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K-12 CS Education Funding: Taxes, H-1B Fees, Donations?

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the still-on-that-eh? dept.

Education 165

theodp writes "Back in 2010, Bill Gates Sr. made the case for I-1098, an initiative for a WA state income tax that Gates argued was needed to address K-12 funding inequity, which he claimed was forcing businesses "to import technically-trained employees, while our own people are shut out of highly paid careers." Opposed by the deep-pocketed, high-tech studded Defeat 1098, the initiative was defeated. Four years later, some of the same high-tech leaders who records show funded Defeat 1098 — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ($425K), Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith ($10K), Code.org founder Hadi Partovi ($10K), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($100K), Microsoft Corporation ($75K) — have gotten behind groups like Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Code.org, which are singing a similar Chicken Little tune, telling lawmakers that U.S. students will continue to be shut out of highly paid computer science careers without additional K-12 funding, and the U.S. will lose its competitive edge unless tech is permitted to import even more technically-trained employees. In a departure from Gates' income-tax based solution, Microsoft and Code.org argue that the-problem-is-the-solution, proposing that tech visa fees be used to fund K-12 CS programs. To 'accept that computer science classes are only available to the privileged few,' writes Code.org, 'seems un-American'. So, as some of the nation's biggest K-12 school systems turn to Code.org for CS education programs, should they expect the funding to come from taxes, H-1B tech visa fees, or the-kindness-of-wealthy-strangers philanthropy?"

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Rewrite This Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066623)

Can we get an editor in here and re-write this piece of shit summary? I would suggest taking out all the extraneous links, and actually get to the fucking point.

Theodp is the worst submitter. Ever.

"UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 9 months ago | (#46066921)

It's one of those funny, old-fashioned words, living on like a museum piece! You know, like "Steam Packet" and "Record Album" and "Wedding Dress".

Re:"UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066937)

Wrong thread... [slashdot.org]

Read as... (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 9 months ago | (#46066635)

... we want educated people at slave wages.

Signed,

Bill gates.

Re:Read as... (3, Insightful)

Calavar (1587721) | about 9 months ago | (#46066737)

Dear best buddies in government, We want educated people at slave wages, but people keep trying to stop us. Please tie education funding to our precious H1Bs so that no one will dare to touch them. Signed, Bill Gates

FTFY

Re:Read as... (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#46066985)

It is easy to ridicule this as a benefit to the privileged, but our current funding of education, primarily with property taxes, is the root of much of the inequality in America. Property taxes are high in areas with high incomes, and low in areas of low incomes. Low income people also tend to have more school age kids. So the result is that rich kids attend schools with good teachers, libraries, computer labs, music programs, etc., where they only associate with other rich kids. Moving to a system of funding based on a broader tax base would do a lot to create more equality of opportunity.

Re:Read as... (2)

Koby77 (992785) | about 9 months ago | (#46067225)

Many inner city schools in the United States receive extra funding from the state and federal levels. They spend huge amounts of money per student compared to the national average and private schools. If your theory is correct, then Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles should have the best educated kids in the world. In actuality, the United States gets mediocre results despite spending the most of almost any nation on education, with low income areas receiving even more per student on average. Neither more money nor income equality are the solutions.

Re:Read as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067763)

Many inner city schools in the United States receive extra funding from the state and federal levels. They spend huge amounts of money per student compared to the national average and private schools. If your theory is correct, then Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles should have the best educated kids in the world. In actuality, the United States gets mediocre results despite spending the most of almost any nation on education, with low income areas receiving even more per student on average. Neither more money nor income equality are the solutions.

Have you considered the historical cost of rent in a dense urban environment vs Nowhere, Idaho? Hell, even Detroit's downtown still has high rent compared to Smallville, Kansas. The kids may live in tiny apartments instead of big ranch houses to save money, but schools were already packed even when I was a kid. It's not like the school owns the building, even if the city does. The school gets charged for the room just like your boss gets charged for you cube if you are in a large organization.

Dood, you just don't get it ..... (0)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067347)

Of course America has a capitalistic educational system, always has, always will until a real revolution occurs. With partial exceptions such as the administrations of FDR and JFK, the last American who truly attempted to institute a meritocratic system in America was Alexander Hamilton, and the first murdered his only son, then they murdered him! (He was also strongly opposed to slavery back then!) This isn't about those shills for the super-rich altering the educational system in America, it's about increasing the number of foreign visa scab workers, (which is step 1 in offshoring jobs, also) and utilizing those tax revenues, which will only temporarily --- if that --- flow to public K-12 (most will end up going to their charter schools) but will eventually flow to privatized schools, which Bill Gates' Gates Foundation has long been pushing!

Re:Read as... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067351)

RTFA.

The defeated proposal was to use state-wide income taxes to better fund education. That would have helped overcome exactly the problem you cite. Of course tech billionaires, ever concerned about the education of our children, spent lots of money to defeat it. Obviously feeling great remorse, they now propose to use H-1B fees instead.

"Except Utah". (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#46067559)

It is easy to ridicule this as a benefit to the privileged, but our current funding of education, primarily with property taxes, is the root of much of the inequality in America. Property taxes are high in areas with high incomes, and low in areas of low incomes. Low income people also tend to have more school age kids. So the result is that rich kids attend schools with good teachers, libraries, computer labs, music programs, etc., where they only associate with other rich kids. Moving to a system of funding based on a broader tax base would do a lot to create more equality of opportunity.

