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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 DonorsChoose.org 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 DonorsChoose.org 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 DonorsChoose.org 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?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      this is google's money, not government money

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thaylin (555395)
        And that matters how? Sexual discrimination is not legal no matter if you are the government site or something else.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_class). 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.

          Disgusting.

          • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:18AM (#46713091)

            So if you are a white straight male, or in some cases a male period, you are not a "protected class"

            Think of the male periods!

            • by fey000 (1374173)

              I am Jack's outraged period.

              Think of me, think of me fondly
              When we've said goodbye
              Remember me once in a while
              Please promise me, you'll try ...

          • by CrankyFool (680025) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:21AM (#46713127)

            You misunderstand the concept of a "protected class."

            Employment law indicates that discrimination or harassment based on protected classifications is illegal. A protected classification is something like "gender," but not "being a woman." So if you discriminate against someone because she's a woman, that's illegal because you're discriminating based on a protected class (gender); and if you discriminate against someone because he's a man, that's ALSO illegal because you yet again are discriminating based on a protected class (gender).

            Same thing about race, national origin, and a few other classifications (military service, in a few states sexual orientation, etc).

            That doesn't mean, however, that you can't have a charity that focuses on one gender or race, or an organization focused on one gender (e.g. girl scouts or boy scouts); it also doesn't mean that an entity seeking to donate money must donate money equally to all genders -- protected classifications are an area in employment law, not every facet of life.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              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.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by StrangeBrew (769203)
                Bribing public servants to focus all of their attention on one particular sex in a classroom sounds like illegal activity to me.
          • Oh, don't I know it. The government pulls out all the stops to help these so-called "threatened" and "endangered" species when they couldn't give two craps about the problems of a regular stiff like me. It's fascism, I tell ya.

            --A concerned pigeon

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Tell that to the Girl Scouts. Or the Boy Scouts for that matter. Mens rooms, ladies rooms. I don't know how history will judge us, but currently society is quite comfortable treating men and women separately.

          • by gsslay (807818)

            The key difference is between between separate treatment and unequal treatment.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              Separate but equal was discredited a long time ago. Anyone who has ever seen the line for a mens vs a ladies room can immediately see that the situation is not equal. Boy scouts and girl scouts are not equal. Accepted norms of dress and appearance are not equal.

              • by gnick (1211984)

                If I chose to go to a strip club, I would feel appropriate tipping the (female) dancers but not the (male) bouncers with my privately owned dollars.

                At the same time, I had to foot every dollar for college because I was neither a minority, female, the son of impoverished parents, nor Christian and thus ineligible for the private scholarships. And despite being at the very top of the class, I wasn't eligible for the government ones either.

                I'm not even sure which side I'm arguing for.

                • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:45AM (#46714159)

                  If I chose to go to a strip club, I would feel appropriate tipping the (female) dancers but not the (male) bouncers with my privately owned dollars.

                  No, man, you have to get a random dance from either a dude or a lady. And they have to be a random age and weight. No discrimination allowed :)

            • Hooters (Score:4, Interesting)

              by srussia (884021) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:25AM (#46713179)

              The key difference is between between separate treatment and unequal treatment.

              The male waiters with man-boobs at Hooters definitely get unequal treatment.

          • by thaylin (555395)
            The girl scouts and boy scouts are private, and sometimes religious clubs, which have different rules then public businesses or the government, and even still the girl scouts have allowed transgender members.
        • Sexual discrimination is not legal ...

          Nonsense. Laws against discrimination are narrowly written, to protect specific classes of people, in specific circumstances. There is no general law against all discrimination.

          • by thaylin (555395)
            Yes, the protected class in these laws is gender, not women, meaning "Sexual discrimination is not legal"
            • Yes, the protected class in these laws is gender, not women, meaning "Sexual discrimination is not legal"

              Nope. Gender discrimination is illegal in hiring, firing, pay, and promotions, none of which apply here. This might be illegal if the gender of the teacher was considered, instead of the gender of the students. If you really believe there is a law against gender discrimination in the private provision of classroom incentives, then please provide a specific reference.

      • Try, just TRY to offer any kind of job in a discriminatory way biased towards men. Yes, as a private company.

        Equal opportunity laws already reach such an insane level around here that jobs that can only be done by a certain gender still have to be offered "gender neutral". Dare to show openly that you'd rather hire a man than a woman and be prepared to be sued into oblivion.

