A few weeks ago, a friend asked if I knew any CS teachers that were available to work this summer. At the time, I didn't have anyone to recommend. We were still up in the air on running CSTUY's SHIP summer immersion program.
We ultimately decided not to run SHIP this summer. Mostly due to the fact that in my new position, I didn't have the time to do the necessary fund-raising and outreach. We're continuing with our Saturday program through mid May and plan to bring more opportunities to the kids of New York City in the future.
That's not what I want to write about today. That summer program looking for a teacher, let's call it program X made me think about many of the players driving K12 CS education both in NY and beyond.
It turns out, the people that were running program X didn't have a teacher, didn't have curriculum or program, and in fact didn't have a plan. What they were able to do, however, was raise money.
This is a sore spot with me - for CSTUY, we run program to program and for me, fund-raising is the hardest part. Here we have a program that has no idea as to what they're going to do or who's going to do it and they ended up with substantial capital to work this non-existent program.
It's a sore spot because I've seen it before and seen it over and over. People with either little or no CS experience, little or no teaching experience and frequently neither being anointed as thought leaders in CS Education or at the very least, the people with the "hot program."
I've seen this in companies, non-profits, for-profits, and government. Some of these groups and programs are now considered undisputed leaders when, if you dig beneath the hype, they really don't know what they're doing.
Now, there are some "thought leaders" who have been in the trenches and know their stuff but they seem few and far between.
I know that all of these people running these programs and being given this platform to influence our young are well meaning and I welcome everybody to the table but maybe, just maybe they should take a step back and ask themselves - do they really know what they're doing or are the just experimenting with other peoples children.