The folly of teaching computer science to high school kids
That’s Bill de Blasio’s solution anyway. Earlier this week the mayor announced that in 10 years’ time every New York City public high school would be required to offer computer science to all students.
In a remarkable bit of understatement, the New York Times reported, “meeting that goal will present major challenges.”
For instance, who the heck is going to teach it? There is already a shortage of qualified math and science teachers across the country.
And let’s stipulate that the pool of people able to teach computer science is much smaller than those who can teach biology. And then there’s this: What kind of recent graduate with any knowledge of computer science would volunteer to teach in the New York public schools?
They make oodles more money in business and get oodles more respect and opportunities for merit-based advancement in a private or parochial school.
Maybe these tech CEOs who say they want more diversity in their ranks should offer some kind of boot camp program to public school students for credit, something that would involve as little input from the mayor and his minions as possible.
Running such a program internally is bound to be a disaster. Especially in an area like computer science, which is always changing, the New York City Public schools cannot possibly hope to keep up. The equipment will be outdated before it’s even installed. And the kind of knowledge that will actually be useful in the real world is changing constantly.
This issue is actually pretty simple, but it has gotten sidetracked and complicated by this mania about “more diversity in CSIT,” (and by “diversity,” they mean women, blacks and Hispanics; the Asians and Indians already working in CSIT don’t count as diverse in the moving goalpost definition of the term), and that mania is also simple because it’s little more than black preachers shaking down SV to get them to hire their daughters and nieces who just graduated from Spelman into do nothing HR-Personnel sinecures.
It goes like this: There is a movement on to have schools teach CSIT earlier and earlier because there is the fallacious notion out there that American education is somehow bad. The fallacious notion that American education is somehow bad is out there in order to explain the mythical skills gap in the American workforce. And the mythical skills gap in the American workforce is the crutch that plutocrats, billionaires and corporations in CSIT lean on to explain why they simply must hire H-1Bs and have more H-1Bs, and they can’t hire what are really well qualified Americans.
To net it out, we’re all chasing our tails because Gates, Zuckerberg, Ellison, et al. want to pay a 23-year old unmarried Indian peanuts instead of a 40-year old white American with a wife and kids a household and family sustaining salary and benefits.