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Funding for Technology Classes? 81

SelfTaught asks; "My school district recently built a brand new football stadium and athletics field-house, both with state of the art electronics; yet when asked about implementing a computer science class district officials reply with, 'This is a property poor school district.' Apparently property poor school districts have 20 foot plasma scoreboards and multi-million dollar athletic training facilities. As a pubescent high school student, I'm not very happy with the way my district spends the money my parents pay for my education. How can I encourage my district to provide more technology classes? If I can't get technology education in school, then what would be the best way to teach myself?"
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Funding for Technology Classes?

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  • Nationwide trend (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:51PM (#16171059) Journal
    I feel for you, this has been one of my pet peeves for years now.

    But, look at the bright side, our (USA) sports celebrities are the highest paid in the world.
    (Just overlook the fact that academically we are falling behind faster every year)
    • What is even worse (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )
      Is that these stadiums and facilities are off-limits to anyone but a few select school students.

      It opened my eyes when I was in Europe, that when the school gynastic grounds were not in use (after school, weekends), the people of the community could use it. More often than not, they were not even "school grounds" officially, but community grounds that the school happened to be nearby and would thus use for their athletes.

      I know there will be cries about pedophiles and such, but as a society, we tend to seg
      • Is that these stadiums and facilities are off-limits to anyone but a few select school students.

        AFAIK, I, a non-student, can use the school given permits and the like. When I was in school (a 1991 graduate) we had an indoor pool and weightlifting room with public hours, the track and football field are open to the public except for event nights and with some minor (read: common sense) restrictions.

        I can't say anything for your school district but ours is fairly open. I'm in the US as well.

        Despite the s
        • If you want to help geeky students, ask at your local High School(s) if they have a FIRST robotics team []: they always need more money and mentors.
          • The point that I'm trying to make is that the reason the football team gets support is because they're out there putting in foot work to get donations. If geek clubs want funding they need to do foot work too and not just piss and moan about "those damn jocks". You might be surprised about local tech companies or perhaps local chapters of the IEEE (and such) who are willing to lend a hand.
            • by empaler ( 130732 )
              They probably don't expect any positive outcome of such a venture; if they thought it would work, they'd probably have done it. Apart from you, how many of the locals in your neighbourhood do you think would donate?
              • Apart from you, how many of the locals in your neighbourhood do you think would donate? And I think there are more people in the community who back this type of thing than what you may first think. I think there are a number of "geeks" in the community. Just because they're not here on slashdot talking about it and they're no out wearing shirts from Jinx doesn't mean that they're not "geeks" in their own way. Who the hell do you think pays for all these scholarships? And yes, there are tons of academic scho
                • by empaler ( 130732 )
                  The expectation of failure might be because of a general feeling of being outsiders when being geeky; this picture is of course worsened and perpetuated by popular culture, with movies about "geeky kids overcoming the odds and [fill in winning scenario]".
                  When faced with that sort of image of geeks, I can understand why more geeks don't automatically think of fundraising like that.
                  I'm not saying it wouldn't work though. I've raised plenty of money for other geeky endeavours (LARP), but those have been most
      • How is that WORSE than the entire country getting stupider and less knowledgeable every day of every year??

        And what the hell are you talking about, segregating ourselves away? This is the age of the attention whoring myspace user. The world needs more introverts.
        • How is that WORSE than the entire country getting stupider and less knowledgeable every day of every year??

          Mens sana in corpore sano. Mind, body connection, if you will.

          And what the hell are you talking about, segregating ourselves away? This is the age of the attention whoring myspace user. The world needs more introverts.

