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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0 673

Posted by timothy
from the got-enough-of-the-other-kind-already dept.
theodp (442580) writes "'Public school teachers,' reads the headline at Khan Academy (KA), 'introduce your students to coding and earn $1000 or more for your classroom!' Read the fine print, however, and you'll see that the Google-bankrolled offer is likely to ensure that girls, not boys, are going to be their Computer Science teachers' pets. 'Google wants public high school students, especially girls, to discover the magic of coding,' KA explains to teachers. 'You'll receive a $100 gift code for every female student who completes the [JS 101: Drawing & Animation] course. When 4 or more female students complete it, we'll email you an additional $500 gift code as a thank-you for helping your students learn to code.' While 'one teacher cannot have more than 20 of the $100 gift codes activated on their projects,' adds KA, 'if the teacher has more than 20 female students complete the curriculum, s/he will still be sent gift codes, and the teacher can use the additional gift codes on another teacher's project.' So, is girls-are-golden-boys-are-worthless funding for teachers' projects incongruent with Khan Academy's other initiatives, such as its exclusive partnership with CollegeBoard to eliminate inequality among students studying for the SAT?"
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:49AM (#46712787)

    How is this not sex discrimination? Or does the US not have such laws against discriminating based on gender?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:56AM (#46712835)

    If the reward were equally spread amongst boys and girls, girls would simply continue to fall behind in such areas. There is already an inequality in schools in that subject. Schools also get special grant money for minorities and the disabled who attend their institution. This is no different.

  • Re:The real lesson (Score:1, Insightful)

    by generic_screenname (2927777) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:57AM (#46712849)

    Teach girls coding, girls trick guys into doing coding for them.

    This kind of crap is why women don't want to work in IT.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:03AM (#46712907)

    Even the government has to the right to discriminate against white males-- take a look at SBIR/STTR and small business programs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:04AM (#46712923)

    Don't worry, the powers that be have covered that unique case. Apparently, discrimination can only legally happen if it's against a "protected class" (see So if you are a white straight male, or in some cases a male period, you are not a "protected class" and therefore discrimination cannot happen.


  • by squiggleslash (241428) * on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:05AM (#46712925) Homepage Journal

    Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!

    It might be worth determining why "sex discrimination" is an issue, and seeing whether the concept is a problem in this case for the same underlying problems, rather than simply jumping on it and implying it's wrong because it's discrimination.

    In particular, we are NOT in a situation where men/boys feel they're unable, or that it's undesirable, to follow a career in the computing fields, and the policy above doesn't and will not change that. Should that change, should men genuinely end up being excluded and unable to enter a legitimate career field like this one, then we obviously need to re-examine the policies in question.

    We often say "X is wrong" as shorthand for "X, when done with the effect of Y, is wrong". We say, for example, that kidnapping is wrong. That doesn't stop us from non-consensually grabbing suspected kidnappers off the street, handcuffing them, stuffing them in the back seat of a police car, and after following a lengthy legal process to make sure we got the right person, sticking them in an 8x8 cell they can't escape from. How is that not kidnapping? Well, it is kidnapping, but it's considered acceptable for a reason...

  • Re:The real lesson (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:06AM (#46712935)

    So, the girls get Google to fight their fight while the boys do it on their own, and you don't expect that to have any effect on the women?

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:08AM (#46712961)

    Then you are not going to be very productive anyway.

    If you have to bribe people to code, they clearly do not enjoy coding.

  • Affirmative Action (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:08AM (#46712967)

    Affirmative Action [] is one of many useful tools in equalising people where inequality exists. It's not always appropriate, but here it seems like it'd be beneficial (provided they can't game the system). Encouraging the participation of females in computer science is a good thing; having females choose another profession purely because they believe CS is a 'male thing' is sad.

    The SAT comparison is beyond moronic, and I assume the poster is aware of that. Stop trying to create drama out of nothing - leave that to the professional media outlets, because you'll never beat them at their game.

  • by Andover Chick (1859494) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:09AM (#46712971)
    In school sports the boy's sports programs are granted a lot more money, even with Title 9. Do you think Ole Miss or Ohio State are as generous as the girls programs (including admissions) as they are with boys football? If benefactors want to pay girls more to learn programming then it is wonderful?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:10AM (#46712995)

    > There is a problem with the number of girls who go into technical fields such as coding and engineering and that problem needs to be solved.


