“Levelling the playing field” in education

Came across a post via HN which suggests levelling the playing field in CS by teaching with obscure functional programming languages.

The reasoning is that there are “privileged” students who begin a computer science degree already knowing how to code, and that this is unfair.

Beyond the impracticality of doing this (you’re going to have to change the language every year so that people don’t “cheat”), the fact that so many educators in the comments agree with this position is further evidence that the current education system is creaking.

People like Salman Khan are already helping to make education more accessible with the likes of Khan Academy. In fact, teachers who have used Khan Academy apparently don’t want their students to be too smart.

When you are effectively looking to punish students for learning how to read before the rest of their peers, you have – at best – lost perspective as an educator.

At some point (actually around the time of the industrial revolution), it seems that education stopped being about the acquisition of knowledge and started being about churning out template humans to fulfil tasks.

If computer science education is broken because people are learning all by themselves, then society should (and already does) route around the problem – the problem being universities holding a monopoly on what it means to be educated. Tech companies in particular have been navigating around this for years, reaping the rewards of hiring self-taught, self-motivated individuals.

If modern enterprises wish to take advantage of this revolution in education, they should recognize this lest they lose some of the best candidates to more modern companies.

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