          Attention whoring yourself out on the internet does not mean you are any less isolated from real human contact. Perhaps attention whoring yourself out on myspace is a symptom of isolati

          • I was just using myspace as an example. At Duke University you can't turn 90 degrees without seeing mediocre-looking chicks jogging in sports bras, looking around to see if any guys are watcing them, or girls in bikinis sunning themselves in the most populated place they can find, or people sitting in corners outside with pouty expressions, hoping someone will walk up and ask what's wrong (which people are all too happy to do), or people pretending to read thick books in the courtyards, hoping someone will
    • I think the best idea is to take a business approach to the problem. As a techie turned MBA that attends a land grand university I see how larger institutions fund education. My B-School has a brand new building with LCD screens in some of our own private meeting rooms. Our computer lab has dual 21" flat screens on about 40 computers even though it is all but required for us to have laptops. This was all funded by private donations. Most of the money came from alumni, but a fair ammount came from campanies
      • by rts008 ( 812749 )
        I agree with you for the most part, but have to take issue with the percentage of the overall school budget that gets appropriated by the sports department, compared to actual education.

        "As many have stated they are based on seprate budgets and athletics (especially football and basket ball) make money and recieve a fair ammount of cash from sponsors and donations."

        This seperate budgets you speak of start out in the general budget, then the school's administration assigns it to different departments- this i
        • I would agree that any educational institution should first focus on education rather than athletics. The problem is that most donors (of large sums) specify to the $ where they want their money spent. If the institution doesn't spend it correctly they are open to a lawsuit from the donor.

          Public money should help fund athletics to the point at which it helps the general student population. Athletics do teach competitive values which are valuable throughout both academic and professional careers. All of this
          • by rts008 ( 812749 )
            "In the case you mentioned either the administrators worked it out in advance with the donor or the donor (or the donors estate) didn't follow up like they should have."
            I'm pretty sure it was the latter in my example.

            You mak a strong, reasonable argument. Am I mistaken that you mentioned you went to a private school?
            If not, I wonder what bearing this may have on our discussion. If so, then we both have seen different aspects of our current education system. (disclaimer: I graduated high scholl in 1976, but
            • "You mak a strong, reasonable argument. Am I mistaken that you mentioned you went to a private school?"
              Yes, I did attend a private high school for the last few years.. I also went to public schools and have spent a long time in public universities. It took me 10 years to get around to finishing my undergrad (take a couple of classes, take a year or two of, repeat the process until one day I woke up and said I need to get that piece of paper.) Now I am in grad school and work for the University. My college i
  • Unsightly truth (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Unfortunately, sports brings in far more money for schools and universities than academics.
    • by daeg ( 828071 )
      Plus, a computer lab doesn't show anything for the tax payers. I really doubt a city council would like to show the tax payers that the city spent $800,000 on a single computer lab, whereas a new athletic facility is big and flashy.

      As to the original question, you may be able to use a local community college to get the classes you want. I know my high school offered that. If you have a cool teacher and aren't a douchebag student, you might be able to convince your school administrators that you can self-tea
    • I'm pretty sure sports only actually *make* money at the college level. And maybe some high schools in Texas. :)
  • > How can I encourage my district to provide more technology classes?

    You can't. Even if you could, the changes would happen long after you've left.

    > If I can't get technology education in school, then what would be the best way
    > to teach myself?"

    Pick something you want to learn. Download it, RTFM, and play with it.

    You'll have better luck if you have a concrete objective in mind, i.e. learn about databases by setting up a simple database to track your comic book collection, run queries against it, m
    • by Ajehals ( 947354 )
      By the by if you do set up a database with a web front end to track your comic collection make sure you don't tell anyone, it may cause your social standing to be reduced - and next the only things girls will want to talk to you about is when you can come over and fix their PC...

      (Its OK you get the last laugh when you employ all your old school mates as cleaners, pool attendants and chauffeurs when you hit the big time..)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Pick something you want to learn. Download it, RTFM, and play with it.

      You'll have better luck if you have a concrete objective in mind, i.e. learn about databases by setting up a simple database to track your comic book collection, run queries against it, make a PHP front end to search it etc.

      I went to high school in a very small town (less than 2,500 registered) in a relatively poor Bible Belt county. Athletics and religion were the primary focuses of the education they offered. In fact, one of my

  • The only way I can think of is to petition the school. Just tell a bunch of people that the school has determined that they don't need classes that for people going into technologies. Spin it so that it looks like the school is forcing students to lose their chances into colleges and such. Spin the stadium to the effect that they spent all this money on it, but when someone wants to learn how to work with/on it, they won't spend a dime.

