racist today but I'd expect one hell of a fight regardless.

Re:Stupid gimmicks (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727808)

"NYC, a school system notorious for having 'teachers' who are shut up in a room doing nothing, pulling down six figure salaries because union rules don't let the government fire them."

Union rules permit teachers to be fired -- you just have to show a reason for it. Administrators (PHBs) are such poor stewards of the institution, and so poorly incentivized to care, that they find it easier to put teachers they don't like in a "dummy" room and not bother with the termination procedure.

I've found that fellow teachers are a lot more critical of my work (in a constructive way) than any non-teaching administrator. Case studies show that when made part of the process, union teachers are a lot more aggressive in wanting to fire bad teachers than administrators are.

If you convert union teaching into at-will employment, then the end result will be no one with experience over age 40, because administrators will let them all go as soon as they can hire someone younger at a lower bottom-line cost. And more CYA behavior, less advocating for students, for lack of job security. A lot like the non-unionized software engineering industry today.

No, and no. (2)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727142)

School that lets kid take a wider range of math and science courses, and potentially more advanced "computer science"? Sure. School devoted to "software design"? No thanks. The focus is too narrow. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd want my kid surrounded by kids whose interest (or whose parents' interest) in "software design" (at age 13) is so strong that they'd attend a school devoted solely to it.

reminds me of the Louis C. K. line... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727158)

Technical high schools are where instead of saying "kids, there are an infinite number of things you can do with your life", instead they say "there are like eight things you can do".

No, and no way. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727162)

I would not send my kids to this school. I would not even encourage them to go into software, at least not until employers start respecting software and IT more and quit lowballing on pay, and great a better working environment.

Re:No, and no way. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727286)

BTW, my oldest is really bright in math. Out of high school he already knows the full drill with calculus and differential equations. He even learned linear algebra on his own. But he didn't go to college. He now makes almost twice what I do running machines to drill for Marcellus shale gas.

Second oldest is prepping for law school, even though at the moment I know more law than he does.

Business respects those who are money motivated. Geeks seem to take whatever computer job they can get regardless of the pay (if there is even any pay at all). So no respect in business for geeks. I don't want them to go that way.

Re:No, and no way. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727732)

Second oldest is prepping for law school, even though at the moment I know more law than he does.

Prepare for him to move back into the basement after graduation... placement rates are worse than C.S. if you can believe that.

Maybe its not too late to switch over to forensic accounting or something like that?

Bad idea (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727174)

3 big reasons:
1. The last thing a geeky student needs is a school full of nobody but geeks, leaving them completely unprepared to deal with all the non-geeks of the world. Those non-geeks are also known as bosses, possible lovers, friends, family, etc.

2. Education should make someone capable of doing more than just their jobs. A software developer benefits from reading Shakespeare, learning about the American Civil War, or studying Spanish or French or German or another language.

3. Massive gender imbalance.

Re:Bad idea (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727298)

So we seperate the Alphas and the Betas in society, and create our perfect Utopia!

Re:Bad idea (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727302)

I keep seeing points like these made throughout the Slashdot thread, but aren't those all the common, basic traits of engineering colleges/universities? So where's the difference?

Re:Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727654)

The difference is that a wide range of knowledge, and common sense, needs to be laid down for children/teenagers. High school should focus on a broader range of topics, although I don't think standardized testing is the answer.

English classes should not be so someone can recite every monologue in Hamlet per se, but rather have solid writing/reading comprehension skills instead. History courses might seem useless, but how else can you gain an understanding of how politics should work vs how they actually tend to work in the real world?

Focused colleges/universities are great for in-depth knowledge on engineering, technology, etc. I'm in a depth-based major right now, in a focused college, and I would absolutely share my experience with anyone interested, or try to raise my kids' interest in this type of program when the time came.

Additionally, in most households the choice of college is the student's decision - if they want to attend at all. I don't think parents or kids should be narrowing in until that point. The average college student changes majors 4 times... What will happen to the kid who enrolls in this type of school, and then wants to be an art/english/whatever major by the time they're done? Or, worse yet, earlier? I sense remediation courses, and possibly unnecessary ridicule for this poor kid when they transfer back into a traditional learning setting...

