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Does Google Have Too Much Influence Over K-12 CS Education?

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the all-the-hyperlinks dept.

Education 66

theodp writes:Google recently announced Global Impact Awards for Computer Science, part of the company's $50 million investment to get girls to code. But Google's influence over K-12 CS education doesn't stop there. The Sun-Times reports that Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers are participating in a summer professional development program hosted by Google as part of the district's efforts to "saturate" schools with CS within 3 years: "The launch of CS4All [Computer Science for All], in partnership with Code.org and supported by Google, starts this fall in 60 CPS schools to try to bridge the digital divide and prepare students." And in two weeks, the Computer Science Teachers Association [CSTA] and Google will be presenting the National Computer Science Principles Education Summit. "Attendees at this event have been selected through a rigorous application process that will result in more than 70 educators and administrators working together to strategize about getting this new Advanced Placement course implemented in schools across the country," explains CSTA. The ACM, NSF, Google, CSTA, Microsoft, and NCWIT worked together in the past "to provide a wide range of information and guidance that would inform and shape CS education efforts," according to the University of Chicago, which notes it's now conducting a follow-up NSF-funded study — Barriers and Supports to Implementing Computer Science — that's advised by CPS, CSTA, and Code.org.

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Time for the two-minute hate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47385735)

It must be time for today's 2-minute hate on Google. Carry on.

what about more trades like post HS schools? (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#47385741)

what about more trades like post HS schools?

We need to look at where we can fix and improve the post K-12 education system not push HS to build more into the old system.

Why teach students JavaScript? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47385769)

What I don't get is why students are being taught JavaScript. Let's be honest, it's a shitty language. It was thrown together really quickly it a total rush. It's full of stupid design mistakes. These aren't just stupid design mistakes, they're totally unnecessary and totally unacceptable. They aren't the kind of mistakes that should have been made in 1995, and there's no reason why JavaScript is still so fucked even today. If we're going to teach our students a programming language, let's just use Python. Python is a smart language created by smart people. It isn't full of stupidity like JavaScript is. It isn't a language that embodies idiocy within each and every feature. Dump JavaScript. Teach Python. Do it because it's the smart thing to do, and because it'll be good for the students.

Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#47385803)

Google, for good or ill, isn't interested in those at all (if they were, it'd be an interesting debate, though). Unlike tech startups, Google puts a quite high value on college degrees, and highly ranked ones at that. They hire a few people who don't have one, but by and large they hire out of top-50 CS departments.

Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47385891)

Which makes it all the more surreal. Fund early CS education to get more people working in the field in order to drive down wages, only throw out the resumes of the ones who only have the education that you funded (and didn't go on to pay for higher education.)

Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 months ago | (#47386263)

I don't think this was ever about finding employees but enabling others to create content that people will seek so they can continue to make money from the data they collect and ads they sell.

It could also just be a way to feel better about themselves too.

Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386413)

Well, the description in the press release says "...one in four CPS elementary schools will be able to offer computer science programming for students as early as Kindergarten. At least one computer science course will be offered... and become a requirement of graduation." They could be using the terms programming and computer science loosely, but it doesn't sound like content creation is the goal.

Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#47385957)

what about lowering the cost of the TOP schools.

Also what about the non coding IT work.

joe is an autist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386729)

fuck trades and fuck unions.

fuck you joe dragon. Illiterate fuck.

Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 7 months ago | (#47388005)

It seems those who "choose" to use beta get to comment on stories first? The galaxies story is only found under submissions and there are no comments. On beta it appears in the stories and had a few comments. Weird.

Betteridge wins again (2)

russotto (537200) | about 7 months ago | (#47385747)

Even if these initiatives weren't both limited and in partnership with other groups, just what would Google do that would be harmful to K-12 computer science education? Make everyone learn Go?

Now, if you want a real issue, go check on the Gates Foundation's influence on the much-derided Common Core.

(Disclosure: I work for Google, but this means less than you probably think)

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#47385853)

Personally, I see Google's position in K-12 as being about where Apple's was 20-25 years ago. As long as they don't try for any heavy-handed manipulation, the outcome should be as mutually beneficial as well.

The thing here is that with all the ways Google is involved, the districts have a choice, year to year, on whether to choose them again. There's no lock-in, just education and some influence on the direction of CS education.