    After you get the petition going, attend a district meeting and spea
  • Get Real (Score:5, Interesting)

    by agent dero ( 680753 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:03PM (#16171149) Homepage
    I graduated from a small town high school in south texas, and the district was pretty damn broke when I left it, but our atheletic facilities were pretty decent.

    Keep in mind most southern schools have "Booster Clubs" which are responsible most of the time for raising funds for the sports specifically. The only "booster club" for academics comes straight out of the general budget for the district. Meanwhile, you've got a bunch of meat heads washing cars, taking donations, etc, in a town full of people who are more than willing to fork over money for their friday night football game.

    In most districts (i have lived in), sports and education are on different budgets.
    • Keep in mind most southern schools have "Booster Clubs"...

      Did members of said club go on to be active political party supporters (left or right)?
      • Booster clubs are usually parent groups.

        That said, most of the booster clubs in my area tend to go right, but that's just the fact that I live in surburban Texas, smack dab in the middle of the Devil's Own Country.
    • You don't need any financial resources to learn computer science, except for a teacher.

      We now know that electronic technology has no more to contribute to computing than the physical equipments. We now know that programmable computer is no more and no less than an extremely handy device for realizing any conceivable mechanism without changing a single wire, and that the core challenge for computing science is hence a conceptual one, viz. what (abstract) mechanisms we can conceive without getting lost in t

      • by Myself ( 57572 )

        ad in the local newspaper to help the students at my local high school organize a computer club. Organize the club, get local businesses to contribute,

        This sounds good! You'll be doing a lot of legwork, but that's healthy experience for later in life too, and it looks good on a college admissions questionnaire.

        Don't forget to document the whole experience. Keep notes on who you talked to, and what sort of support or advice they offered. When you get the club off the ground and the local newspaper wants to d

      • by DrJimbo ( 594231 )
        The quote "Because that's where the money is" is usually attributed to Willie Sutton not John Dillinger. But at least one source [] says that Willie claims it was actually a reporter who came up with the witty response.

    • Meanwhile, you've got a bunch of meat heads washing cars, taking donations, etc,
      Maybe the silicon heads could wash some cars too? Who knows, some of those football donations might turn into chess club donations. Last I heard, my head was made of meat too, though you'd risk Kuru ( []) were you to eat it.
  • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:07PM (#16171179) Journal

    How can I encourage my district to provide more technology classes? If I can't get technology education in school, then what would be the best way to teach myself?"

    Well, you'll need to define what "technology classes" you want before you get the school board or most of us to listen to you. Do you want an "Intro to PowerPoint" class? Programming classes? Computer hardware classes? Actually, 'technology' could mean anything, not just computers. What are your goals? Be more specific.

    My school district recently built a brand new football stadium and athletics field-house, both with state of the art electronics; yet when asked about implementing a computer science class district officials reply with, 'This is a property poor school district.' Apparently property poor school districts have 20 foot plasma scoreboards and multi-million dollar athletic training facilities. As a pubescent high school student, I'm not very happy with the way my district spends the money my parents pay for my education.

    BTW, whining about money spent on athletics isn't the best way to get the school board to listen to you, although I'm sure you'll get lots of sympathetic responses here. High school football is a really big deal to most kids and parents so it will always be funded at a much higher level than classes. Forget about trying to take money away from athletics and put it into education. Your best bet is to make a compelling case for why your school needs a class on X and bring it to the school board. If they are convinced of its importance, they'll find a way to come up with the money. Trust me on this: complaining about something that is very popular will cause people to stop listening to you.

    I'm not trying to be hard on you, but saying you want money allocated for something specific (scoreboard) to be divered to something nebulous (technology classes) just isn't going to work. You need to say exactly what classes are necessary and then provide compelling arguments why they are needed so badly.

    Good luck, Kid. I'm not a fan of technology in the classroom at all, but I don't want my personal opinions to get in the way of advising you. If you want to fight for this, fine. Just be a bit more cautious about how you go about it.