        • Funny, I've worked in a bunch of different jobs since the 1980s, the stats ran like this:

          Factory intern: lots of women, all in assembly. Repair techs were all ex-Navy and all male. Managers were all male. Out of 500 employees, there was one token male assembler and one token female manager.

          Grocery stocker: all stockmen were male, all baggers were male, all managers and department heads were male, all cashiers and the office girl were female, except for one flamer... this is a major chain with hundreds of

          • I don't know what country you hail from, but it seems to be the US. And if it is, yes, this doesn't look too good. It seems gender roles still seem to be very firmly entrenched where you are.

            I can't help but notice around here (Europe), the traditional roles started to break up a while ago. Most project managers I had to deal with lately were female, as was the PM-head. Many department heads in the company I worked with lately (a national, pretty big logistics corporation) were female. Their interface devel

            • Given that men are barely 1/3 of college graduates I'm strongly doubting his story, unless he's dealing with people solidly in previous generations.

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

              Male hairdressers are an interesting example of a cultural norm that seemed superficially to be the result of men "simply not being interested" but turns out to be just societal expectations or pressure. For example the majority of hairdressers in Japan are male. In the UK it is probably 50:50, with plenty of barbers out there.

              The same is true of engineering and IT. It's not that one gender is simply less interested, and people saying that will look pretty foolish in 30 years time. Actually they look foolis

    • 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...

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Wish I had mod points. Some people can't handle a world that is shades of grey.

      • 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 AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Women are 99% of the prostitutes. Women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic abuse. They are far more likely to be disadvantaged in their careers by lower pay for the same work as men or fear that they might decide to quit and have a family at any time between the ages of 18 and 35.

          There are gender related problems for both sexes, and we should have more organizations working to address men's problems. That doesn't detract from or lessen the severity of the issues women face, or mean we should ignore

          • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:22PM (#46716579) Journal

            Women are 99% of the prostitutes.

            A) provide scientific data to support your statistics. B) As the customers of prostitutes are overwhelmingly straight males, a major imbalance of this sort should not be surprising. You may as well say that 99% of the men who go to gay night clubs are gay or bisexual.

            Women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic abuse

            Or, at least the ones to report it. Domestic abuse of men is like the rape of men. There is such a huge stigma attached to it that men won't report it. And, even when men do report it, there is a good chance they will be forced to leave their home even if the men are the victim. Most of the laws are written so that the police must make the man leave.

            They are far more likely to be disadvantaged in their careers by lower pay for the same work as men

            Except there has been quite a bit of debunking of this by women. Recently on Planet Money, a female assistant professor from UT Austin was talking about who women ask for raises and bonuses much less than men. A few years ago, a female economist wrote a paper saying how, when choosing a job, women as a group use a different set of criteria than men.

            Men, as a group, will overwhelmingly go after the better paying job even if it the job requires nights and/or weekends, extensive travel, dirty work, working for a company they don't like or agree with, or in other ways giving up personal comfort and/or satisfaction.

            On the other hand, women, as a group, rate personal satisfaction and personal comfort at a higher level than men. Women will choose a job that pays less if it provides more personal satisfaction such as working at a favored non-profit rather than at a for-profit company. Women will choose a job lower paying job over a higher paying job if the lower paying job doesn't require onerous working conditions such as 50+ percent travel or having to work long or odd hours.

            or fear that they might decide to quit and have a family at any time between the ages of 18 and 35.

            In a way, you are proving my previous point with this. Many women choose to stay home for a year or more to have and raise children, which necessitates the men continuing to work and possibly working more hours to make up for the loss of income. Now, some women don't choose to stay home to raise the kids and work while pregnant. That is where the Family Leave Act come in. Look it up some time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by argStyopa (232550)

      It's been a mantra of the Victim Lobby (ie the Left) since the 1960s that racism, sexism, etc are not absolute values, they're vectors, as such '-isms' can only come from a position of power.

      So if a white man fires a black man, that could be (and probably is, according to dogma) racism.
      If a black man fires a white man, that cannot be racism because the black man is not contextually, culturally, or historically empowered; anything he does to the white man is so far outweighed by the evils done to him, it's a

    • by nucrash (549705)

      This is the same sex discrimination as a scholarship aimed at single mothers or getting women into STEM fields. There is a lack of women in STEM fields. Offering incentives to get people to work in areas out of their comfort zone or to get people to teach others so they can enter an area out of their comfort zone should not be discouraged.