    I know five nurses, all woman. Two of them earn over $100K a year. Very few men work as nurses. Is that a problem that needs to be solved?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:13AM (#46713027)

    How is this not sex discrimination? Or does the US not have such laws against discriminating based on gender?

    It does, but it only works if the perceived discrimination is against a woman. Just like the US race discrimination laws only work for certain races and have been found by the courts as not applying to others.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:14AM (#46713045)

    Even hardcore feminists start to disagree with "positive discrimination", i.e. preference of women to men when hiring. Because it defeats the goal of equality and equal treatment.

    As long as it remains, the misogynists will have the argument that the woman only got her position because she's the "quote female", the woman that had to be hired to fulfill some kind of bullshit law. She can be successful, she can be not only good at her job, she can be better than any man in the role, yet still she's going to be the "quota woman".

    If you want equality, start at being equal. Slap every HR idiot with the book of law if he doesn't hire you because you're a woman, but don't insist in getting a "woman quota". You're hurting the struggle for equal rights more than the HR idiot ever could.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:15AM (#46713055)

    Hey just as long as you are considered part of the Majority you are perfectly fine to be discriminated against.

    However I think the real issue isn't as much of lack to trying to teach women how to code. But their particular interest in coding isn't there.

    Women who major in computer science face pressure from other women.
    Why do you want to go to Computer Science only guys do that?
    Do you want to major in a degree where it is full of dorks?
    Well I a majoring in a degree where I can directly help people. What are you doing with computer science, you will just be making money for yourself.

    Sure a woman will get some negative feelings form guys. But they will get it from guys in any major where there will be straight guys there. High School and College age students are extremely keen on attracting a mate. If you are a women in a mostly male degree than these males will fight for your attention, by showing that they are alpha males in their field. This is often at the expense of making it seem like the female isn't as good, so the alpha male can come in and save the day.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:16AM (#46713069) Homepage

    This is so flagrantly sexist that it's absurd. But luckily for Google, it's the politically correct form of sexism. It's been decreed that programming being male dominated is bad, and thus taking sexist action to fix it is okay.

    This of course totally ignores that university education as a whole has become majority female, and many professions are becoming majority female that didn't used to be. That by and large we're doing a lousy job of educating boys is not considered a problem, so making that problem worse by trying to exclude them from one of the areas they still do well in is considered okay.

    Sure, it's total BS. But it's PC BS, and that's good enough, right?

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:17AM (#46713079)

    If the teacher can only hope to get paid if he teaches girls, it pretty much means boys are disallowed from participating.

    Tell you what: Try to start a contest like that with the stakes reversed. I.e. get paid for boys and get jack for girls. Then watch the shitstorm.

  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:22AM (#46713137)

    Why women apparently feel unable or unwilling to following a career in the computing fields.

    Just look at the comments here in this "enlightened place."

    Assholes abound.


  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:28AM (#46713193) Journal

    know five nurses, all woman. Two of them earn over $100K a year. Very few men work as nurses. Is that a problem that needs to be solved?

    Yes. Why do people keep asking this?

    But it's probably best discussed on a healthcare related forum. Slashdot is a tech one so we concentrate on problems in the tech industry, because that's what we know and what we see.

    You can ask about primary school teachers too if you wish. The answer is the same: yes.

    But I'm never going to do anything about either of those because I have no connection to either segment.

  • Ah, how nice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:30AM (#46713221)

    The hypocrisy of feminism and so-called 'affirmative action' is once again in full sunlight for all to see. Nice to know that google is funding the use of relevant discriminators to decide who is worthy for khan's program. Oh, wait..

    Please, don't bother replying with the whole 'check your privilege' thing, because it's women (and the other protected castes) who have the privilege today. This is because left wing doctrine insists on a default assumption that one group as a whole is oppressed and the other, the oppressor, based solely on the attribute(s) that isn't/aren't supposed to matter. The proof for 'patriarchy', today, requires diving into some nutty math (like that 77% on the dollar myth) and conspiracy theory, but the proof for 'matriarchy' (enforced by male as well as female feminist politicians), is in the law, on university campuses, and in the media.