If Facebook (cringe) happens to have better ideas in the next election cycle, they could easily supplant Google as the resource provider and decision maker. Or it could be Apple again. Or Microsoft. Or IBM.

That's the way the system is SUPPOSED to work, and I'm glad it hasn't been railroaded yet.

Re:Betteridge wins again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386761)

Personally, I see Google's position in K-12 as being about where Apple's was 20-25 years ago.

They are almost entirely unalike. What Apple did was sell end-of-life systems to schools for a cut-rate price, or donate obsolete equipment which would incur repair and maintenance costs. This gave them big tax write-offs, good publicity, and was overall an effort to create vendor lock-in. Get 'em started on Apple, and they'd stay on Apple was the idea.
Google, on the other hand, has been donating, supporting, and encouraging actual educational programs. Not just trying to get their name brand planted in the classrooms.

Do they have 'too much influence'? Perhaps, but if they do it's only because nobody else is stepping up to the plate to get CS into primary and secondary education.

Re:Betteridge wins again (4, Insightful)

matbury (3458347) | about 7 months ago | (#47385913)

I don't work for M$, Google, or Apple but I do work in education. I have to agree with russotto about the Gates Foundation's activities in K-12 and higher education. They pay $30,000 to any academic who publishes papers and articles that are supportive of the Common Core. If this doesn't set off alarm bells about conflicts of interest and corrupting academic practice on a big scale, what kind of alarm bells are you waiting for? Up until he was named and shamed for it, he was also a major donor to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org] - They make Dr. Evil look like a lefty bleeding heart liberal). One of ALEC's core beliefs is in privatising everything, including education and they're doing everything they can to undermine and weaken public education so that corporations have a chance at competing with it.

BTW, Google is now a donor to ALEC. I very much doubt they're getting involved in education to give themselves warm fuzzy altruistic feelings or for any higher purpose. They're currently on a campaign to capture IT services in higher education, taking over email, docs, online storage, etc., AKA "the cloud", and giving them unfettered access to everyone's educational records and web use histories, reliably tied to their identities. They've already been successfully sued in California for spying on students after they said they wouldn't.

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, is a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She's highly critical of many of the current corporate campaigns in education has some interesting things to say about the Common Core: http://dianeravitch.net/ [dianeravitch.net]

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#47386491)

They've already been successfully sued in California for spying on students after they said they wouldn't.


Based on what I found [ibtimes.com] , that seems to be a pretty serious mischaracterization. First, "successfully sued" normally implies that the suit has reached some sort of conclusion, but from what I can see all that's been successful is the filing. Google has made a motion to dismiss which hasn't been ruled on, AFAICT. Even if that motion fails, it just means that the judge doesn't think the suit is so ridiculous it should be tossed without a further look. That's a long way from saying it actually has merit. Second, all Google said was that ads were turned off for edu accounts by default. Plaintiffs allege that Google still uses the data in other ways, but I don't see that there is any evidence about that one way or another.

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 7 months ago | (#47451867)

Can't remember where I saw the article about the lawsuit going forward. They basically won. The best I can find now are: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com] and http://www.theguardian.com/tec... [theguardian.com] , so yes, just the start of the case.

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#47452177)

If it just started in March, they're still 2-3 years from a conclusion in court.

Re:Betteridge wins again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47387239)

One of the reasons I don't have kids: I am forced at gunpoint by my government to send my children to be educated by a government indoctrination facility that does not focus on core skills or producing a functioning, thinking human being. Oh, and if I don't have kids, I get to pay about 50% of the house mortgage, per year, in taxes to support the spendthrifts. For what? Ask any businessmen or college recruiter; most kids have to take several years of classes just to get up to a basic level of literacy.

Public education is evil; the teachers unions are the root of that evil, and if you want to know why there are so few alternatives to public schooling, look at all the special laws they get passed to harass any competition that comes their way.

I swear to god if I were the kids that did Columbine I wouldn't be popping the heads of classmates; I'd hunt down the heads of the teachers union.

Re:Betteridge wins again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47388221)

Around here, our public schools out perform many leading national private schools. If you don't want to send your child to public school and can't afford or find a decent private school, then home school them.

If you think not having your child being educated in any way is a good thing, then you shouldn't have children and we'd be better off with you sterilized, just in case you forget that the one day you leave your /. chair to go to a bar. /sarc /. joke

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#47389159)

I completely agree that it is a very bad idea for you to procreate.

