Indiana Becomes 9th State To Make CS a High School Graduation Requirement

Longtime Slashdot reader theodp writes: Last October, tech-backed nonprofit publicly called out Indiana in its 2023 State of Computer Science Education report, advising the Hoosier state it needed to heed’s new policy recommendation and “adopt a graduation requirement for all high school students in computer science.” Having already joined 49 other Governors who signed a compact calling for increased K-12 CS education in his state after coming under pressure from hundreds of the nation’s tech, business, and nonprofit leaders, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb apparently didn’t need much convincing. “We must prepare our students for a digitally driven world by requiring Computer Science to graduate from high school,” Holcomb proclaimed in his January State of the State Address. Two months later — following Microsoft-applauded testimony for legislation to make it so by partners College Board and Nextech (the Indiana Regional Partner which is also paid by the Indiana Dept. of Education to prepare educators to teach K-12 CS, including’s curriculum) — Holcomb on Wednesday signed House Bill 1243 into law, making CS a HS graduation requirement. The IndyStar reports students beginning with the Class of 2029 will be required to take a computer science class that must include instruction in algorithms and programming, computing systems, data and analysis, impacts of computing and networks and the internet.

The new law is not Holcomb’s first foray into K-12 CS education. Back in 2017, Holcomb and Indiana struck a deal giving Infosys (a big donor) the largest state incentive package ever — $31M to bring 2,000 tech employees to Central Indiana — that also promised to make Indiana kids more CS savvy through the Infosys Foundation USA, headed at the time by Vandana Sikka, a Board member and wife of Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka. Following the announcement of the now-stalled deal, Holcomb led a delegation to Silicon Valley where he and Indiana University (IU) President Michael McRobbie joined CEO Hadi Partovi and Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka on a Thought Leader panel at the Infosys Confluence 2017 conference to discuss Preparing America for Tomorrow. At the accompanying Infosys Crossroads 2017 CS education conference, speakers included Sikka’s wife Vandana, McRobbie’s wife Laurie Burns McRobbie, Nextech President and co-CEO Karen Jung, execs, and additional IU educators. Later that year, IU ‘First Lady’ Laurie Burns McRobbie announced that Indiana would offer the IU Bloomington campus as a venue for Infosys Foundation USA’s inaugural Pathfinders Summer Institute, a national event for K-12 teacher education in CS that offered professional development from and Nextech, as well as an unusual circumvent-your-school’s-approval-and-name-your-own-stipend funding arrangement for teachers via an Infosys partnership with the NSF and DonorsChoose that was unveiled at the White House. And that, Schoolhouse Rock Fans, is one more example of how Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy is becoming K-12 CS state laws!

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Half of College Graduates Are Working High School Level Jobs

According to a new study, almost half of America’s new college graduates are winding up in jobs they didn’t need to go to college to get. CBS News reports: If a graduate’s first job is in a low-paying field or out-of-line with a worker’s interests, it could pigeonhole them into an undesirable role or industry that’s hard to escape, according to a new study (PDF) from The Burning Glass Institute and the Strada Institute for the Future of Work. Another study from the HEA Group found that a decade after enrolling in college, attendees of 1 in 4 higher education programs are earning less than $32,000 — the median annual income for high school graduates. A college degree, in itself, is not a ticket to a higher-paying job, the study shows.

“Getting a college degree is viewed as the ticket to the American dream,” said [Burning Glass CEO Matt Sigelman], “and it turns out that it’s a bust for half of students.” The single greatest determinant of post-graduation employment prospects, according to the study, is a college student’s major, or primary focus of study. It can be even more important than the type of institution one attends. Choosing a career-oriented major like nursing, as opposed to criminal justice, gives graduates a better shot at actually using, and getting compensated for the skills they acquire. Just 23% of nursing students are underemployed, versus 68% of criminal justice majors. However, focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects is not a guarantee of college-level employment and high wages, the study found. […]

Many college graduates remain underemployed even 10 years after college, the study found. That may be because employers seeking college-level skills also tend to focus on job candidates’ recent work experience, placing more emphasis on the latest jobs held by candidates who have spent years in the workforce, versus a degree that was earned a decade prior. “If you come out of school and work for a couple of years as waiter in a restaurant and apply for a college-level job, the employer will look at that work experience and not see relevance,” Sigelman said.

