Columnist and RR reader George Boardman wrote an excellent and timely critique of California’s STEM education available today in our secondary schools. Not only did he present relevant stats on the status of courses offered across the state, he also gave a chilling summary of the new revisionist history and social studies subjects that are being emphasized. Mr Boardman makes the point that California is no longer educating the technology workforce for industries for which we are still recognized. It seems that now Silicon Valley imports its talent from other states and countries.
Under the state’s progressive tsunami, we are diving for the mud in more areas than can be tracked. The collectivist mindset has become a plague across the land, and most virulent in the now cynically named Golden State. The themes in Mr Boardman’s observations have been a constant in these pages for the life of RR, and I welcome its reprise in our community’s newspaper, no matter that it was relegated to the bottom half of his entire offering that opened with some local vanilla-flavored fare.
Oh what the hell, here’s the relevant part of the column filched from the 25jul16 Union. I can hardly wait for the screams from the Left. (Truth be told, I’m envious that I didn’t submit the very same article.)
California technology companies have made numerous, important contributions to the computer-driven world we live in today. Much of that work was done in Silicon Valley, a major driver of the state’s economy.
The world’s sixth largest economy will have to fill an estimated 200,000 information technology jobs in the next 10 years, as well as numerous other well-paid positions that will require computer skills that aren’t being taught in California’s high schools today.
About 35,000 public high school students were enrolled in courses dedicated to computer programming or computer science last school year, according to state figures. Another 22,000 were in engineering or technology courses that likely involve learning computer code. There are 2 million high school students in California.
“Folks are kind of shocked that California is not one of the states that you talk about when you talk about good computer science policy,” said Amy Kirotaka of Code.org, a nonprofit that promotes computer science education. “We haven’t seen anything come out of California in the way we have other states.”
This makes it difficult for public high school students — a majority of them non-white — to be full participants in California’s increasingly technology driven economy. In fact, it’s one of the reasons cited by high tech companies to explain why they have so few blacks and Latinos in their workforce.
Take Facebook, one of the least diverse companies in Silicon Valley. Maxine Williams, global head of diversity, points out that only one in four U.S. high schools teach computer science, making it difficult for students to acquire the skills they need to work for tech companies. (More high school students in Nevada County take drama classes than are enrolled in computer science classes, according to state figures.)
But never mind that. California’s education establishment is busy revising history and social studies books to make sure everybody — and I mean everybody — gets their story told.
Earlier this month, the state Board of Education approved changes in classroom instruction for K-8 students to enact state legislation that added LGBT Americans and people with disabilities to the list of social and ethnic groups whose contributions schools are supposed to teach.
The law also prohibits classroom materials that reflect adversely on gays or particular religions. Second graders will learn about families with two moms or dads, and fourth graders will hear how Harvey Milk became a pioneering gay politician in San Francisco.
Yet to be decided for K-12 students is how the new guidelines will discuss Muslims, Hindus and Jews, and such controversial subjects like Japan’s use of “comfort women” during World War II, or the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey a century ago.
All of this is designed to raise self-esteem and promote inclusiveness of all Americans. “It’s about people’s stories and for so long, the stories have been narrowly told,” said Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association.
It’s too bad we’re not putting that kind of effort into improving the technology skills of those students. It’s been my experience that a sizable, regular paycheck does wonders for self-esteem.
George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at email@example.com.