    If we want a society that operates on equal opportunity, we need law that doesn't compel private organizations to discriminate (in selecting for or against) on supposedly irrelevant attributes.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:31AM (#46713241)
    What, you still think that the actual wording of the law matters any more?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:33AM (#46713263)

    That's mostly true but not 100% of the time. Age is a protected class, for example, but only for 40+. You can happily discriminate against people for being too young.

  • Well, the problem is seeing sick people in the hospital and thinking the doctors are making people sick. Correlation is not causation. Girls have equal opportunity and are making the choice not to be in CS and IT, that doesn't mean there's sexism or any reason to try to fix it. I mean, we don't have a shortage of STEM workers. []

    Hell, even the girls that DO like to code are looking at Silicon Valley, where you're considered dead at the family raising age of 40, and making far better decisions about the future than the silly guys who will do what they like to do whether it's very profitable or smart in the long term sense -- Just look at the Mathematicians and Scientists who scrap and fight for funding, they're not doing it for the money... You can code for a hobby and make games or something, but have a real job elsewhere that's got more stability than churn.

    So what's the deal? If they know men and women are different, [] and that cross-culturally more egalitarian societies have even larger sex differences (probably because people are more free to do what they like doing), then they know no amount of teaching girls to code is going to fix the "gender gap" in the shitty STEM fields. So what's up with all the claims of anti-women discrimination when there isn't any evidence of that at all in the west? Ah, well they can leverage false guilt and shame and say, "We tried as hard as we can! We have a shortage of female workers in STEM! Title IX! Let us have more (lower paid) H1B employees and to correct the SEXIST M:F ratio!" You don't want to be called a SEXIST even if we have absolutely zero evidence of that, do you?! Ugh.

    Yeah, that's exactly what's going on. To be perfectly clear: We can accept that our gender differences will produce trends in the workplace without limiting individuals to only following the trends, and without or shaming them if they do so. However, all this inequality nonsense is rubbish. Equal Opportunity won't produce equal ratios of M:F because males and females are different! [] Look, it's not sexist that there are so few male romance novelists, right? Guys just don't want to do that job nearly as much as women do. Where's the research that shows the percentage of girls vs guys that actually enjoy STEM work (not just those that think they'll enjoy it as a prestigious high status position, then bail, like 80% of female participants from my gamedev group, when they realize how much time and social life they'll be sacrificing for thankless work mostly no one will appreciate)? I mean, you'd think that before shouting "SEXISM" they'd at least want to know for sure that it's not just women opting to take a different career path (like therapy, psychiatry, teaching or other female dominated fields), Right?!

    Wrong. Where's the outrage that there aren't enough male teachers, therapists, romance novelists, or more female coal miners, brick layers, waste management technicians, etc? Isn't that "sexist"? These Social Justice Warrior campaigns are just self selecting data and refusing to test the null hypothesis so they can leverage false victimhood to suit their political and economic agendas just like they've been doing so for at least the past three decades. [] You can expect as much from these fucking sexist and racist bigots, always. Not satisfied with making College into a social justice indoctrination camp [] they're bringing the totalitarian Orwellian bullshit to the lower grade levels; The better to brain wash your kids with, my dear.

    Next thing you know they'll want

  • by StrangeBrew (769203) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:50AM (#46713453)
    Bribing public servants to focus all of their attention on one particular sex in a classroom sounds like illegal activity to me.
  • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:54AM (#46713501)

    Men are 70-90% of the homeless and well over 90% of workplace deaths and suicides but barely 1/3 of college graduates. Not only ARE we in a situation where men are unable to follow a career in these fields, we're in a situation where men are unable to follow a career in virtually EVERY field or in many cases even *continue to live*.

    I'd say we've got a pretty big freaking problem.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:58AM (#46713557) Journal

    The solution to unfair discrimination is not more unfair discrimination.

    Really/ Because in the example provided it worked, and in fact was not unfair. The results were that men and women were awarded jobes on an equal footing.

    Given that afterwards, men and women were ranked the same according to achievements, please enlighten me as to how this was unfair?

  • Re:Ah, how nice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pope (17780) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:13AM (#46713715)

    Yes, pity the middle class, white, christian, male and his lack of opportunity in the USA.