  • by jaredmauch ( 633928 ) <> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:08PM (#16171189) Homepage
    This is nothing new nor shocking. People will donate money to all sorts of causes that they consider valuable. For people here, it may be open source projects. For other slices of society it may be sports. The sad state of this situation is that people will donate millions of dollars for projects like improving stadiums but finding a similar donation to a library or technology funds are not as easy to come by.

    It's easy to see that your team is winning by having the best technology and edging out another school with every advantage that you can get. Investing in the students themselves is always a complicated situation and the results tend to be poor.

    What you should do is go to the public comment period of your next school board meeting and ask if matching funds were put into classroom improvement for each dollar spent on improvement of the sports program, and are they willing to stipulate some sort of matching dollars ratio for classroom improvement in the future. Don't expect 1:1, but if you even had 5:1 (sports:classroom) I suspect the improvement would be significant. There's also a sustainability aspect. If I write a check for $1m to my local school for a new stadium, they may already have the budget for maintence of it set aside. The operation expenses, training, etc.. for a new computer lab is not insignificant, think about the power consumption of all the lightbulbs in a classroom compared to 25 computers with 400w power supplies, a few laser printers, etc.. The electric bill may surprise you.

    But honestly, this is an excercise in your civic duties (you can even get extra credit if you're taking a government class), attend the meetings, as booring as they may seem, you may be able to create some impact. You may be able to convince those that do attend the meetings and vote for your local school board that these things have value to them as well and see things change, perhaps not while you're still there but for others.

    • 400W PSUs don't really draw 400W. That's just their max, a maximum that will NEVER be reached. In reality, a 20 machine lab, air conditioning and lighting costs including will only cost about $300-$400 per month, in the summer. $200 or so in the winter. That's about the same as the cost for the football stadium's lighting, assuming they use the lights once per month. The cost of lighting would be probably be the biggest surprise to most people.
  • Ha! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:12PM (#16171213) Homepage Journal
    Same crap when I was in high school, exactly the same, back when we had pet saber toothed badgers and rode sliderules to school, both ways, uphill in the snow. This is the US, where professional sports rule, and the schools are the tax payer funded farm teams, even though they will never admit it.

    Here's the sucky part-it isn't fixable. It's been tried. Bread and circuses (the gladiator games, etc) is an established technique that keeps the plebes occupied and ye overlordes in power (helps them anyway), so it isn't going away, the fix is in. It's just not, so no sense beating yourself up over it. Work around it. The best you can do is self education as much as possible, and work with any understanding teachers (there should be a few who "get it")and groups of friends (rocket club, computer club, whatever).

        As to getting your hands on own a computer, or can you get a box full of odd parts? Swell. A car (any old junker is fine) with an engine and transmission and probably a comlicated electronic system? Swell. Some radios and other odd electronic stuff? Swell.

    and etc.

    Now, go tear that crap completely apart and put it back together again *better* than it was before. Not just the same, *better*. See what you can come up with, little tweaks and twists and mods and enhancements. You won't get any grades on it, but you for sure will get an education that is practical. You'll learn to think in steps and sequences, you'll get discipline and focus. That is what is important. It will carry over to about any other job you might get.
  • My suggestions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linguae ( 763922 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:12PM (#16171217)

    My first suggestion is to find some other students at your school interested in computer science. A school isn't going to add a computer science course unless there is a sizable amount of students who are interested. After you find other interested students, get a proposal for a new class going. Get a few signatures of students and parents (and maybe some interested teachers) and take it to the principal's office (or whomever else deals with course offerings). If it works, then great. If not, then try again next year.

    In the meanwhile, I suggest that you read Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs []. This is the book that is used for the freshman computer science class at MIT. Find yourself a Scheme interpreter (and maybe even invest some time into learning Unix and maybe installing Linux or BSD if you're a Windows user. Unix, not Windows, is the main operating system used in computer science.). This book can get difficult, but you'll be very knowledgeable about the true meaning of computer science via that book. Then, after reading and finishing that book, then move on to learning C (for structured programming) and C++ or Java (for OO programming). Now that you have the theoretical background of programming understood, now you should learn some practical programming languages that you'll use for upper-division CS courses (operating systems, software engineering, systems programming, and the like) and in future industry jobs or research.