"Except Utah".

Utah has one of the lowest housing costs in the nation, and therefore lower property taxes; California has one of the highest property taxes in the nation, except for commercial property shich is never actually sold (you sell the holding company that owns the property instead of selling the property in order to use the technicality in Prop 13 to avoid tax increases on commercial property_.

Utah has some of the lowest per-student funding in the nation; California has some of the highest per student funding in the nation.

Utah has some of the largest class sizes in terms of student/teacher ratio in the nation; California has one of the smallest.

Utah ranks twice as high in SAT scores by students than California.

Guess what folks: it isn't the funding that's the problem.

Re:"Except Utah". (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 9 months ago | (#46068023)

Not that I necessarily disagree with your conclusion, but...

What do costs look like in Utah versus California? If you were to convert costs and salaries to Utah dollars, would teachers in Utah and California have similar standards of living? How about building costs, utilities, busing, school food, textbooks, etc.? Do both states employ comparable numbers of multilingual teachers?

Re:Read as... (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 9 months ago | (#46066853)

... we want educated people at slave wages.

Signed,

Bill gates.

s/Bill Gates/Steve Balmer/

Re:Read as... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066859)

Slaves don't get paid, silly! Which reminds me, I need some more unpaid interns.

Re:Read as... (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067349)

blahplusplus gets it!

If You Can't Beat Them... (5, Funny)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 9 months ago | (#46066641)

I agree completely. I think we should start by replacing expensive American senior executives with foreigners. You know, we don't want to lose our competitive edge.

Re:If You Can't Beat Them... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#46067171)

I think we should start by replacing expensive American senior executives with foreigners.

Foreigners are already strongly represented in senior management. In Silicon Valley, more than half of CEOs were foreign born. It is likely that educated immigrants create more tech jobs than they take. The economy is not zero sum.

Re:If You Can't Beat Them... (4, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067461)

In Silicon Valley, more than half of CEOs were foreign born. It is likely that educated immigrants create more tech jobs than they take.

You're seriously mis-citing that statistic. The actual statistic is that over half of SV companies include founders that were foreign born. That's a very big difference, since the vast majority of companies have multiple founders. As a matter of fact the proportion of foreign born company founders in SV is lower than the overall proportion of the foreign born in SV. You're citing a statistic like saying that 30% of company founders have blue eyes, therefore we need more blue eyed people. Meanwhile you overlook that 34% of the population in question has blue eyes. Given those statistics, it's hard to see how blue eyed people are better than those who aren't.

Second, which foreign born people are you talking about? Sergey Brin? He came to the US when he was six. I seriously doubt he had an H-1B visa. Jerry Yang? Came to the US when he was ten. Back in the day, Andy Grove? Came to the US as a refugee. My grandparents? (admittedly not SV entrepreneurs) came to the US as immigrants, not "guest workers". And no, I don't give a damn that the H-1B is a "dual use" visa. The bottom line is that H-1B visa holders initially come to the US as guest workers, and serve a period of indentured servitude, at the behest of tech billionaires falsely claiming STEM shortages.

As a programmer... (2)

bunratty (545641) | about 9 months ago | (#46066647)

I think K-12 funds could be used to greater benefit for teaching fundamental skills such as a core STEM curriculum. If students have a good foundation in mathematics and science and have had to use standard computer programs such as a word processor and spreadsheet program, they should be all ready to begin a computer science curriculum. From what I've heard, CS classes in high school are a joke and seem to turn students off to programming. I studied programming on my own and achieved a 5 on the computer science AP exam even though computer science was not taught at my school. Are there any of you who have a good experience with a programming class in high school, or did you just learn it on your own like I did?

Re:As a programmer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066659)

The best way to teach math is to have kids use tools that make use of it; computers. I think programming should be integrated into math classes.

Re:As a programmer... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067487)

How should computers be integrated into math classes? Without computers math is more difficult because you actually have to think. Do you want to do a numerical integration for everything instead of getting analytical solutions where possible? Push computers into K-12 math curricula and you'll have students more concerned with loops and conditionals than actually understanding math.

LTSP on RaspberryPi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066689)

If he were serious about charity he would give cold, hard cash to the schools to get them set up with LTSP in the classrooms. That would be a divergence from his past, but it is what is needed to get useful computer technology into the hands of the students. The clients could be the dirt-cheap raspberry pi with nice HDMI screens, a pair of stout servers per lab cluster and the requisite number of switches. Not a big cost for his deep pockets. "giving" away licenses may help his bottom line, but it is not helping the kids learn.

Re:LTSP on RaspberryPi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067019)

Except what he wants is his foundation to be used to fund Windows-only systems in K-12. With the current economy many schools are starting to use OSS and as the saying goes, hook-em young.

So it's a great idea to get OSS and LTSP in the schools but it will never be Bill Gates doing it.

As a programmer teacher and network administrator. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066787)

The sad state of education in the United States is a lie perpetrated to funnel public dollars into private hands. Not that there are bad teachers, or bad schools. There definietely are. I personally settled a due process case with a public school. That is beside the point as individual examples do not make a trend. You can read more about education politics here:

http://okemosparentsforschools.blogspot.com/2014/01/column-asking-wrong-questions.html?m=1

I have a different perspective as someone who teaches PC Repair (Cisco Academy), Network administrators (Cisco Academy), Linux Administrators (LPI Academy), C++, and robotics. I see industry (and government) reaching out for talent wherever they may be. At the same time, I see State government restricting students ability to take these courses because it does not fit into the mandated 4 years of English, Math, Science, etc. After the required courses are filled into the schedule, there is precious little time for electives.