      That would be like offering free housing to police in a slum area to bring attention to problems in the inner city.

      If we were offering incentives to women to become nurs

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      According to modern rules, it's impossible to discriminate against a white male, since we all grew up in such wealth a privilege and all. So when a black student from an affluent background goes up against a poor white student from a trailer park, obviously we need to give a hand up to the disadvantaged black student.

  • by jopet (538074) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:52AM (#46712805) Journal

    So lets have some discrimination of boys to fix it!

    Makes perfect sense.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      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 ar

      • i find it interesting what you write here because this (the pressure from other women, behavior from other males) is not what I have experienced in the european countries where I have been at all. The problem there mostly is that women (statistically) just are not interested in the topic, just as they are not interested in e.g. electrotechnics.
        Now we could argue endlessly why that would be: is it in the genes? is it the upbringing? is it how these fields are portrayed in culture? I don't know, but the fact

    • 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. [washingtonpost.com]

      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, [wikipedia.org] 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! [youtube.com] 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. [youtube.com] You can expect as much from these fucking sexist and racist bigots, always. Not satisfied with making College into a social justice indoctrination camp [youtube.com] 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

      • this sums up the facts rather well, thank you.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • by redmid17 (1217076) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:10AM (#46712989)
      There's also a complete inequality in girls graduating high school, enrolling in college, and graduating college. I'm all for making sure that girls are given every opportunity to succeed and not prevented or discouraged from going down a path they want to try, but frankly there are many larger issues that need to be worked on before you started down this path? That said, it's Google's money to do with as they please. They clearly see some benefit to this and it doesn't mean that the money they donate here would have gone to equalizing the current gender gap in education or that they don't give money to that cause already.
      • 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 thaylin (555395)

      Why would girls continue to fall behind? The teachers have a limited number of students, and an even more limited number of students who want to code, if it was equal, then in most cases it should still bring the students up, especially since there is an unlimited number of codes.

      Grant money for the disabled is to help care for their special needs. There is no grant that go directly to schools for minorities, however there is for the poor, which is used to offset the cost of their free lunch.

    • by msauve (701917)
      They already have equal opportunity, which is all that matters.
  • there are a lot of lonely rich nerds in the high tech & IT industry
  • by kcmastrpc (2818817) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:03AM (#46712901)
    ...so they can pay them less. amirite?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by RivenAleem (1590553)

      *Rivenaleem puts on his flame-resistant clothing*

      I just saw it as compensation for having to teach girls anything.

      *hides*

  • 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.

  • 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 Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      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?

      Are you saying that colleges put more money into the sports programs of male tennis, swimming, track and field than they do for the women? Or are you confusing the cost of a football program with these other costs? Before claiming discrimination in college sports, one needs to look at the net cost of those various programs, not the total costs. While I have no doubt that there is still an imbalance, it isn't as great as it would appear on the surface.

      As far as benefactors wanting to pay girls more to lear

  • we'll email you an additional $500 gift code

    What's a "gift code"? Is that some new term for virus?

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:13AM (#46713033)

    A geeky guy suddenly find himself out of a jahb - victim of downsizing, outsourcing, H1B1-jeebies etc etc - and thinks up a plan to take advantage of this new program by dressing up as a woman and teaching inner-city girls all about the ins-and-outs of programming, and in the process learns a little bit about something called life.

    "He taught them how to code, but they taught him how to live."

    From the producers of Mrs Doubtfire and I Spit on Your Grave, this summer Paramount Pictures brings you a feel-good, down-on-your-luck, rags-to-riches, local-boy-make-good, shaggy-dog, fish-out-of-water, girl-meets-boy, boy-turns-into-girl story.

    Michael Cera in Class Act.

  • Don't be evil? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:15AM (#46713057)

    I was always taught that discrimination was evil. Maybe Google has a different definition.

  • 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 davek (18465)

      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.

      Google is a private, non-government run company. They are fully within their right to offer incentives for more girls to get into computer science. Or blacks. Or native americans. Or Jews. Or whites. Or whoever they think needs help.

      Stop focusing on false flag, and rather on the government's croney capitalism that allows Google to dodge taxes and eliminate competition. "Don't be Evil" has truely become the most ironic slogan of all time.