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 7 months ago | (#47401235)

I fail to see how corporations--for whom these kids will be working--are doing evil by grooming children for the jobs they have need to be filled. Is not one of the primary purposes of schooling to produce talent for the job market? A very common story told by American business is the lack of local talent to take on the jobs they need filled. At the same time people are complaining because they can't find jobs. The US educational system can't seem move away from their long established history of grooming kids for brain dead manufacturing jobs. All I see are the teachers unions running scared because their comfortable little fiefdoms are being shaken up by actors they weren't prepared to stymie.

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 7 months ago | (#47419113)

Re: "Is not one of the primary purposes of schooling to produce talent for the job market?" -- This is a common misunderstanding of the difference between education and training. Here's an illustration: Imagine your 9 year-old daughter comes home from school and tells you she'd been doing sex education. You'd probably think it's a good idea - everyone needs to know about that stuff. Now imagine she came home from school and told you she'd being doing sex training? How would you react?

To put it explicitly, K-12 education's and, to a great extent, higher education's main purpose is to develop learners' intellectual and cognitive capacities, i.e. literacy skills (which directly correlate with success in professional and academic life), numeracy, analytical and critical skills, and deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning, and social and organisational skills so they can work collaboratively as parts of teams.

Training is short-term, shallow learning of remembering, understanding, and applying rules, procedures, and formulae. It's superficial, easily forgotten, and often goes out of date rapidly. Spending time on training in K-12 education is time, money, and resources down the drain. In higher education, if they're training for an immediate, specific vocation, which includes some kind of apprenticeship system, e.g. medical practitioners, architects, engineers, and counsellors, again, time spent on training is time, money, and resources down the drain.

People who understand education see the political and media rhetoric for what it is. It's dismaying to hear normally intelligent, insightful people repeat it.

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 7 months ago | (#47421201)

It seems difficult to me to develop intellectual and cognitive capacities absent the opportunity to practice and thus develop and hone those abilities. How does one learn to analyze if there is nothing to perform analysis on? How does one learn to reason absent the formulae requiring it? How does one develop aspirations if never shown anything inspiring?

Re:Betteridge wins again (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 7 months ago | (#47451757)

Re: "It seems difficult to me to develop intellectual and cognitive capacities absent the opportunity to practice and thus develop and hone those abilities." -- They have the content of the books they read, the experiences they have, their relationships with each other (in unstructured time, group tasks, and projects) and their teachers (when they provide direct instruction, mentoring, feedback, and instructional scaffolding). School is just as "real" an environment as a factory, lab, or an office.

Re:Betteridge wins again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47388189)

You're either a troll or you don't know what common core actually is. Just in case you don't know, CC is a set of benchmarks and a standardized way to measure student's abilities. That is it. It was created so we could have a unified way to measure students across the nation, instead of having state "tests", with no way to compare state to state. Even then, state tests many times were horribly designed because poorly educated stated created poor tests.

There you have it, something like the ACT/SAT, but more generalized for K-12 progression to monitor a child's development and areas of concern.

oh humanity! we're doomed!! (0)

zr (19885) | about 7 months ago | (#47385749)

disclaimer, i'm apple all the way, and don't particularly like google, but i can't hold my sarcasm back on this one..

speaking from a non-graduate (0)

Joe Johnson (3720117) | about 7 months ago | (#47385775)

The programmer today is only as good as the car mechanic 50 years ago. Training should begin at an early age. Unless you want the US education system to continue its perpetual downfall.

This is what I learned in school! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47385805)

Click here [lmgtfy.com] for answer.

the problem with cs4all, code.org et al (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47385817)

These programs are born of a fundamental misunderstanding. The misunderstanding is that if you just teach enough CS basics and a bit of programming, students will flock to become developers and software engineers. That's just not how these professions work, nor any profession for that matter. You can teach some students maths on end, and all they will take from it is that they hate math. Teach some music as much as you want, if they lack talent they will not become musicians. So forcing CS education onto pupils, bombarding them with abundant knowledge about programming, CS and computers in general will achieve -- well, next to nothing. It will cost a lot though. Money that could be put to better use. For example, give it to startup entrepreneurs, people with real engineering skills and the drive to achieve something grand and new, but without the marketing wiz or the finances to make their business work. Instead, the money will disappear in a maze of hidden channels, not least into positions like the one advertised above ("Computer Science Instructional Support Specialist" -- this title alone makes me shiver)

Larry Page and Sergei Brin of all people should know that, at least it is surprising that they shouldn't.