It would be really great if students entered my classroom with PC repair or programming skills, but they don't. It would be great if the students actually knew what operating system was on their Android (Linux) or Apple (Unix) phone. The bottom line is that they don't because computer science is often not a requirement (not to be confused with word processing / spreadsheet / presentation competence).

If the tech giants want to make a difference, they need to convince local and State governments that "computer science literacy" is a requirement for people to work in most jobs. Students should graduate from high school able to perform basic troubleshooting (ping, for instance), light programming (if-then, loops, functions). These topics may even be basic enough to teach in middle school.

To make a difference, speak to your local school boards, contact your State education agency, call Arnie Duncan. If enough voices call for change, it will happen.

Re:As a programmer teacher and network administrat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066889)

The sad state of education in the United States is a lie perpetrated to funnel public dollars into private hands.

There are people trying to take advantage of the situation, but the fact is that, in the US and just about every country in the world, the education system is abysmal. Rote memorization over understanding. Teaching to the test over creativity. Obedience over freethinking.

People who don't know what it means to truly understand something often dispute this, and for obvious reasons; they're ignorant.

As a parent and a programmer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066837)

I agree! I want my kids to have the math (hopefully Calc), biology, chem, physics as well as writing and thinking. Because if they have a talent for that kind of stuff, I will encourage them to go into medical where there is actually a future and a much better chance of making a living that keeps up with inflation..

As opposed to the decreasing real wages in the CS professions.

Unless they really are passionate about the work that they MUST do it regardless of the pay, it's a shitty profession to be in.

Re:As a parent and a programmer (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067523)

I will encourage them to go into medicine where there is actually a future and a much better chance of making a living that keeps up with inflation

Every time I hear someone ask why women and African Americans are underrepresented in CS or engineering, I want to answer that it's because they're not as naive and gullible as white men (as a white man I'm allowed to say that).

Not everyone is a smart cookie (1)

superflit (1193931) | about 9 months ago | (#46066655)

We should embrace the notion that not everyone will be a genius and that is ok.

Not either all immigrants are smart too.

But if we increase the skill pool we can choose and drain more brains to US.

Sure that will hurt some `small pond` geniuses but overall for the country it is better.

Re:Not everyone is a smart cookie (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46066819)

We embrace that notion; but if being a non-genius leaves you unemployed or receiving advice from HR about how to apply for food stamps to supplement your paycheck, we embrace the notion of telling you to go get some skills or fuck off and die...

Re:Not everyone is a smart cookie (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067529)

Not either all immigrants are smart too.

But some of them can speak English.

Re:Not everyone is a smart cookie (1)

superflit (1193931) | about 9 months ago | (#46067551)

Or Urdu,Cantonese,Mandarim...

You know... More than one language ;)

It is possible..

Re:Not everyone is a smart cookie (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067611)

I've heard that it's possible, but in the US English is an especially useful language.

Re:Not everyone is a smart cookie (1)

superflit (1193931) | about 9 months ago | (#46067685)

What about the British and Aussie your insensitive CLOD!

Yeah, that'll work. (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 9 months ago | (#46066657)

Underfund K12 general education but send money to try to teach your illiterate, mathematically incompetent students computer science. I'm sure Ballmer and Bezos have wet dreams of armies of intellectually complaint code monkeys.

Speaking as someone who actually *has* a computer science degree, the CS you can teach to someone who is not intellectually prepared is just code monkey stuff. Real CS is quite mentally challenging, and requires a strong grounding in mathematics. It requires some creative thinking too, which is something you can't expect a college student to manifest after a lifetime of intellectual impoverishment.

Re:Yeah, that'll work. (2)

dkf (304284) | about 9 months ago | (#46066815)

intellectually complaint code monkeys

Ow! Not the best time to make that mistake...

Re:Yeah, that'll work. (1)

hey! (33014) | about 9 months ago | (#46066887)

Even educated people make typos.

US edu funding already world's highest. Problem is (1, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46066665)

The US ALREADY has more funding per student than any other major country. That's funded mainly through property taxes, other taxes, etc. This news story points to a 440 page report with all of the details:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us... [cbsnews.com]

We already spend the most money, and we get terrible results. Obviously, then, spending a LOT of money does not result in a better education. If it were a funding issue, the US would have the best education in the world. Funding is NOT the problem.

Some problems we have include:
Spending time and money teaching politics rather than skills. (K-12 students spend FAR more time studying global warming than technology). See also full WEEKS devoted to learning about Mexican culture, another week for Asian culture, two different weeks on black culture, etc.

Ridiculous rules that horribly bad teachers can't ever be fired because they have tenure (weren't fired sooner).

Parents are forced to pay for a specific school, rather than having school choice and therefore competition.

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (0)

duckintheface (710137) | about 9 months ago | (#46066687)

Your premise that funding for US education is higher than everyone else is simply false. Look at the Scandinavian countries and their level of per student funding.

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066755)

The GP is just repeating talking points he heard somewhere, probably by Limbaugh or on Fox News. I'm surprised they still go so bold on the racism these days. "Poor kids learning about non-white cultures, when their classes should only focus on white history liked they used to do!"

