A friend sent me this piece: Obama: Everybody’s Got to Learn How to Code

My first reaction was “I don’t agree”. After reading it in more detail and watching the relevant piece of video, I still don’t agree. Sort of. Let me explain…

Yes, we need more engineers and scientists, less emphasis on marketing and sports. But that’s not going to happen while the jocks get all the respect and popularity and engineers are treated with disdain and disrespect. It’s a societal/cultural problem.

“The president has encouraged his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, to learn to code, although they apparently haven’t taken to it the way he’d like.”

I don’t believe that everyone has to learn to code, though I believe that everyone should grasp the basics of how computers work, we are not all cut out to be programmers.

I also don’t believe that we need to push more women into STEM; girls go where they want to go. Most pharmacy classes are 60%-70% female. Women outnumber men in America’s colleges and in the workforce.


Girls go where they want to go

If a girl wants to go into engineering, by all means encourage her, but the simple fact is that most girls don’t want to enter the STEM fields for the same reason that they don’t pursue careers as plumbers or Auto Mechanics – they just don’t want to.

“I think they got started a little bit late… Part of what you want to do is introduce this with the ABCs and the colors,”

Again, Mister President, I respectfully disagree. Aptitude for programming is not a function of age, it is a function of passion, curiosity and time. I didn’t start programming until I was 19; I’m still doing it more than thirty years later. It’s either in your blood, or it isn’t. You don’t become a programmer because a politician thinks you should, you become a programmer because it’s what you were born to do. We need to learn programming like we need to learn plumbing. Or electronics. Or carpentry. Or Auto maintenance. Some are born for it; most aren’t.

To take the Automobile analogy one step further, we all know how to drive a car, yet most of us don’t know how to change the oil or replace the brake pads. CEOs and managers don’t need to know how to program; they hire specialists who do.

I have found that the more the Federal Government insinuates itself into our education system (for which they have NO constitutional mandate), the more politically-correct it becomes – and the less effective.

  • We no longer teach the Classics or Liberal Arts (Logic/Rhetoric/History), and place little emphasis on Critical Thinking.
  • We give out A’s far too easily (I was a B/C student in school – NOBODY got straight A’s), and do not allow kids to learn how to fail.
  • We learn History, but never learn how to apply the lessons of History to the modern world.
  • Our schools have turned into glorified childcare facilities.

The teachers no longer have the ability to remove troublesome and disruptive students (and schools no longer have the ability to remove ineffective teachers), and thanks to standardized testing, they are discouraged if not prohibited from failing those students who clearly do not meet the standard. Instead we have an “everybody-gets-a-prize” mentality which encourages all students to believe that they can take on the world and win, without preparing them for the hardship and failure that is almost inevitable.

Maths, reading and science

“Could do better”.

As things stand, America spends more per child on education than any other country in the world. And we’re 38th in the rankings.

If that’s the best we can do, we should be demanding our money back.

My opinion is that the over-socialization of the school system is the nub of the problem. It is a source of amazement to me that a State-provided education is so costly, and the fact that private schools can do it better and cheaper. I think we should give parents the choice to send their kids to private schools, and give them some of the money that would have been spent on State-funded schools.

Naturally, leftoids and Socialists will foam at the mouth and flop on the floor on hearing this. Partly, I suspect, because the School system is the primary vehicle for leftist indoctrination – or maybe I am just being overly cynical. Either way, the Teachers’ Unions will also throw a hissy-fit; anything that gives parents a real choice about their children’s education would meet with their ire and opposition, since it is in direct opposition to their financial interest. But the fact remains that Private Schools can do it better and cheaper.

The little school house gave us the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Frankin and Theodore Roosevelt. The schools we have today look more like prisons.

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