Re:the problem with cs4all, code.org et al (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47387047)

Yep, this is the hidden gem comment. Problem is, Page and Brin wants cheap drones for their world domination plans. (And I don't hate Google, I like their search engine much better than Altavista's back in the day.)

Re:the problem with cs4all, code.org et al (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 7 months ago | (#47388593)

These programs are born of a fundamental misunderstanding

Yup. My daughter went thru all the "grrrlz in STEM" stuff thru 12 years of schooling.
She ended up becoming a statistician but I suspect she would have done that regardless. All of her other classmates who went thru the same extra-curriculars and science AP classes ended up going into interior design and anthropology.Those women-in-engineering initiatives are a good idea, but they miss a most basic point--there is a huge disincentive for guys to be smart in school, geeky, teacher's pet crap. It's always been that way yet there is a certain percentage of guys who go into tech anyway.

Substituting one class for another is probably not going to address that education issue.

short answer: NO (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 months ago | (#47385819)

No, google does not have too much influence. It just seems that way because few people had impactful influence before they started tossing money around. And the reason we are being flooded about it has more to do with the targets and a good PR department.

What we are seeing is largely to much PR. Influence in these areas seem to be lacking altogether else we wouldn't have these "look at us" stories all the time.

It's time (2, Insightful)

Kuberz (3568651) | about 7 months ago | (#47385841)

It's time schools went to free market.

Right now, as it stands, if you can't afford a private school for your child, your only real option is to put your child into the public indoctrination system. The system run by inefficient bureaucrats.

In my county, it costs an average of $12,000 per year, per child. That's for public education. Our most renowned private school is roughly $8,000 per year in tuition. This private school has a top level education. It is not uncommon for children to be held back when transferring to this school, as they have very high standards.

You want to make sure children get a better education? Let them use the money that is being spent anyway, to send their child to whichever school they chose.

This creates competition in the education system. Competition between schools will inevitably lead to competition between educators. Which will inevitably lead to better educations, and a greater variety of educational courses.

You could then offer grant money to schools with specific programs that met specific criteria (like a school that offers a CS class, that proves through some method, that children are competent to some degree, to meet whatever criteria laid out in the grant).

Or we could dump money into the hands of people that have already have shown they have no idea how to handle it.

Re:It's time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47385927)

You mean, allow all schools to charge parents $8,000 per student on top of the $12,000 they get in grants and funds through taxes? The private schools get their share of that per student enrolled, you surely realize?

Re:It's time (1)

Kuberz (3568651) | about 7 months ago | (#47386323)

I'm no expert, but I believe this depends heavily on the district. I believe some private schools receive Title I funding, but am unaware of the stipulations for said funding.

But at the end of the day our tax dollars are paying for education. Should we not then have the ability to chose the education those dollars go towards?

Re:It's time (1)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#47388681)

But at the end of the day our tax dollars are paying for education. Should we not then have the ability to chose the education those dollars go towards?

While I agree with this point, the AC post was illustrating that the private school is likely doing better simply because they have $20k per student to work with, and not just the $12k public schools have per student. It may not be the full $20k, but it is surely much more than $8k.

Your argument could be shifted to saying that we should simply spend more per child, but claiming the private schools do more with less money is not backed up by the facts of any studies I am aware of.

Re:It's time (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 7 months ago | (#47401303)

Actually, no that's not how it works in most places. There have been some efforts, but very few success in establishing "voucher" type programs whereby public money follows the child to wherever they attend. In most cases the money just doesn't get paid out since it can only go to the public school and the head count is one fewer. In nearly all states, the private school is funded just the same as a private college, by means of tuition and endowments.

Re:It's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386791)

... most renowned private school is roughly $8,000 per year in tuition ...

Does this school demand students buy uniforms and textbooks plus bus services, more uniforms and textbooks for after-school scholastic events? If so, the cost of enrollment is substantially more than $8,000. In my country, private schools still get a sizable subsidy from government (about half the per-student cost), meaning the parent is paying the rest of the tuition plus privatized costs, not the full cost of tuition. A private school can evict troublemakers, making a better learning environment. But this does not increase the number of student high-achievers: Just as many high-achievers come from the public school system. From what I've heard recently, discipline at private schools has dropped dramatically over the last few decades.