$race month is racist . Should be obvious. (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46067563)

It seems obvious to me that $race month is racist.
How about science month? What company today is hiring for "Lead $race Developer". None.

Spending a month out of each nine-month school teaching racial division when our students are so far behind their international competitors is simply foolish.

You think they should teach black history, Mexican history, hill billy history, gay history, and tstv history. I think they should teach history. They'll have enough time for stupid identity politics when they're grown.

That's a major reason our daughter won't be going to public school. She's not going to be taught to hate whitey, she'll be taught math, science, literature. I aim to keep her focused on useful skills as long as possible before she starts asking for details of her heritage so she can figure out which hive you expect her to be a drone in.

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066903)

Look at China and India and their representation in STEM graduate programs.

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46068063)

Look at the Scandinavian countries and their level of per student funding.

As of 2012, the US spends more [businessinsider.com] per pupil than Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (0)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 9 months ago | (#46066759)

The US ALREADY has more funding per student than any other major country. That's funded mainly through property taxes, other taxes, etc. This news story points to a 440 page report with all of the details:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us... [cbsnews.com]

And it's not as though all spending on education is public, the OECD report found. Public spending accounts for just 70 cents of every education dollar in the United States. Parents picked up another 25 cents and private sources paid for the remainder in 2010.

So it works really well for kids whose parents can afford to to pick up 1/4 of the tab. Faint praise indeed.

it doesn't work well. US scores among the lowest (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46067395)

> So it works really well for kids whose parents can afford to to pick up 1/4 of the tab.

Pretty much every measure says it doesn't work well, for anyone.
US scores are routinely lower than countries that spend half as much.
The US has alot of education funding and a lot of " worst" rankings. More of the same is more money spent on more garbage.

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (3, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 9 months ago | (#46066969)

Europeans spend weeks learning about every country in Europe, yet they don't seem to be doing all that badly. You seem to dislike learning about other people and their cultures and how this can influence and inspire you, and well that's your loss, but removing history and geography to put more time in science is NOT the solution. The much greater problems are teachers, methods and parents. Pay teachers a correct wage (which can easily be done by just reducing salaries for administrative leeches and shutting down the hilarious iPad programs), use good methods for teaching and evaluation (as opposed to Texas textbooks and horrible standard tests) and inform the parents that their job is to help their children learn (instead of just protesting loudly whenever they get a bad grade) and things would already work out much better.

Ironically enough, you're trying to get the US to stop looking at other cultures (or dramatically cut down their importance) when the biggest flaw in US education is wholly a cultural problem.

Actually, they are doing that badly (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#46067289)

Europeans spend weeks learning about every country in Europe, yet they don't seem to be doing all that badly.

Europe has the same shortage of tech workers as does the US, and even higher unemployment figures for the young to boot. So it would seem that in fact whatever they are doing is not really that great either, they just spend less at sucking.

Re:Actually, they are doing that badly (3, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067549)

Europe has the same shortage of tech workers as does the US

You mean they don't have a shortage either?

Re:US edu funding already world's highest. Problem (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067541)

another week for Asian culture

No wonder our schools are terrible if they only spend a week on such a broad and important topic.

36 weeks per school year. Your suggested schedule? (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46067635)

There are 36 weeks of 5 days each in a typical American school year. How do you think they should be spent?

Where I live in Texas, six weeks are devoted to seperating out assorted "minorities". (Hispanics and women are actually the majority, but students are incorrectly taught that each is a minority.) Another 8 weeks or so are devoted to assorted political indoctrination.

Just over half of the year remains for useful ormarketable skills like math, science, writing, etc.

Re:36 weeks per school year. Your suggested schedu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067825)

There are 36 weeks of 5 days each in a typical American school year. How do you think they should be spent?

Where I live in Texas, six weeks are devoted to seperating out assorted "minorities". (Hispanics and women are actually the majority, but students are incorrectly taught that each is a minority.) Another 8 weeks or so are devoted to assorted political indoctrination.

Just over half of the year remains for useful ormarketable skills like math, science, writing, etc.

I'll call bullshit. Source? And I mean a credible source. Texas spends more time and energy fighting for creationism than computer science.

As for you political indoctrination, if you spent less time on creationism in "science" class, you could actually learn some science. Or was your argument going to be that TEXAS is mainly left wing school boards?

Re:36 weeks per school year. Your suggested schedu (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46068087)

A quick search came up with this link [slashdot.org] . I must admit it is cute how people play scientist on Slashdot.

oh please! (2)

duckintheface (710137) | about 9 months ago | (#46066673)

Why would you tie CS education to visas for those who will compete with those same students receiving that education? Think about that. When we have a barely adequate supply of home-grown talent, will the visa numbers be reduced? If so, funding for education will also be cut, returning us to the days of insufficient education.! If CS education is important to our society (and it is) then it should be funded on its own merits. This is a rich country that is constantly pretending to be poor. If there is a lack of funding, it's because taxes on the wealthy have been cut and cut again. For example, if capital gains were taxed as regular income, we would have no problem funding education in this country.

Re:oh please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066707)

Why would you tie CS education to visas for those who will compete with those same students receiving that education?

To drive down wages. Duh. That anyone believes that these corporations want more people getting high-paid jobs is ridiculous.

Re:oh please! (1)

lawson89 (1198787) | about 9 months ago | (#46066723)

This comment sums it up, well done sir! especially "If CS education is important to our society (and it is) then it should be funded on its own merits" Funding with visa fees is just a smoke screen

Re:oh please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067155)

Especially when the programs are specifically to drive away high-paying jobs while the C-levels still make out like bandits.

