[Edu-sig] Slashdot article: Do Kids Still Program?

Chuck Allison chuck at freshsources.com
Sat Apr 29 18:41:05 CEST 2006

Hello kirby,

ku> Very apropos, thank you.

ku> And yes, making "computers" just be about Word and Excel is a terrible
ku> development.  We need to make it clear to math teachers that just
ku> using calculators is to rip students off.  One way to do this is to
ku> barrel ahead with math curricula that are, need I say it, invested in
ku> Python.

I sent the following email out to our Math Task FOrce at Utah Valley
State College this week (we do math the old-fashioned way and are
taking a lot of heat for begin too hard). The quotes are from a local
newspaper article interviewing high-tech businesses:

"And what's really staggering is that people who have some of the
two-year degrees cannot do basic math. They rely on a
calculator--garbage in, garbage out, and they don't realize it's
wrong. And that's a big problem."

They were quoting Dave Baglee, co-executive officer of IM Flash
Technologies, LLC in Lehi. He also said that when you hire a two-year
degree recipient, you're not "hiring a problem solver."

The technology programs in the state were seen as a farce by some of
the employers. "They're enrolling haircutters, and we have people
fixing hair and cutting meat, not fixing engines and building engines
and running injection moulding and doing technology types of things,
which is where I want my tax dollars to go." That was Fred

This is where our mishandling of K-12 math statewide and nationwide
has gotten us. So we'll be cutting hair and meat while India and China
lead in technology. Not a pretty sight. They also mention the home
influence: "In this state ... we have an awful lot of moms and dads
working and everybody trying to keep up, and the highest bankruptcy
rate. Everybody has to have their flat screens and stuff like this...
I think a lot of it goes goes right back to the home, and are we going
to invest in things or are we going to invest in our children?"

The rubber hits the road in business - it has to - and business
leaders seem to know what the problems are. Is anyone listening?

But none of our math folks program or know Python! Ideas? I'd be
happy to teach them if I could get them interested. Kirby, I think I
need an immersion into your stuff somehow. (In my copious spare time,
of course, which I have a negative amount of :-).

Best regards,

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