... creates competition in the education system ...

There's already competition in the education system: It's called examination results. The education systems doesn't allow teachers to compete. Schools cannot really compete, although national literacy/numeracy exams are promoting this. No, this creates competition for a fixed resource: Enrollment at the school. Due to barriers to entry (building new classrooms/schools, front-line salaries, and frozen budgets), increasing demand will not produce more private schools, classrooms, or teachers. This demand will instead by be bled by higher tuition fees, 'summer' schools, extra-curricular tuition, and just-like college; application-fattening after-school scholastic events.

Re:It's time (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 7 months ago | (#47386865)

School vouchers have failed everywhere they've been tried.

Re:It's time (1)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#47388695)

School vouchers have failed everywhere they've been tried.

Other than just asking you to cite your source, a quick google search can easily prove this statement is false. Well perhaps not false, but we would never know because there is so much "proof" on both sides of the argument. For instance the first post I found was a Wall Street Journal article showing that D.C. voucher recipients had graduation rates of 91%, compared to their public school average of 56%. There are plenty of people explaining these types of results away as not being caused by the voucher system alone, but it is pretty ignorant to just assert school vouchers are all failures.

Re:It's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47387083)

I've been teaching for 10 years, mostly to low income high risk kids and I've come to the conclusion that rich people do not want their kids going to school with my kids. Let them all go to private school sounds like a great idea, but this is why it will never happen.

Re:It's time (1)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#47388733)

I've been teaching for 10 years, mostly to low income high risk kids and I've come to the conclusion that rich people do not want their kids going to school with my kids.

This is sadly one of the few effective ways to ensure your school is high achieving. Just make sure only upper middle class students attend. I just bought a house in the best school district in my state (arguably of course, there are 2-3 others that are just as good) and there will be very few working class students going to my children's schools. The district doesn't keep them out by making the taxes higher than neighboring areas, or by making schools charge parents, but instead by zoning housing so that only $300k+ homes are built within school limits. The average home value of the district is just over $450k, and this is in the Chicago suburbs not San Fransisco or New York. Tax rates don't have to be higher for these schools, because the higher home values ensure that total revenue is higher and that only upper middle class students can attend.

The way our schools are funded is very unfortunate, but I have to accept that I am doing everything I can to take advantage of the situation. Possibly risking my children's future just to take a stand seems pretty silly.

Re:It's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47387331)

Public school's can't reject, therefore it's a race to the bottom with this type of unfair playing field.

Re:It's time (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 7 months ago | (#47389443)

That's one way to possibly solve the problem. If you've got a long time to work with and aren't concerned with what happens to the kids currently in the programs. It'd turn out badly in areas of low affluence. When California tried reducing class sizes without thinking about making more qualified teachers, as jobs opened at the schools in affluent areas, the good teachers ran to them and the schools in poor areas had to hire crap teachers just to fill the jobs. Quality of education plummeted right in lock step with how wealthy the neighborhoods were.

The other way would be to do what the top education graded countries do. All education free from kindergarten to college. Longer school days but about 50% of it extracurricular and fun. Highly trained and certified teachers. Low student to teacher ratios. Minimal standardized testing since the teachers are trusted to handle education issues in the class room and the low ratios and rigorous teacher certification actually allow that to happen. We happen to be doing the exact opposite.

I have a son in public elementary school and have dealt with the issues. The principal is a bureaucrat and low grade politician, but she isn't very good at it. She'd last about a month as a first line manager in a fortune 500 company. The superintendent is a pure politician. Neither has an education bone in their body. The teachers are all unionized, and right now they're forcing out one of the best teachers in the school because they keep expanding class sizes (past 30 to one teacher) and she's got the least tenure. Half the teachers suck so badly I'm surprised the kids learn anything. Some are decent, but badly undertrained or inexperienced and the huge class load burns them out.

There's a big push to use technology as a teaching replacement. Only problem is that many of the younger kids have no computer experience. What's worse is I live in an extremely affluent area, yet mommy doesn't want little Jimmy playing with her computer and many of them won't cough up the $200 for a dedicated machine for the kid.