Re:oh please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067277)

This is a rich country that is constantly pretending to be poor.

I wonder about that statement.
Sometimes, I'm convinced that our poor country is very busy pretending to be rich.

Re:oh please! (1)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 9 months ago | (#46067285)

*tsk* Forgot I wasn't signed in.

some good points. penalizing saving is stupid (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46067481)

You're absolutely right. That last sentence suggests you haven't studied economics, though.

> if capital gains were taxed as regular income, we would have no problem funding education in this country.

Most countries don't tax capital gains, or barely tax them (like 2%) because most countries understand how destructive it is to penalize saving. That's what capital gains tax is - a penalty for retirement savings, buying a house, or most other wise financial decisions. (Anything that results in being better off than when you started.)
Capital gains taxes are purely an American political tool, class warfare that greatly harms those same voters who are played by the envy-driven politicians. Even higher capital gains taxes would be a very effective way to destroy the economy.

I think I got it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066695)

Basically a whole bunch of mostly-liberals with severe income-equality disorder are spending a bunch of money to get their way. On the other hand if we took all of the money we are throwing down the drain on things like the EPA and the IRS and, instead, gave that money to the K-12 schools the teachers union would be ecstatic. Wait...unintended consequence there. Oh hell. I don't know what's going on. All I read was that if we import more foreign workers there will be more jobs for highly-educated 12th graders. What?

Re: I think I got it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067519)

Income inequality is a disorder all right, but not in people's heads like the small minded like to believe. It is real and growing, and has been doing so since the neocons took over the economy in the 1980s. Their failure is real and spectacular if also horrifying, and their response to that is to blame people who were not in charge or to call Clinton and Obama liberals (give me a break) and otherwise to do anything to avoid accountability for their incredibly bad ideas.

Corporate inspired programs like H1-B visas are intended to reduce pay and increase income inequality.

You may hate liberals. You're entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts no matter what Fox tells you.

not money (1)

fermion (181285) | about 9 months ago | (#46066703)

More money for CS programs is not going to help. You can't just have a CS class in high school. Kids need to learn to use computers as tools,not just for games and browsing. Not even just for learning. Kids have to be trained that computes are creative devices.

This has to happen from the early grades, and for this to happen the teachers have to know how to use computers. As is, many teachers can write in MS Word. I have seen college graduates from very good schools not even know how to create an engaging presentation.True, few people know how to do this, but still, it should be a requirement.

And no, putting polygons on the screen is not enough for CS.

So what we need to is a teacher population that is extremely highly compute literate, to the point where many can code, maybe to the point of a dynamically generated web page. This should be test prior to any teacher certification, just like pedagogy is. Second, using a computer as a tool must be incorporated into the curriculum at all grade levels. This will be easier as more students get computers. Right now there is funding for every student to have regular access to computer at least starting grade 5 or 6. The challenge will be incorporating valid lessons, such as writing a program will solve a two step equation.

The second challenge is pay. Right now teacher pay structure, which is some areas is as low as $17/hr for a college graduate with no felonies, not on any sexual assault list, and stable enough not to kill the children. This is enough to get graduates with few practical skills, but not the type of people we need if we are going to push technical competency.

Re:not money (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 9 months ago | (#46066869)

So what we need to is a teacher population that is extremely highly compute literate, to the point where many can code, maybe to the point of a dynamically generated web page. This should be test prior to any teacher certification, just like pedagogy is.

Why would I want to force out competent math or english teachers on the basis they cannot code?

Wouldn't the be like forcing out physical education teachers because they don't know the basics of Shakespeare?

If we want kids to learn computers (and many do just through osmosis), maybe we should have a computer class k-12 that focuses on different things and leave that to a dedicated teacher.

However, I am skeptical kids need to learn how to code or any of that or that often. Every kid learning CS doesn't make much sense to me. Sure, they need to know directories and all that, but knowing how to code? Idk.

Re:not money (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067479)

fermion, seriously dood, are you a complete idiot?

It ain't about education, douchetard, it's about sucking all the money from the taxpayers, while increasing offshoring of jobs and foreign visa scab worker visas! Sweet Jaysus, you are one clueless, halfwitted clown!

Cap and trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066711)

I say we initiated a global initiative to cap net wealth per person to something like $12 million USD indexed to inflation - the privilege and power of a few who own trillions is totally skewing the promise of democracy, freedom, and globalisation as trade rules are written in secret to the benefit of those who already have enough to last several lifetimes. Use everything beyond the caps to implement climate change mitigation and improve education globally.

Saying this country can have X but that country must suffer with Y will always lead to disparity and the potential for conflict and suffering. It's time to take the next step and engage a truly global civilization.

Re: Cap and trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066783)

Are you trolling? Because everything you just said can be disproved or at least shown to have no evidence.

Re: Cap and trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067471)

Are you trolling? Because everything you just said can be disproved or at least shown to have no evidence.

Re: trolling - Your statements, sir, would seem to be disprovable and lacking evidence.

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine the validity and severity of anthropogenic climate change.
Disproportionate wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few (100 people have a documented $4 trillion in USD and believed to hold $21 trillion beyond that while another 200,000 have over $30 million apiece - again, documented cumulative wealth in excess of $6 trillion.) Contrast that to poorest 3.5 billion PEOPLE who have less than $4 trillion between them - all this was recently documented by OxFam.

