The New York Times published an interesting article about how Silicon Valley companies have pushed coding into public schools.
Natasha Singer writes:
At a White House gathering of tech titans last week, Timothy D. Cook, the chief executive of Apple, delivered a blunt message to President Trump on how public schools could better serve the nation’s needs. To help solve a “huge deficit in the skills that we need today,” Mr. Cook said, the government should do its part to make sure students learn computer programming.
“Coding,” Mr. Cook told the president, “should be a requirement in every public school.”
The Apple chief’s education mandate was just the latest tech company push for coding courses in schools. But even without Mr. Trump’s support, Silicon Valley is already advancing that agenda — thanks largely to the marketing prowess of Code.org, an industry-backed nonprofit group.
This push coincides with corporations’ interest in public education and a shift to a focus on workforce development to be ready for “21st-century jobs.”
Would these jobs certainly include computer programming right?
The article questions the motives behind this.
Computer science is also essential to American tech companies, which have become heavily reliant on foreign engineers. Mr. Trump’s efforts to limit immigration make Code.org’s teach-Americans-to-code agenda even more attractive to the industry.
In a few short years, Code.org has raised more than $60 million from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Salesforce, along with individual tech executives and foundations. It has helped to persuade two dozen states to change their education policies and laws, Mr. Partovi said, while creating free introductory coding lessons, called Hour of Code, which more than 100 million students worldwide have tried….
…. But Code.org’s multilevel influence machine also raises the question of whether Silicon Valley is swaying public schools to serve its own interests — in this case, its need for software engineers — with little scrutiny. “If I were a state legislator, I would certainly be wondering about motives,” said Sarah Reckhow, an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University. “You want to see public investment in a skill set that is the skill set you need for your business?”
Public dollars to help prepare future employees for these companies. There was a time workforce development, and job training was done by the companies themselves. Now they want us to pay for it.