    Finally, during your junior year of high school, start finding some good CS schools to apply to. MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of Texas at Austin, Harvey Mudd, and others that I've forgot now are very good undergraduate computer science schools. These schools are challenging enough to fully teach you computer science and prepare you for either a career in software engineering and development, or a research career.

    I wish you a successful start in computer science.

    • I will agree with parent. However, take a look at []

      This is in the same spirit as Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs but more appropriate for beginning computer programming. Scheme is a good choice so download DrScheme and have fun!

      Do well in your math and science coursework now and get into a good CS program when you are out of high school.

      If only I got this advice in high school.
    • Excellent advice. Even I'll find it useful, as I'm at that age now. As for SelfTaught -- well, just remember your name. I go to a relatively small school whose only "technology" course on the proper use of Microsoft Office (taught by someone whose only experience is reading the textbook), so I feel for you. However, you have to realize that most of those who are truly interested in technology (specifically CS) are dedicated and smart enough to learn it for themselves. In all honesty, those who don't meet t
  • In many areas, you have separate school district budgets and funding sources for General Administration (read: teacher salaries, supplies, etc.) vs. Capital Improvements (read: building repair/expansion). I know in Indiana over the last few years, some ridiculous football scoreboards and basketball arenas were built, because the schools had a glut in the Capital budget but were constrained in the General Administration area.

    Changing those funding sources and spending controls is a long-term affair, and not
    • Perhaps something like that could be leveraged on the General Administrative side of the budget - say, a Microsoft-sponsored computer science class? Nobody here would object to that, right?

      Why MS? There are plenty of bussinesses in each city and some of those would be willing to aid. For example, a company replaces its computers and the old ones get donated to a local school. For many bussinesses these are machines not much older than 3 to 4 years. Those are perfect for a whole lot of classes. Pretty much

  • The Internet? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by d3ik ( 798966 )
    I'm a few years ahead of you (class of 2001) and I share your pain. While my school did have a few computers and a programming class, it was horribly outdated. The problem with the school systems is (obviously?) the administrators. Even as they throw out all the buzzwords for the parents about how "technology friendly" they are, they will always spend more on asthetics because they relate how they run their schools with their own high school experience. When I say asthetics, that's something that they c
  • You probably can't change the school district as a whole, but you might be able to start a group/club or something. If you start such a group, you'll get a whole lot more support if you can find a mentor - perhaps a teacher who has an interest in what you want to learn. That mentor would have a bit more pull and better ideas of how to get funding and resources to help your club if it is not a huge liability or burden to the school.

    Back when I was in high school (a LONG time ago), the only reason we had a
  • Did you ever consider going to school board meetings and bringing this up or passing petitions around? Get enought students/parents interested and maybe the school board will hear the people..and if not, well aren't the school board advisors voted in?
    • This is about the best suggestion I've seen in this topic. Don't like the priorities of the administration? That's why schools are run by elected officials.

      As it so happens, school board elections (especially in non-urban districts) have extremely low turnout - meaning that's it's not especially difficult to replace a sitting board member with a concerted effort.

      When I was in high school, many of the faculty were upset over the priorities of the board (which, as I recall, was filled with the non-working w
      • Maybe not a complete fix, but it is indeed a step in the right direction. Let's face it. Technology isn't going away. To teach students in high school as en elective A+ certifcation or Network Design or even getting a MCP cert (LPI would be great, but eh, let's be realistice here) would be great. More importantly it would help these kids when they get to college because they could get a job in a tech field even as if it's a help desk job or techie somwhere because you have the cert and some experience.
  • by fuzzybunny ( 112938 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:37PM (#16171381) Homepage Journal
    ...if you can. Assuming it's not a private high school, that is.