  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:34AM (#46713991)

    BMO was rather obviously trying to answer the implied question (that needs to be solved if the issues are to be addressed) "Why (are) women apparently (...) unable or unwilling to following a career in the computing fields".

    Winner winner chicken dinner.

    I'm as guilty of it as most, I'd guess.

    As am I, but I have been making an effort to be less so, sometimes.

    There is much said about how the IT and computing fields are meritocracies. Recent articles even here have put the lie to that.


  • by GT66 (2574287) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:50AM (#46714221)
    Google has picked a side. Fine. I'll use my freedom of choice to choose another product. Google and its partner corporations have chosen to actively deny males from participation. I see no reason then, as a male, to actively support those corporations that promote bigotry against 50% of the population while simultaneously expecting that same 50% of the population to support their profits. I'm out and Google can go fuck itself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @11:07AM (#46714451)

    Not exactly. It's just that in the not-so-distant past, white males were a protected class—the only protected class. The first professional coders were commonly women until that job got prestige and status. Women were common in computer science until the early 80s, before it became an insular boys club. Math, physics, and biology have all seen increased participation from women over the last 30 years. CS participation by women dropped in those 30 years despite growth in the associated job market.

    Now do you think these Khan Academy changes will make men an endangered species in the programming world? Or are you just butthurt that an advantage is going to someone besides you?

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @11:24AM (#46714669)

    As a white male, my standardized test scores were not quite enough to qualify for certain scholarships, special programs, etc.

    A black male classmate of mine, with lower test scores, did qualify for all kinds of stuff based on those test scores plus his race...

    I prefer it being "spelled out in black and white" minority race, disadvantaged sex, poverty background, whatever, as long as the rules are written and followed.

    So much of life is decided based on unwritten, subjective decision making that so often boils down to these factors, but is unspoken, and can also hide nepotism, and worse.

  • by unimacs (597299) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:17PM (#46715277)

    Well, the problem is seeing sick people in the hospital and thinking the doctors are making people sick. Correlation is not causation. Girls have equal opportunity and are making the choice not to be in CS and IT, that doesn't mean there's sexism or any reason to try to fix it.

    There's overt sexism and there's subtle sexism.

    My son is about to enter high school and where I live we have a number of choices. The high schools try to attract students and most of them have an open house at some point during the year for current 7th and 8th graders. One of these schools set up tables in their gym for all of their extra-curricular activities. Along with all the sports and things like the chess club and drama club was the robotics club.

    I was talking to one of the parents of a girl in my son's class afterward. Even though their daughter wanted to talk to the people at the robotics club table, she refused to do so, - until all the boys from her class had left the open house. The topic of the conversation changed before I got a clear answer as to why she was worried about the boys seeing her, but clearly she was. The fact is that as a society we subtly and sometimes not so subtly encourage and discourage girls and boys from engaging in certain activities based on gender. This can be a real problem if it leaves men or women out of lucrative fields or causes worker shortages. And this is what's happening.

    And the thing is that it's gotten worse. Back in the late 80's when I got my degree about 30% of CS students were women. Now it's about 12%. The last time I tried to hire a developer I had zero women applicants.

  • Please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by machineghost (622031) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:15PM (#46716505)

    Wow, it's amazing how so many posts here completely forget about ... well about all of humany history. Yes, it is discriminatory to give girl coders a bonus. You know what else was discriminatory? Giving freed slaves 40 acres and a mule; it was absolutely unfair to say "white men, no mule for you!", but we did it anyway. How terribly unfair.

    Just because something is discriminatory doesn't make it bad, and if you live in a fantasyland where you think history just goes out the window, and everyone is equal now so we should all just be treated exactly the same ... well then you live in a fantasy land. Come to the real world.

    Now, that being said, there are often less discriminatory ways to fix past social injustices. Take affirmitive action: you can do it by race and be controversial, or you can do it by social class. If (say) African-Americans really are doing worse in society (as they are), they will be over-represented in the poorest social classes, and so a social-class based affirmitive action system would have the effect of benefiting (poor) African-Americans, without explicitly singling them out.

    But it's not like Google can say "if you're a kid (of either gender), and you can see in to the future that you're not going to become a programmer, we'll give you $100". So in this case singling out girls is absolutely the right way to go, unless you think it's a good thing to have a highly desirable profession like programming VASTLY dominated by men.

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