Nation states enacting legislation separately will only cause this capital to flee - hence provably a global cap is the only solution.

Re:Cap and trade (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067543)

Nice, but really one has to take away their ultimate entitlement from them: the ability to create money!

Bad Father (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 9 months ago | (#46066747)

He should have taught his son the importance of paying his taxes.

Re:Bad Father (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067483)

Thank you, one more intelligent comment at /. which has truly devolved over the years (that's makes about four intelligent comments here!)

un-American? (1)

Way Chuang Ang (3456733) | about 9 months ago | (#46066749)

un-American? What does that mean? Define American values.

Re: un-American? (2)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 9 months ago | (#46066825)

You act like that's hard or ambiguous. When you form a club, let's say the Justin Bieber fan club, you set rules, goals, and a mission statement. The founding fathers did that, it's only the people who don't agree with personal power, liberty, and economic freedom who pretend that there are no American values.

Re: un-American? (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 9 months ago | (#46067273)

Of course it's hard.

If you ask 300 million people what American values are you're going to get 300 million different answers.

Re:un-American? (2)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067533)

Overthrowing the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala during the Eisenhower Administration.

Helping to overthrow the democratically elected government of Brazil during the Johnson Administration.

Destabilizing the secular government of Afghanistan, during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

And on, and on (and never forget Operation 9/11)......

Seems a trifle odd... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46066763)

Isn't tying funding for education in a given field directly to the number of laborers imported to make work in that field cheaper just a trifle perverse?

At best, I could see it being saved by virtue of sheer lag (unless going directly into the data mines out of high school, the K-12 students affected by year X's funding level are anywhere from 2 to 16+ years away from the workforce); but that same lag would also lead to fluctuating and potentially nonsensical funding levels under basically any circumstances other than 'high, stable, levels of H1-B demand that mysteriously don't translate into lower incentives to enter the field', a condition that seems potentially unrealistic.

If we are treating CS as a foundational subject, some combination of a new part of the math curriculum and a valuable skill for all, we are going to need a more stable funding level (regardless of how high or low you think it should be, oscillating is stupid: you'll just get a lot of staff churn, 'fat year' infrastructure expenditures that rot because you can't do upkeep during lean years, and similar wastes of money).

If we are treating CS as largely vocational, producing students whose educational quality depended on the demand levels of the job market starting over a decade before they enter the field seems like it could go poorly...

Re:Seems a trifle odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066973)

Year one seems odd certainly.
Year two, nothing bad has happened.
Year three, funding that was marked for CS now gets diverted to other subjects (what with CS getting all their cash from visas).
Year four, the companies ask for more visas to be issued - after all it helps educate the kids.

So in five years time - issue more visas - think of the children.

This isn't a short term play.

fuzzyfuzzybrained, perhaps? (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067455)

Isn't tying funding for education in a given field directly to the number of laborers imported to make work in that field cheaper just a trifle perverse? If you believe that, and don't really understand what's going on (see my comment, please) then you really are clueless.

Teachers Unions (0)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 9 months ago | (#46066795)

Outlaw teachers unions (traditional unions fought against corporate management for fair wages. Who do teacher's unions fight against? Kids? ) That alone would increase the effectiveness of teachers and allow cross-philosophy teaching such as math and computer science together.

Re:Teachers Unions (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 9 months ago | (#46066971)

To what extent do teacher's unions fight against students?

Re:Teachers Unions (2)

AutodidactLabrat (3506801) | about 9 months ago | (#46067097)

Better still, outlaw union-busting corporations by breeching the corporate veil every time they get caught. It will stop and there will be no more offshoring when the Board of Directors has to explain how they turned billions of shareholder value into worthless paper. Nothing new needed, just enforce the law and put the corporations to death for union busting. Voila, it's 1968 and America is on top again!

This is all just an excuse (4, Insightful)

clifwlkr (614327) | about 9 months ago | (#46066801)

I don't understand why these top business people keep trying to say that we need to push more CS type stuff into grades k-12. Why would we tailor such early education specifically to one career choice? What happens if we now have too many programmers, and that is all these young people have been trained for? Other countries do not do this. K-12 should be about fundamentals, and broad education. If you are exposed to a variety of topics, and simple things like the scientific method, math, and problem solving, you can do almost anything in STEM. The problem is our education system is about memorization and regurgitation. Switch to an interactive model where kids actually build stuff ( code, chemistry, woodworking, anything ) and tie lessons into that. Then they will be prepared for whatever comes down the road. Myself, there was zero computer education at my school, as it was in its infancy. Yet somehow I managed to teach myself to do it on the one or two apple IIs we had, and made quite a go of it. What I had learned all my life was first how to learn, and second, how to problem solve. Given those tools in your tool belt I believe anything is attainable. I can't help but feel like this is all a smokescreen to keep tech workers wages capped. I topped out quite a few years ago, and only move up slightly. Don't get me wrong, I am paid well in the grand scheme of things, but if the industry is so strapped for great programmers, like they say they are, why aren't wages through the roof? Every interview I have done ( recently switched jobs ) they have immediately offered me a job. All of them want to only pay either slightly less, or slightly more than I am making currently. The wage gap between a kid just out of college, and a top senior engineer is pitifully small now. That's not right.... They want H1Bs since they are trapped. I am all for allowing work visas, but how about we revamp the program and make it a 2 year work visa where they can switch companies at will. Let's see how many of these tech companies will be scrambling to acquire them then, as then they will have to pay them the same as everyone else, or lose them.....