    Organize your statements, as previous posters have said--define what is "technology", have concrete proposals ready.

    Prepare possible cost breakdowns.

    Compare science programs of other schools, communities, school districts.

    Appeal to patriotism (cheap, but hey, it's America.) Sputnik caused a boom in American science education, and ChinaIndiaRussia are in the process of blowing America out of the water.

    Use sound economic logic (i.e. it's a gift that keeps on giving through alumni donations, it profiles our schools as academic powerhouses and makes it more desirable to academics, it results in statistically higher admissions to good engineering schools, whatever--do research.)

    Try to engage corporate sponsorship--write letters to companies like HP, Sun, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, etc., they have entire departments devoted to creating PR through this sort of thing. Also, corporate matching funds tend to motivate people to spend public money.

    Try to contact your school board reps directly, organized like-minded friends in a letter-writing campaign. Get your and their parents involved as well.

    Get PR--write letters to the editor of your local paper, try to get someone to cover the story with a slant. "Schools neglecting science and technology education in favor of jocks" sells papers.

    As for yourself? The truth is out there. You have a PC, an Internet connection and some equally interested friends? Start a club, start reading and hacking, and you're off.
  • My high school had an annual budget $17 million, and they don't offer tech classes either. I asked why, and the explanation was as follows: It was a college prep school, and colleges prefer that students DO NOT take compsci classes because often times the information can be out dated. I took matters into my own hands. You get alot more out of learning by doing, and you often learn faster, and with greater depth and more knowledge of what is important. How do you learn Linux? Install it on your main comput
    • by alienw ( 585907 )
      And your school is 100% correct. It's much better to build nice athletic facilities (that can last 20+ years) than to waste money on computers that will need to be replaced in a year or two. Not to mention, you don't need to be learning to program in high school. Focus on math and science instead, it's far more useful than learning a skill that will be obsolete in a few years. Complaining that the school doesn't offer programming classes is like complaining that they don't teach you how to repair cars.
    • by sgent ( 874402 )
      Yes and no.

      Learning excel/word/etc -- what is commonly considered "computer sci" is a waste of time. Learning actual computer science -- alogorithms, logic, etc -- doesn't even require a computer, much an up to date one. You can learn computer science on a chalk board and with a proto language.

  • Money for HS athletic equipment often comes from sponsors (like the ubiquitous Coke scoreboards) and ticket sales (my high school pulled in probably around $20000/week during football season). So you can't really ask that that money be used for other purposes.

    OTOH, the only real expense of adding a CS class is a teacher. A new computer lab isn't necessary; you can learn all the basic principles of programming on the kind of old computers that people give away. But the school isn't gonna teach a class for on

  • Funding HOWTO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ddt ( 14627 ) <> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:07PM (#16171521) Homepage
    I went to Highland Park High School in Dallas. Very similar situation. I would later end up one of the coders on Doom & Quake, so you can imagine my frustration at the time. HPHS is a public school but with generally very wealthy kids, a football stadium that was truly a spectacle of steel reinforced concrete and civil engineering, a famously disciplined football program, and a super-lame lab with virtually useless PC's and one programming class taught in Pascal or Basic, if I recall. As a result, I basically held my breath until Dad bought me an Apple //e, which really served as my primary education and social experience until I outgrew Applesoft and 6502 asm somewhere in my junior or senior year and started going to my Dad's office so I could learn C on his PC.

    Here's the trick. Wish I had known it then. The football budget came from donors, and that's basically the answer to your question. The stadium and the atheletic raquetball and other stuff thingy building, were named after the big donor who plunked down millions. That's the ticket.

    What I suggest you do is learn something about business development, which is the kung fu required to land great facilities of any kind, because unlike the programming language, API's, and OS du jour that will be a useful tool to you for a healthy 5-10ish years, savvy business development never goes out of style, and will actually help you land a fully funded, sweetly decked out lab, along with great courses.

    The proper approach will depend very much upon the specifics of your situation, who you know (both students and adults), and your various superpowers. If you want me to help you figure out The Path, drop me a line, and I'll see if I can be useful.
  • If I can't get technology education in school, then what would be the best way to teach myself?