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California Bill Would Require Computer Science For High School Graduation

At a press conference last week, a California Assemblymember joined the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in announcing a bill that, if passed, would require every public high school to teach computer science. (And establish CS as a high school graduation requirement by the 2030-31 school year.)

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp says he noticed posters with CS-education advocacy charts and stats “copied verbatim” from the tech giant-backed nonprofit (And “a California Dept. of Education news release also echoed K-12 CS advocacy factoids.”)

The announcement came less than two weeks after CEO Hadi Partovi — whose goal is to make CS a HS graduation requirement in all 50 states by 2030 — was a keynote speaker at the Association of California School Administrators Superintendents’ Symposium. Even back in an October 20 Facebook post, [California state assemblyman] Berman noted he’d partnered with on legislation in the past and hinted that something big was in the works on the K-12 CS education front for California. “I had the chance to attend’s 10th anniversary celebration and chat with their founder, Hadi Partovi, as well as CS advocate Aloe Blacc. They’ve done amazing work expanding access to computer science education… and I’ve been proud to partner with them on legislation to do that in CA. More to come!”

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How CS Students Go From Into Its Founders’ Mentorship/Angel Investment Fund, ‘Neo’

The VC fund Neo “identifies awesome young engineers, includes them in a community of tech veterans, and invests in companies they start or join,”
TechCrunch explained in 2018.

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp notes that Neo is also benefiting from the education non-profit

Eleven years ago, Neo Founder and CEO Ali Partovi together with twin brother Hadi ( CEO and a Neo investor) publicly launched the nonprofit (backed and advised by big tech companies). With the support of prominent tech giant leaders and their companies, pushed coding into K-12 classrooms (NYT, alt.) and now boasts that “591,636 teachers have signed up to teach our intro courses on Code Studio and 19,177,297 students are enrolled,” helping to build a pipeline of “college students who excel at CS”. Neo taps into this pipeline, and it looks like others also betting on their success include Neo investors tied to Microsoft, Google, Meta, Amazon, and Uber — including boosters Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, Reid Hoffman, Jeff Wilke, Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt.

“I love meeting more and more @Neo founders and Neo scholar candidates who learned to code on,” Neo CEO Ali Partovi tweeted last summer.

in November Partovi welcomed “32 exceptional CS students” chosen from over 1,000 applicants to be Neo Scholars, “a year-long program of events, trips, and mentorship, as well as long-term membership in our community.”

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Should Managers Permanently Stop Requiring Degrees for IT Positions?

CIO magazine reports on “a growing number of managers and executives dropping degree requirements from job descriptions.”

Figures from the 2022 study The Emerging Degree Reset from The Burning Glass Institute quantify the trend, reporting that 46% of middle-skill and 31% of high-skill occupations experienced material degree resets between 2017 and 2019. Moreover, researchers calculated that 63% of those changes appear to be “‘structural resets’ representing a measured and potentially permanent shift in hiring practices” that could make an additional 1.4 million jobs open to workers without college degrees over the next five years.

Despite such statistics and testimony from Taylor and other IT leaders, the debate around whether a college education is needed in IT isn’t settled. Some say there’s no need for degrees; others say degrees are still preferred or required…. IBM is among the companies whose leaders have moved away from degree requirements; Big Blue is also one of the earliest, largest, and most prominent proponents of the move, introducing the term “new collar jobs” for the growing number of positions that require specific skills but not a bachelor’s degree….

Not all are convinced that dropping degree requirements is the way to go, however. Jane Zhu, CIO and senior vice president at Veritas Technologies, says she sees value in degrees, value that isn’t always replicated through other channels. “Though we don’t necessarily require degrees for all IT roles here at Veritas, I believe that they do help candidates demonstrate a level of formal education and commitment to the field and provide a foundation in fundamental concepts and theories of IT-related fields that may not be easily gained through self-study or on-the-job training,” she says. “Through college education, candidates have usually acquired basic technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, the ability to collaborate with others, and ownership and accountability. They also often gain an understanding of the business and social impacts of their actions.”
The article notes an evolving trend of “more openness to skills-based hiring for many technical roles but a desire for a bachelor’s degree for certain positions, including leadership.” (Kelli Jordan, vice president of IBMer Growth and Development tells CIO that more than half of the job openings posted by IBM no longer require degrees.)
Thanks to Slashdot reader snydeq for sharing the article.

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