Re:This is all just an excuse (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 9 months ago | (#46067137)

I don't understand why these top business people keep trying to say that we need to push more CS type stuff into grades k-12. Why would we tailor such early education specifically to one career choice? What happens if we now have too many programmers, and that is all these young people have been trained for? Other countries do not do this.

I almost compltely agree with you.

The problem is not that we need to specifically push this stuff on children. The problem is that as society, we do not allow children to believe that those who would pursue a technical career are in any way shape of form, interesting or cool. In some subcultures, being smart is actually looked upon as being a bad thing.

Cultural icons for modern citizens are more in line with unearned wealth, celebrities famous for being famous, and little else. Science, if it is addressed, has morphed into "Ancient Aliens" or apocalyptic predictions (beyond all possible belief, I've seen that some of the mayan apocalypse shows have been re-running. This seems pathological, that some are upset it didn't happen, and longing for the good old days when we had our utter destruction to look forward to.

I had participated many years in the "Take our sons and daughters to work" days. Despite the name, it was really about the young ladies, and working in a tech environment iat a university, we did our best to expose the girls to positive experiences and steer them towards tech.

Not hardly. Many of the young ladies wanted to be MBA's or Lawyers. a few wanted to be Doctors or Veterinarians. Some interested in social work, a couple, Art. Engineers? Comp Science? Sorry, no interest. And those who had no preference at all looked as if they were going to be working fast food as a career.

The goals looked like accumulation of money as number one, and everything else a far distant second. And the accumultaion needed to be with as little effort as possible, and science is not a way to achieve that.

Re:This is all just an excuse (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46067255)

I'd be happy if the US inserted education into K-12 education. Somehow other countries manage this.

As for H1-B's, my view is just give anyone who is interested automatic green cards in exchange for an entry fee (say $20k). It'll still provide considerable downward pressure on skilled labor, but at least you're not competing against indentured servants.

Re:This is all just an excuse (1)

monatomic (2612833) | about 9 months ago | (#46067507)

Not to mention that these companies simply do not want to hire new graduates (i.e. without years of experience) who are not foreigners, because they expect we will demand too much money. They won't even offer the lower salaries they want to pay! Hell, I would accept a lower salary for good working conditions. I am not unreasonable about it. Yet us new grads don't get interviews.

what about more tech / trades schools and not 4 ye (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#46066809)

what about more tech / trades schools and not 4 year high cost colleges. Where some can learn good skills in 1-2-3 years may even have an apprenticeship mixed into that with hands on classes at the tech / trades / Community College level.

There is to much put into to colleges and they trun out people with skill gaps vs what people can learn in the same time frame at an tech / trades / Community College setting.

MS could route sales in WA instead of NV (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066817)

Just think of the tax boost for the state

Color me unsurprised... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 9 months ago | (#46066867)

Rich person likes things that could be paid for by taxes, but doesn't want to pay taxes. So he gets his buddies to help fund a group to defeat a ballot measure that his dad supports. Hypocritical? Yes. Narcissist with daddy issues? Yes. Surprising? No.

CS in Kindergarten? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46066931)

I don't understand how computer science in "K-12" even makes sense.

The earliest I did anything that could honestly be characterized as "computer science" (as opposed to trivial programming in Commodore BASIC) was at the age of 8, when my sister (age 10) and I built a Z80-based single-board CP/M machine (a YASBEC, if anyone remembers them; now that I think, I'm pretty sure it was actually a Z180).

And really, I learned almost nothing of computer architecture from that (my sister picked up a lot, and despite Dad's best efforts to give me a chance, was glad to take over the more intellectual aspects of the project, and I let her), though I did get pretty good at soldering. Now I'm not saying an 8 year old couldn't learn computer architecture, particularly if computer architecture were being taught with good pedagogy, rather than expecting it to be gleaned as incidental knowledge while completing a project. But I'm pretty sure the best thing you can do to prepare a kindergartner for a career as a computer scientist, computer engineer, and/or computer programmer is much more about getting them started well with math and reading, rather than anything CS-specific.

Honestly you need so much math/logic to get more than a few corners of computer science, I'm not sure there's any point doing CS-specific stuff before high school. And today, there's no real argument for do-nothing computer classes before CS classes just to get students familiar with computers so you're not spending time introducing students to computers when you're trying to get to useful CS instruction.

Stupid (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46066949)

Hey Bill, How about you actually hire and train people yourselves, or work with High Schools/Colleges to actually have some sort of apprenticeship/internship programs? We have/had high unemployment and low labor force participation. You can't tell me that we can't retrain exsisting people now and not have to bring more people in.

Re:Stupid (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067497)

You are asking a person who's corporation (according to their tax returns and the tax returns of "American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc.") donates to the Bilderberger forums?

Re:Stupid (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46067575)

Heretic!

Wait, let me get this laughably straight (2)

AutodidactLabrat (3506801) | about 9 months ago | (#46067087)

Multibillionaires crying that the TAXPAYERS are not providing enough free resource to make the 1% even richer. How about this? BUY H1-b by paying 100% of the lifetime costs of 3 American Students for each and every wage cutting imported $15,000 / year engineer. YOU pay the costs for driving America out of business with your wage cutting H1-B's. There, now, pure captialism. You want something, YOU pay for it, Gates!!!