    If you're that dedicated, and you have the time to spare, you might want to look into a vocational / technical school or taking classes at the local community college. Both generally offer night classes, which you could take after school. Of course, this also depends on how heavy your school workload is and how active your social life is. Still, a community college night class two times a week might be enough

  • I am also a high-school student faced with such a predicament. My school just added a huge fitness center, a new sports field, and a new softball field. All amidst huge district budget cutbacks that have forced us to turn down the heat during the winter, and consider cutting classes such as Applied Physics and Auto Shop. But there is a golden light among all of this, This year our school became one of the first in Illinois to offer courses from the Project Lead the Way Foundation . Forty-eight of my fellow
  • If your high school won't offer technology classes, see if you can get credit for taking them at a local college. A community college would be fine, for introductory classes. Encourage like-minded peers to do the same. If enough kids do this, your school district will be inclined to offer such classes. A kid a few years older than me did this at my high school, and singlehandedly created the computer science program at my school. I was lucky enough to be a few years younger, so I could reap the benefit
  • Do what I did: Take AP CS on your own. Then be sure to apply to Olin College []. It's lots of fun, admission comes with a full-tuition scholarship for everyone, and we take innovative, world-class technology classes every day. Oh, and since there are only about 300 students, we don't really have X-inch plasma screens at our football stadium. Neither do we have a football stadium.

    Shameless pitches aside, I'm afraid many American high schools like yours and mine simply won't offer worthwhile technology cou

  • Want to make decent money in a high school? Be the football coach. And traditionally they'll only make you teach some "worthless" class like history or civics. My world history teacher was the wrestling coach. He'd frequently need a mid-class break to take a couple puffs on a cigar and the school let him get away with it.

    One of our suburban high schools build an olympic regulation pool. Now they bitch there isn't any money for basics.

    What are you going to do when American education has local control an
  • I'm sure 99% or so of the comments on this thread will be about how sports get all the money and the tech classrooms don't get squat blah blah blah.

    I propose everyone who is complaining about how crappy things were in their school also post how much money or time (or both!) they've since given to their school to improve conditions.

    *cue cricket noises*

    In a more positive vein, an earlier poster said to get up, get out there, bang the drum for donations, document everything, and so forth. That's the best comm
  • You are focusing on the wrong problem. It isn't football versus academics. As other have pointed out they are in different budgets. In the south if you don't have football you might not even have a school. I live in a property rich school district (Round Rock ISD in central Texas). They just spent 26 million dollars out of a 16 million dollar budget to build a new football temple. OTOH, they do have some technology courses and even an Information Technology Academy magnet school. They also happen to have th

  • Just who are you to question The People's desire for football stadiums?

    • by rozz ( 766975 )

      Just who are you to question The People's desire for football stadiums?

      A few hundred years ago, a guy named Galilei came and said "it is round" ... and *they* asked him a question quite like yours... in fact, they almost killed him for going against People's desire for "a flat one".

      ThePeople is not the answer to everything and Democracy is far from being perfect.

  • You know, that word (pubescent) is usually used as a derogatory term by older people (who presumably have completed that troubled time that is puberty), to look down upon those pesky, inconsistent youngsters who don't know what they want but keep bitching about it.

    Seriously.. wtf?

  • Here in Canada, though it's more hidden, it's just as bad. I attend trustee meetings routinely and was horrified during one meeting to hear them turn down a motion that would have provided wireless high speed Internet access to three small schools in the area, the extension of a current project. The motion was declined in favour of providing funding towards playground improvements at a local school - improvements that, it was admitted during the meeting, were not truly needed, but were just an attempt to
  • First thing to do is find out how many people share your same views. Talk to your computer teacher and see if they can help in getting together a group of students, parents and maybe even some former alumni who majored in computers at the college level. You need to know if you are the only one who cares about the issue or if there is a large cross section out there. One person isn't going to get far. A large group will get taken seriously.

    Second thing, get together a list of exactly what you are asking for,

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.