Re:Bad idea (1)

stewbee (1019450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727642)

3. Massive gender imbalance.

This just got me thinking a bit. While it is true that in industry that there are more men than women in SW engineering, EE, and ME. I almost wonder if it isn't a bit self fulfilling. Girls can be good at math and science, but when they get to a certain age I feel that they are discouraged from pursuing those types of careers. I would guess that most of that comes at young age from peer pressure of friends and the desire to be accepted by others in their 'formative years'. That is not to say that there aren't societal pressures too, but I don't think it's as important as the more localized pressure of friends and classmates.

Because of this desire to fit in or be accepted, they down play their intelligence and other innate gifts that might be considered abnormal to their friends. I would think that a school like this could be helpful to attracting girls who are interested in math and science (I know the article is for SW, but I am being more general) but not feel pressured to play dumb to appease their friends. In an environment with other like-minded individuals, you give the person more of a chance to be themselves.

One other factor to the gender imbalance that I thought of is that most girls probably don't have a good female role model that is any of these fields. I envision it playing out something like this. Girl is good in math/science. Girl gets picked on/teased for being smart. Girl has no parent/role model to provide support for being smart. Girl succumbs to peer pressure to play 'dumb' in math/science. Girl looses interest in math/science.

Note that "Joel" is involved with this. (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727208)

The "Joel on Software" guy is involved with this, so he's plugging an activity of his own.

There's no programmer shortage. Businesses want "just in time" employees with exactly the skill set they need this week. Then they whine when they have to pay market rate for them. They're not willing to retrain their own people, or hire competent people with related skill sets and send them to training classes. Anyone who's competent in at least two programming languages can learn a third in a few months.

(Actually, the headache today is learning APIs. Everything seems to come with an API with hundreds to thousands of functions, some of which work, some of which sort of work, and some of which don't work at all. The documentation usually consists of examples rather than a reference manual. Worst case, it's a wiki.)

Re:Note that "Joel" is involved with this. (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727320)

(Actually, the headache today is learning APIs. Everything seems to come with an API with hundreds to thousands of functions, some of which work, some of which sort of work, and some of which don't work at all. The documentation usually consists of examples rather than a reference manual. Worst case, it's a wiki.)

Indeed. Learning a new language is generally trivial. It's learning the tool stack and community around the language that is hard.

A c++ programmer can move to Java pretty fast.. but becoming familiar with the whole "enterprise stack" takes time.. especially because as you said, there is often a right and wrong way to do things (or in some cases wrong and less-wrong)... and these may not be intuitive, requiring a background of previous experience and failures.

Re:Note that "Joel" is involved with this. (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727374)

To venture even further off-topic.. I'll say that my biggest frustration with Java wasn't so much the large frameworks and tools.. as the foreign and pedantic vocabulary around them. Stuff like EJB is straight forward(ish), but you have to learn EJB-speak first. Maven isn't a build tool, it's a "project comprehension tool".. and naturally there is no build script, but a "project object model" definition.. and it's not templates, it's "archtypes". *starts frothing*

Re:Note that "Joel" is involved with this. (1)

Sleuth (19262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727344)

APIs... no kidding. I hear you on that. Who needs a language anymore?

Re:Note that "Joel" is involved with this. (1)

an_orphan (1918548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727906)

isn't a language just a turing machine API?

Worth a try (2)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727216)

The more educational choices parents have for their kids the better.

What about creating good citizens? (2)

ravenscar (1662985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727224)

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that people are starting to figure out (at attempt to remedy) the fact that the U.S. is falling far behind in Math and the Sciences. Still, I'm concerned about a crop of young people reaching voting age without at least a basic understanding of History, Government, and Literature. After all, these people will reach voting age around the time they wrap up their studies in secondary school. Shouldn't they at least have a basic understanding of the duties of citizenship before they venture into the world and take on those new responsibilities?

I also understand that not all students can pursue post-secondary education and that they should leave secondary school with at least a start on what it takes to get a decent paying job in today's competitive environment. Still, I wonder if hard knowledge (being able to write a simple program in C# for example) is better than a thirst for learning and the tools to pursue that thirst. I can tell you that I would rather hire someone who really wants to learn and knows how than someone who can do some simple programming. After all, both are going to need to learn a ton before they're really ready to contribute in an enterprise environment. My money is on the person that shows a knack for the learning part. I wish more companies would value that desire when it comes to people entering the workforce.

