[Edu-sig] Programming in High School

David MacQuigg macquigg at ece.arizona.edu
Tue Dec 9 02:10:11 CET 2008

At 03:30 PM 12/8/2008 -0800, michel paul wrote:

>>>What I would like to see is a discussion of *why* there is not more teaching of programming in high school.
>I think part of the problem in the past has been the misunderstanding about tech jobs getting outsourced.  I've heard people say there's no point in becoming a programmer, because all the jobs are going overseas.  It's really kind of silly.

Stated that way, it does seem circular.  I've heard it stated more convincingly by an EE prof to a class of undergrads.  "If you go into engineering, you will be facing layoffs."  Imagine the effect of that expectation on smart students who see their buddies going into law or medicine, and getting more pay and more respect than engineers.  It's no wonder there are almost no US students in our graduate classes.  I've thought about what I would have said to those students.  It would be more like "If money is your major motivation, find another profession.  If technology is in your blood, stay with it.  Learn everything you can.  The money will come out OK."

We need a shocker like Sputnik.  Maybe this economic crisis will do it.  It's not as directly related to technical education as was Sputnik, and it may be even tougher to spend money on education now than it was in 1957, but consider the alternative.  What will we have to offer our trading partners.  Not manufacturing.  Not intellectual work.  Real estate?

I have high hopes we will come to our senses.  A year ago, I had almost everything in commodities.  Now I am switching back to stocks.  I just hope I can ride it out.

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