  • That's what this kind of initiative says. The implication is that it's the teacher's faults boys are doing better than girls at programming and they need to deliberately do more to even the odds. Is the female graduation rate lower because they're dumber and need more help from teachers? Are the teachers actively discriminating against girls? Or is the disparity because there are less girls interested in this field for entirely different and varying reasons? A doctor that asks the patient detailed ques

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

    by epyT-R (613989)

    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,

  • Who is really at fault here for gender bias/discrimination, Google or Khan Academy (KA)? Is this a Google program that KA applied for or is it an internal program of KA that they applied to Google for grant funding?

    KA is in control of their curriculum and teachers, couldn't they simply tell the teachers to encourage more girls to enter the field? Why are they having to give teachers financial incentives to do so? OTOH, if this is all Google's doing, what do they have against boys? If a class has 20 seat

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:41AM (#46713341) Homepage

    I think the problem can be more generally stated: Private interests should not be permitted to make conditional donations to public education. The RIAA should not be allowed to pay for copyright enforcement education, Coca Cola should not be allowed to pay to have exclusive vending machine rights, and Microsoft should not be allowed to pay on condition of an MS Office mandate. The mere fact that we can all agree that more women in STEM would be a good thing does not make it right for a private interest to exert influence on the public education system.

    If Google believes corporations should give more for public education funding, it should be lobbying for increased corporate taxation, and better regulation of offshore-based tax fraud. If they want to be seen as individually generous, they should make unconditional grants. Allowing them to buy control of public services is a path to ruin.

  • title ix issue (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:15AM (#46713745)

    No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

  • by forand (530402) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @11:05AM (#46714437) Homepage
    The comments on this thread are saddening. People seem to have neither read nor understood even the short summary:
    • Google isn't paying students but paying teachers to encourage female students to use the Khan Academy web class.
    • Discrimination is not, not paying for someone else. Google is doing this as a charity. Should charities that focus on small immigrant communities be forced to spend their resources outside of their mandate?
  • by unimacs (597299) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @11:07AM (#46714457)
    I won't address the discrimination aspects of this. Obviously it is. The question is this sort of discrimination OK given the fact that there is a possibly a less overt form of discrimination keeping women out of some technical fields.

    Here's what I know. When I completed my computer science degree in the late 80's over 30% of the graduates were women. Now it's about 12%. Why? What has changed? Why was it so low in the first place? The first software developer I ever hired (this was back in the 90's) was a woman. The last time I tried to hire a developer I had zero women applicants. Not one.

    Here is something else I found interesting. My son is in the 8th grade and for the last year or so we've being going to high school open houses to help select a high school. One of them had tables set up in the gym where you could talk to coaches and other people involved in their extra-curricular activities like sports, chess club, and robotics. I was talking to the parents of one of the girls in his class recently and found out that their daughter wanted to visit the robotics club table but refused to do so until all the boys from her class had left. She didn't want them to see her there. Again - why? I didn't get a clear answer from the parents before I had to leave but apparently even girls who have interests in these fields are at some level being discouraged from pursuing them.

    And as a parent of a daughter I can see that there are cultural norms pushing them towards certain types of activities and discouraging them others. It happens with boys too. I even catch myself doing it. I have to consciously remember to do things that will help spark my daughter's interest in science where with my son I just seem to do it automatically. And it's not because my son is any more interested than my daughter.
  • by steak (145650) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @11:25AM (#46714673) Homepage Journal

    schools have been focusing on girls and math for the better part of 50 years. so this makes perfect sense, you encourage teachers to teach programming to the students that get the most attention from their math teachers.

  • by Infernal Device (865066) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:54PM (#46716259)

    You people will get your nose bent out of shape at any goddamn thing, won't you?

    Gender shouldn't matter when it comes to writing code, period. Turns out, it does in some ways that are not good for the industry as a whole. We're missing about half the insight that the inconvenient gender (aka "women") could bring to the table if the tech industry wasn't a sweaty jock party.

    So, Google is trying to do something about it. Might be the *wrong* thing (I don't think so, but I'm not omnipotent) but at least THEY ARE TRYING TO DO *SOMETHING*, which is a lot more than I see any of you other meatsacks doing. You can either start being part of the solution, or just go to Hell.

    If it gets more women coding, then more power to them.

    If it gets more women in tech, more power to them.

    If it will shut up your goddamn special snowflake whining, full power to them.

  • 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.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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