Two sides to a coin (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727236)

Coding has been around for about half a century now, and this is a first on a hs level I think... but... what about doctors, scientists, and other higher education professions, why no hs for them? Coding requires a certain thinking ability, everybody has it, but it seems to be developed at different levels. I dunno why they singled it out though, what about the hs experience? Coders tend to not make very good football players, women? sparse and unfortunate to the stereotype, mostly undesirable. Hs is as much about personal growth and development as it is about learning something useful. I get the desire to produce highly talented coders and to get kids started early on them, but this may be a bit much. I'd rather see cisco and java/.net offered as part of the existing hs curriculum in a consistent manner, than dedicated schools that are devoted to the trade.

Also... say the school is unable to replicate the hs experience? We'd be pushing kids out into college / work force w/o proper social skills. Virginia Tech anyone?

Segregating Students (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727242)

Hopefully this really isn't so narrowly defined that a solid general education isn't provided. It might turn out kids that can code but would make for poor software engineers. It's essential that you understand the user as well as the problem domain and how they operate within it. That's a skill that would be very much hindered by hanging out in such a mono-culture.

However, I doubt they really mean for this school to be 90% math and computer science. It's an interesting experiment that may actually prove useful. Too often in secondary schools the "bad" students will wield an undue influence over the effective education of what would otherwise be "good" students. This comes in the form of peer pressure to be a deadbeat (intelligence discrimination), classroom disruption, etc.. By segregating students that actually care, want to and are motivated to pursuit a career in software development from the "losers" these "good" kids might actually stand a chance to get a decent if not quality education.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727244)

I like the idea of unscreened entry, I had to fight to take what few classes that were available in High School. I currently work as a professional programmer, and have no formal education. Also every college has some BS requirements to get a degree, how does a foreign language relate to programming?

College is more about making money, not learning...

okay, let's work it through (1)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727254)

Suppose you were to graduate from such a high school.

Who would hire you, and assuming you were able to get an entry-level position, what would your career prospects be?

Assuming you had your sights set on higher education, what would your chances of getting into a decent college be like?

I'd be pessimistic.

Finally (1)

purgedhalo (804288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727296)

One word: Hogwarts.

On a serious note, the City has numerous other specialized high schools; it's great that they're finally creating one for coders. My wife attended the School for the Performing Arts, which was also highly focused, and full of music / acting geeks.

Re:Finally (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727818)

what they should do is have some of the courses "traded" with the Performing Arts School

I would think that having to program Lights and other FX for a Dance Team would be a good way to learn how to do Real Time stuff.
(plus i would bet that geeks would be happy to have an excuse to hang around the Performing Hall)

NYC doesn't do 'trade schools' (1)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727308)

People seem to be arguing towards their own internalized assumptions and recollections about what trade schools used to be. (And if not that, then they're arguing over what they dislike about most state and national education priorities, and making this announcement into a target for all their education-related agita.) The fact of the matter is, there are no real trade schools. When they talk about college prep, they're ultimately talking about AP courses and college writing. I've been to a number of high schools in the city, in the 80s, 90s and today, and what vestiges of 'trade school instruction' were still lying around by 1990 are at worst on the periphery. This would be an environment like any new high school, except they'll offer a dozen elective (and maybe 3 or so selective) courses pertaining to software and computer design. It's not an Apex Tech. There may be ancient metal and wood shop classes still around, but whether the've been replaced with C++ and ergonomic design, it hardly adds up to a true traditional trade school.

I went to a technology oriented school. (1)

devbrent (2452610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727480)

I went to Clark Advanced Learning Center (a made for dual enrollment technology high school) back in 2004. We were all provided laptops by the school and we could choose to get an AA or AS degree when we graduated. I had the option to become CNA certified, Adobe certified, among many other certifications offered. We always had access to the latest software for learning and in addition we had a HD production studio complete with a handful of beast desktops for video editing. I would say that aside from us being guinea pigs so far as giving an entire high school laptops, that it was a positive experience for me. The downsides were related to students who didn't care to learn wasting their time playing games (at any given moment there were 40-80 students playing counter-strike over LAN). There were also some failures of the administration and the teachers themselves in becoming certified which means your credits become "credits" for college and are thereby demoted to "electives" despite them being recognized courses at the time.