This is the top end experience for public schools, due to the affluence in my area. Schools in run down areas are horrific by comparison. Private schools aren't much of a panacea. There is very little to go on when trying to figure out which private schools are good and which aren't. Many of the better private schools are religion based and after my experience with private Catholic schools, I'll just say no thank you. A lot of the private schools are really no better than the public schools and if you complain, they'll show you the door and keep your tuition. Plenty more people in line waiting to pay.

We know how to do it. There are dozens of countries that spend a fraction of what we spend and they don't depend on competition. Our universities and major companies are full of their graduates. We'll just keep doing the same wrong things over and over again (and moreso!) and hope to magically end up with a different result.

I can feel it now (3, Interesting)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 7 months ago | (#47385907)

I can just feel it now, my job prospects dwindling in the next 10 years. Well gotta start working on plan B.

Re:I can feel it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386033)

I have a degree in mathematics, a required hs course. forcing everyone to take math has not caused a deluge of mathematics majors. why would any other subject be different?

Re:I can feel it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386211)

For one thing, math has been a core subject for a very long time in pretty much every educational system popular in the U.S. Try taking away math from the curriculum and see how many fewer people end up with a degree in mathematics.

If you start having children take lots of courses on electricity -- hey, it's science, we all use it everyday, it only makes sense -- you can pretty well expect that the job market for electricians, and quite likely electrical engineers, is going to become flooded and see salaries plummet in a generation or so.

Re:I can feel it now (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 7 months ago | (#47388607)

I have a degree in mathematics, a required hs course. forcing everyone to take math has not caused a deluge of mathematics majors. why would any other subject be different?

We haven't taken a good hard look at education in general.
For grades 9-12, there are four years required for English. Why?
And more importantly, how well does that work for us as a nation?

Re:I can feel it now (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 7 months ago | (#47401473)

When bouncing orange balls and body slamming people to take possession of brown eggs stops taking precedence over math, science, history, civics, etc. then I'll be happy to consider whether courses intended to develop effective communication skills should be put on the block.

It just for the media (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386091)

Google has had a lot of bad press about diversity and tax avoidance recently. They are throwing some small change away to change the story and keep their stock prices high. It won't make any difference.

The whole idea of cut and paste programming and gamification to get kids programming is an hour is crazy and has never been shown to work. It's being used to simply to funnel kids into courses to data mine them or milk them for tutorial fees. A much more sensible approach would be integrating programming into the math syllabus. That means unsexy stuff like designing and distributing course materials,training teachers and funding schools. Not printing the number of lines "coded" on your website with a mouse as a marketing gimmick.

There's no point in teaching flow control to kids who haven't mastered maths, negative numbers and logic or can't comprehend the manuals. There's no point teaching algorithm design to people who haven't mastered algebra, abstraction, problem solving, exponentials and logarithms. There's no point teaching R to people who haven't mastered statistics and at the calculus that underlies it.

The idea that taken hold of everything being a skill you have to start learning by rote through flash cards as soon as you pop out of the womb so you will be the best ever at it is crazy. Kids need exposure to language, play and interaction but they don't need to start formal schooling until they turn 7. All the data shows that kids who start schooling at 7 do better. Formal education for kids younger than that is more about free state childcare than education. Kids have a lot to learn before they will get anything out of coding so they can supply industry with cheaper skilled labour.

You are fallacious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386111)

and the weakest link - Goodbye

Shi7? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386237)

What is with the title you hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386265)

Come on, none of the articles go into the google hate. Considering how much google puts into the open source movement is grates that you use click bait titles like this while linking a bunch of article talking about the good things google is doing. If you don't want to report on google doing reasonable things then switch to bashing someone else.

Miserable post.

well, teaching how to click through Microsoft Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386327)

The teaching of clicking through Microsoft Word, Excell, and PowerPoint can calling it computer classes has done wonders so how could actually teaching coding be so terrible. Unless keeping the public computer illiterate is really the goal.

Yes (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#47386361)

However, modern corporations have to much influence over everything.

Does anyone here REMEMBER K-12 computer science? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47386437)

One of my few successes in adulthood is remembering what it was like to be a kid. It helps give me perspective.

I grew up in the 90s and graduated high school in 2006. I remember computer science. It consisted of a 40-60 minute class with 1 minute of work. The exercise assigned to me would take 90 seconds to complete. Maybe 150 seconds if you were special ed.

Then you'd sit and play computer games for the rest of the hour and wait for the instructor to come over and inspect that whatever copy & paste or draw-with-the-turtle thingie you made was according to the assignment. Sometimes you had to play games from The Learning Company, or vocabulary games.