Re:Wait, let me get this laughably straight (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067517)

Oh, wow! Another intelligent comment. Amazing. (And thanx)

Gates et al are all... (1)

zkiwi34 (974563) | about 9 months ago | (#46067093)

Well, let's be polite.

Nothing's going to change until two things happen. Firstly, people value education for its own sake, not as a set of boxes to check on the route to "somewhere," having no other value. Secondly, until the programs taught at high school (CS, Engineering, anything not "core") have both the rigour and the status of pre-requisite courses (for university study or vocation) then the devolution to the "core" will continue as will the decreasing value placed on education. Would that taking a CS/Engineering/Other strand was actually valued and required for entry into matching university programs!

All that exists is the faffing around that is the AP and such as "Project Lead The Way" which butcher the job and are perhaps the biggest barrier rather than being a decent stepping stone. The AP should never have existed except as a stop-gap measure. The state curriculums and program strands (In CS, Engineering, and pretty much anything else) in and of themselves should have had the required rigour, and more, the recognition by universities as valid pre-requisites.

Not that Gates et al have anything like this in mind with their peanuts that they toss at "the problem."

Not money, nor multicultural lessons, nor CS (2)

russotto (537200) | about 9 months ago | (#46067103)

The problem with education isn't money; we throw tons of money at schools in the US, and the outcomes don't correlate well with money thrown; Newark, NJ schools receive more funding than Millburn, NJ schools, and the former are horrendous while the latter are among the best in the state.

As far as CS goes, it's not about replacing lessons about the American Revolution with lessons on Mexican culture neither one, whatever its merit, has any relevance to science and math. Nor does it matter for CS if students know more about Booker T. than George.

Nor is it any lack of CS or other computer education in primary and secondary schools. Nearly every CS job nowadays requires a bachelor's degree at minimum, and those 4 years are plenty to learn the fundamentals of computer science, assuming the underlying foundation is strong. So what's necessary IMO, from a CS education point of view, is for the foundation to be strengthened. The major thing missing from the traditional algebra-geometry-trignometry-calculus sequence is formal propositional logic; it's kind of taught alongside geometry proofs, but it might make sense to teach it separately and before (or even instead of) that sort of geometry. That doesn't necessarily require any more money.

But the real problem is the foundations just aren't strong. A lot of students can't do algebra entering 9th grade, and they can't do arithmetic entering 6th. Until you solve this, you can't solve anything at a higher level. Fix elementary education, fix secondary education, and only then worry about adding CS programs.

Funding isn't the problem. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 9 months ago | (#46067159)

Public schools, just like Microsoft, have no shortage of money. What they have is a plague of incompetent management.

-jcr

Thanks for a great blog post/article! (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 9 months ago | (#46067313)

No only an excuse, but OPM --- Other People's Money --- the super-rich never use their own money, but instead will use future tax revenues as an excuse to increase foreign visa scab workers (which are used to further offshore jobs, of course), plus those taxes going to K-12 are a way station to privatized schools, which the Gates Foundation has been strongly promoting, which means those taxes will eventually be going to them! Nothing altruisitic in any of this.

Let Them Pay for It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067441)

Let's pass a Tech Industry Education Tax and have the tech industry itself pay for it. Perhaps it should be 1% of each company's yearly income, not this more H1-Bs = more funding crap.

And if we're going to have fees associated with H1-B visas, the cost should be in the $500,000 range.

And while I go off on a rant here, immigration shouldn't be based on an applicant's wealth or utility. It should be based solely on a display of loyalty and patriotism.

Word verification: defects

How about we reset the educational system to 1947? (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#46067639)

How about we reset the educational system to 1947?

In 22 years, we'll have people with a high school education + a four year college degree, and the ability to land people on the moon again. We'd have a hell of a time doing that today, even with Armadillo and SpaceX's H1-B workers imported from countries with functioning public education systems.

A lot of what has screwed up education in the U.S. is all the well intentioned (yes, I am giving the benefit of the doubt here) attempts to change education for the better, which don't happen to work out as beautifully in practice as they were supposed to according to the reformers theory.

These are the same a-holes who want tax cuts (1)

oscrivellodds (1124383) | about 9 months ago | (#46067911)

or they will move their offices out of state. If they don't pay taxes, they get bad schools. If there really is a shortage of adequately educated people in the US, those CEOs are responsible, along with the state legislatures that are dumb enough to encourage their blackmail and race each other to the bottom (of tax revenues from large corporations). The problem is that CEOs feel no responsibility toward the communities in which their companies operate. Their only responsibility is to the shareholders and their own pockets.

If companies need talent, why don't they retrain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46067947)

There is a positive glut of people who are talented software developers, but don't have the exact bingo-card skills that companies need. If companies are desperate, why don't they simply invest in retraining people who already have the basic skills? All developers would need to learn are the basics about whatever fad technology is popular at the moment. Surely anyone who knew over-engineered Java crud could learn over-engineered .NET crud. And anyone who knows the basics of software development could easily learn some proprietary vertical-market package, because there aren't that many different ways of querying a database or writing a report.

The #1 problem in the software world right now is the degree of uber-specialization. There aren't, and will never be, by definition, all that many people who are experts with some proprietary vertical-market package or legacy language. Learning this stuff is not hard.

So why don't companies simply train people to fill the roles they need? Until they do, this is all just BS.

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