Raspberry Pi ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38727554)

Looks like an ideal customer for: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/01/17/0014220/raspberry-pi-25-linux-computer-now-in-production-video

Not really the first (1)

Walt Sellers (1741378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727638)

Crooms Academy of Information Technology is a high school in the Seminole County Florida school district that has been around for a while. Students are usually selected by lottery due to more applications than slots available.

The school helps kids get internships with local companies, including Electronic Arts.

Don't expect educational excellence (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727788)

Not enough cheap labor, talent nor pool of ready recruits to shore up the ranks of professional programmers needed in NYC the Bd of Ed offers its support. They'll follow Columbia University as a MS certificate factory for WallSt. Trickle down inevitably reaches its lowest-common denominator...minds of mush and loads of opportunity after graduation. At least students at University are old enough to be responsible for their choices.

MS HighTech High School in San Diego is a non-starter scoring lower than expected for its focused learning, ready-to-work skills and career path curriculum. Don't expect educational excellence parents

STEM? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727802)

I'm curious nobody mentioned STEM schools... we have those in my district, I won't let my kids go, other than future employment opportunities not existing, there seems to be nothing terribly wrong with them.

This school sounds an awful lot like a STEM school without the "S" and "E". A "TM" school. Does this sound about correct? I wonder if they already have STEM schools in NYC?

Self-Directed Exploration versus Classes (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727876)

I spent most of my formative years in a good, well-funded public school district. When I was in elementary school, computer class meant there was an Apple IIe available for each kid to use (and a futuristic-looking Apple IIgs in the corner that we could look at but never touch). We mostly played games that involved directing Algernon through a maze to a piece of cheese or fitting pieces of machinery together to solve a problem. I joined the math club because it met an hour before school in the computer room, and I'd intentionally write down wrong answers to the five math problems so I could spend most of that hour playing with the computers.

In seventh grade, computer class meant there was a Mac LC II for every kid to use. We'd spend the class time doing word processing or desktop publishing. The teacher allowed students free use of the computers for an hour or two after school every day, and I took advantage of it. I discovered Beyond Zork, played way too many games of Michael Casteel's Klondike (when I moved to Silicon Valley years later I had to make a pilgrimage to the Sunnyvale address where it was developed) and played with literally every element of the software to figure out what I could make it do.

In eighth grade I spent a year in a good but very-poorly-funded school district where computer class meant there were five Apple IIs to be shared among 25 students. We were assigned the task of creating a word processing document, typing one paragraph of text, and saving it to a 5.25" floppy. We would take turns doing this while the other four people watched and the teacher went around reviewing our progress, coaching students through mistakes. I zipped through mine quickly and taught the others in my group how to do it and then we'd sit there for the last 30 min of class. While I sat there with my head on the table, bored out of my mind, I noticed a book on BASIC on the shelf below the windows. I asked the teacher if I could read it, and started writing my own BASIC programs. Seeing my progress and interest, he told me I could borrow it until I had finished it, and I did. I'd read it as I walked to and from school in the snow, and I'd lay on my bed writing programs on loose leaf. In class I'd hurry the other students in my group through their exercises so I could enter my programs and try them out.

I returned to my old school the next year, but I had a greater appreciation for access to computers and spent my time on them writing code instead of playing games. I never had a computer at home until my senior year of high school because my father insisted he would only buy a Windows box because "Macs aren't real computers."

Do I imagine everyone learns to program this way? No. But I do believe programming is not something that lends itself to being taught in a classroom as a standard lesson. There should be classes that expose students to just enough to draw the attention of those who are so inclined, and then provide avenues for those who are interested to continue to explore and grow. But programmers need to be driven, inquisitive, problem solving, and somewhat solitary. Being spoon-fed lessons in a classroom doesn't create effective programmers because in reality no one is going to spoon feed you solutions to problems -- you're paid to come up with solutions. If your employer or customers wanted solutions someone else has already come up with, they'd buy a box off the shelf for less money.

That said, I'm open to the possibility that I could be wrong and this could be a great way to train a superstar class of programmers. To those who think this is a great idea, what sort of curriculum would you suggest for it? What classes would you prescribe to give freshmen a solid base, sophomores and juniors something to build upon that base, and seniors something advanced to challenge and refine them?
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