[Chicago] Python in local school systems?

DeanG goodmansond at gmail.com
Thu Feb 1 17:51:46 CET 2007

Thank you for the enlightening discussion.

I can't imagine Python not being a right language for learning
computer science.  It's high level, meets the user at their level
(CLI, functions, OOP, functional, Web, Games, GUI, Scientific
analysis...), and is cost effective.
I fell in love with programming/computers with a
command-line-interface programming on early 80's computers.  Python's
CLI was a renewed joy and welcome throwback.  Is it *the* compelling
feature of Python? No, but it can be a vital one for elementary kids.
The elegant Python language made sense of modern programming concepts
and idioms buried in the constructs of other languages.
As for other topics, I would prefer to have math and functional
language concepts reinforced with Python rather than graphing
calculators and Excel.

I mentioned the 'momentum' factors primarily due to the *vocational*
aspects of high school and tech-school decision making considerations
of which languages to choose.  Frustratingly, there's a viscous circle
between those hiring from voc. ed and the voc. ed curriculum, and I
imagine it bleeds down into secondary schools.  How can Python be
compelling *and* taken seriously here?   Du-jour   novelty and Google
"uses it" helps, along with Web frameworks, but at some point Python
has cornered more Computer Science mindshare, or worse "scripting"
(and that horse is dying).    But what about the database management
shops which always seems to lean back to VeryBland languages?
Python's image lacks in the RAD DB front-end, and may also be hurt by
a perception of an obscure Open Source support channel (RTFS, JFGI
elitis or high-cost consultants).   Looks like I digressed into
frequently recurring themes the Advocacy and Edu-SIG group face.

Pascal was a learning language gone mainstream and now bygone (at
least in mindshare). Coincidentally, Pascal went the way of competing
with VB via Delphi (which is as much as I know of the languages or
history of either).  I wonder if there will be reflections of that in
the PyCon discussion.  I'm disappointed to miss it. Think there will
be transcripts?

- Dean

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