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C'est la Z

Not in with the in crowd - concerns about NYC &#35CS4All

Earlier this week, Mayor Bill deBlasio announced some ambitious CS Education Plans for NYC. I posted a response here. Now that a few days past, I thought I'd clear a few things up.

First and foremost, I hope my concerns are unfounded and I hope the plan is a tremendous success.

What's got me bummed is not that I need to see my name in lights given that in many ways I've been a CS Ed trailblazer (although who doesn't like a little ego stroking), rather that in my humble opinion NY has squandered a great opportunity and resource and as a results, kids won't get nearly all they could.

This STEMs from the fact that NYC has been unwilling to engage us, StuyCS as a resource. We've got the most experience and success in building programs, training teachers, and teaching kids. What more could you ask?

I've repeatedly reached out to and repeatedly invited in key government and DOE players in an effort to try to get them to look at our work and leverage it to do more good for more kids but over two mayors and around fifteen years, the silence we get back is deafening.

Now, this isn't to say that I don't have some friends and supporters in the CS Ed space. I consider Fred Wilson, the main man driving this from the tech sector side to be a supporter, ally and friend. His involvement is the key reason I think this whole thing might work. Likewise, many people in the tech industry who've worked with my graduates are very supportive of my efforts and my actual graduates are a wonderfully supportive family.

So why do the DOE and NYC people say they don't want to include us?

Here are some of the things I get back:

  • We want something that works for all students.

This implies that our stuff is purely a result of Stuy being a school with high achievers. My response?

  • By saying all students but excluding high achievers, you can't mean all students.
  • Other high achieving schools haven't developed anything near what we've built.

and it also ignores the fact that:

  • Our nonprofit has had kids from around 40 to 50 schools and we get rave reviews from those kids and their parents.
  • Our gender numbers far outpace the national averages.
  • We've had teachers move on to other schools and customize our work their.

and this is just the teaching part. What about our success in designing an overall program or training teachers.

Of course it doesn't help that Stuyvesant's own administration has never recognized nor supported StuyCS.

You'd think that those with the keys to the castle would engage and at least consult with the people who've been doing this successfully for over 20 years.

So who are these folk with the keys?

It's a mix of people. Some in NYC government, some in DOE, some Tech entrepreneurs, and running program. None have our experience or track record and a number have neither taught nor coded.

Why won't they really engage us?

You're guess is as good as mine but I have my suspicions.

Why am I concerned?

Because we have something to offer. NYC and DOE won't leverage us as a resource. What other missteps will they make as they try to bring CS4All.

I have no control over all of this, all I can do is work in my little corner of the world. If others want my help, my doors always open. If not, I know there will always be some parents, kids, and educators who get what we do and will benefit from it.

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