There was no learning GWbasic, java, python, shell commands, network architecture. There was no science. There was no learning. If you spent five minutes a day on a computer for personal entertainment as a six year old, you learned more than you would in K-12 computer "science."

It WAS a great excuse to sit in air conditioning for an hour a day.. if you went to a public school that didn't have A/C.

And every five years someone would donate 1 million dollars to the school, which would be used to buy equipment no one had the time nor inclination to set up, that would sit in a closet for five to ten years - only to be taken out once it was already obsolete. No change would be made to the curriculum.

My parents were poor but they had a shack house in a wealthy neighborhood, so I was going to schools that had a budget - not some ghetto dump. They were all the same.

I am ok with someone having ANY influence over the current state of computer science in the K-12 environment. You can't make it worse if you tried.

Re:Does anyone here REMEMBER K-12 computer science (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 7 months ago | (#47386645)

Are you sure that was intended to be computer science? Lots of schools basically have a "play with Excel/Word" class, but most don't pretend it's CS. There is such a thing as real HS computer science - such as the AP class listed in the TFS. APCS A was basically "learn Java" with a few sorts (insertion/selection to motivate, and merge to actually use) and (simple) data structures thrown in like a binary search tree - but APCS AB, which is now discontinued unfortunately, had real stuff - heaps, binary trees, maps and sets, some complexity theory, several additional sorts (heap and quick) and if I remember correctly even a few balanced binary trees. Pretty much what I did in my freshman spring "intro to data structures" class.

There's definitely real CS available for those who want it, though if the school doesn't have APCS or has a shitty version of it you may be better off doing your own thing or taking a class at a local college - most HS are actually perfectly happy to accept that for credit (and let you miss part of school to do it), by the way.

Re:Does anyone here REMEMBER K-12 computer science (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 7 months ago | (#47386949)

Most of the schools that I am familiar with classify such classes as "computer science". My eldest son sat through all of his high school's "CS" classes, and got top grades in everything. He is barely computer literate. That is - he can install Windows on a machine. And, he excels at gaming.

The youngest son stated quite clearly all through school that the so-called "CS" classes were a waste. He spent his school hours on computers teaching himself. He would whip out that pathetic excuse of an "exercise", and instead of joining an online game, he would study programming. You know - something related to "computer science". I can claim credit for teaching that youngest son ABOUT Linux, but he taught himself Linux while sitting in front of a wasted computer at school.

A motivated student can't ever be held back. IMHO, these CS classes are designed to hold people back. Familiarize the student with Microsoft-centric programs, and stop education right there.

Re:Does anyone here REMEMBER K-12 computer science (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 7 months ago | (#47388645)

these CS classes are designed to hold people back

I disagree. The CS classes (like most) are designed to be easy to teach (especially for a non-techie) and easy to grade. That's why they are as useless as most other classes.

whut? (1)

llamapater (1542875) | about 7 months ago | (#47386855)

Influence? They own what they fund. If you don't like it put money down.

No, they dont, else they wouldn't spend $50M (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 7 months ago | (#47386995)

That they could be spending on PAC's and H1-B programs.

Did you ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47387233)

...ask the same about MS as it has been giving and teaching it's own closed software in schools around the world for decades?
  Google is mostly supportig and teaching open standard and source.

Re:Did you ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47387737)

No company, whether Microsoft or Google, should be involved in education like they currently are. They seek not to help provide kids with educations, but to turn schools (more) into job training facilities.

if they do... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#47387931)

If they do, it's because other large corporations have declined to become as involved as Google has.

Horrible (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 7 months ago | (#47389377)

I totally hate it when billion dollar companies dump money into education. I spend so much time turning the whole thing over in my head looking for the downside that its too much of a time waster.

But the tone of the article is correct. Instead of corporations investing and looking for ways to innovate, we should keep having substandard teachers, throw billions into testing because we don't know if the teachers are any good, and somewhere along the line we'll magically have good education by doing the exact opposite of what successful education programs around the world are doing.

Someone needs to step up and do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47394139)

If Google has some sort of undue influence over computer K-12 science education it isn't really their fault. I am glad that someone is stepping up to address this need and the fact that it is a need at all can be placed solely at the feet of the standardized performance tests that totally ignore computer science.

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