Next Wednesday night, at Civic Hall in New York City at 6:30pm, CSNYC will celebrate its second anniversary. For those that don’t know, CSNYC is a non-profit dedicated to the idea that every child who goes through the NYC public school system should encounter computer science along the way, in elementary school, in middle school, and in high school, and those that want to do a deep exploration of computer science should be able to do that before they graduate high school. The idea is not to turn every student into a software engineer, although it would be good if a bunch of students decided to do that. The idea is that every career will require a working knowledge of coding in the world we are heading into and that we ought to make sure our children have that.

In two years, we have increased our school coverage from one to over 120 schools. We are very proud of that accomplishment and will be showcasing those schools, the programs that are in them, and the students who are benefiting from this effort next Wednesday night. This event is also a fundraiser since we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. Though we are in 120 schools, there are 1700 in the NYC public school system. At its core, CSNYC is funding teacher training and development. The only scalable way to get all children to learn computer science is to train the best teachers out there how to teach computer science. I figure it will require somewhere between 3500 and 4000 teachers trained in teaching computer science in order to reach all 1700 schools in NYC and achieve our goals. That will require a fair bit of money.

If you would like to attend CSNYC at Two next wednesday night, go here and RSVP. Individual tickets are $250. But if you have the means, you could also buy a $1000 ticket that is for two guests, or a table for $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000.

It’s going to be fun, optimistic, and exciting evening. I hope to see some of you there.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt Kruza

    Good luck with the event! Just so I understand, you are training existing teachers (like say math or scienece etc. on being computer efficient and then they may teach computer science like 1 period of the day going forward?). Is that the 4,000 or so that you are trying? Also, if so, once you hit scale there (which maybe you are already at) will the curriculum / approach be shared? My sister as well as one of my best friends are very good, innovative teachers in different cities around the country and would love to pass info / insight if there is some actionable program to them eventually. Thanks Fred and this is a great program you are working on!!

    1. fredwilson

      yes, that is the basic idea. there is a lot more to it than that but you got the gist of itwe are mostly using curriculum that is being developed across the country, much of it funded by the NSF. Examples are Exploring Computer Science (ECS), The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) which is aimed at the new AP Principals of CS test, and the AP CS (Java) curriculum that is out there. There is also some great higher ed curriculum from Berkeley and Univ of Washington that is being used broadly. all of that is aimed at high school courses.Scratch and Blockly and commercial variants like Hopscotch are what much of the elementary school curriculum is built on.and for middle school, it’s mostly exploration and projects using things like drones, robots, 3d modeling/printing, arduino, raspberry pi, html, javascript, etc, etccome next wednesday night and learn more

      1. Matt Kruza

        Awesome! Unfortunately in ohio right now and would be a hard trip to justify but thanks for the info and hope the event goes great!

        1. fredwilson

          ah. we should livestream it. but i think it may be too late to set that up

          1. Matt Kruza

            would definitely watch the livestream and even pay a smaller amount $25 – $50 maybe? to support on the livestream if you can set it up.

          2. Eric Snyder

            Periscope / Meerkat?

      2. Josh Goldberg

        Is there a way to scale the concept to other cities. I am in Baltimore and that would be much needed here.

  2. William Mougayar

    “That will require a fair bit of money.”How much money are we talking about, and how much is the government contributing to it?

    1. fredwilson

      stay tuned. i might have more to say on that in a few weeks

      1. Matt Zagaja

        I like good cliff hanger 🙂

  3. Rob Underwood

    Congratulations. Amazing work. Looking forward to the 27th. (And excited for Brooklyn to be the 1st boro to get to 100%!)

  4. Twain Twain

    Lucky NY.

  5. JimHirshfield

    There used to be a bitcoin button around here that benefited CSNYC. Where’d it go? This post is the call to action. The button is the ‘action’ for those that can’t attend or can’t part with $250+

    1. pointsnfigures

      They can set up a profile at publicgood.com and raise money passively.

    2. fredwilson

      Coinbase shut that service down and suggested people move to ChangeTip and I just haven’t gotten around to it

      1. JimHirshfield

        Oh. I guess people just weren’t using it? …and they have bigger fish to fry.

        1. fredwilson

          No. Didn’t want to compete with a product built on their API

          1. JimHirshfield

            Developer-friendly. Nice.

  6. Erin

    Hopefully it’s about giving teachers more interesting ways to teach things that are already on the curriculum instead of squeezing something else into the curriculum. Is anything being dropped so cs can take its place? It sounds like the middle and high school material can be used for their science classes, and probably the elementary material could be picked up in reading and writing class? It’s exciting stuff for sure, though. We had a woman come into our school with a programmable robotics program called bricks for kids. It was 300$ for an afternoon – just to play with the toys!- and the kids had tons of fun with it.

    1. Mike Zamansky

      This could play well in the earlier grades but in high school, CS shouldn’t be be short changed because it’s the new kid on the block. Could you imagine us saying “we don’t need to teach physics, just do some physics examples in math class.” In high school kids need to be exposed to a wide range of fields. Hopefully one speaks to them and sets them on a path.Besides, there’s plenty of cruft in the current requirements and curriculum that could be trimmed to make room for CS if one were to look at it with an eye on education not politics and entrenchment.

      1. Erin

        Right. I mean, computer science is already being taught in high schools right? So that’s not a problem. It’s just in the elementary and middle school years it’s hard to fit new things in, but it could be brought in as it applies to particular lessons… Just thinking out loud. I’m not a teacher.

        1. Mike Zamansky

          Actually, it’s being taught in very few high schools and being taught well in even fewer.There are some programs that get lots of hype and pr but if you dig below the surface there isn’t a lot of learning going on.

          1. Erin

            Oh dear. Well I got some cs in high school, I’m pretty sure, and that was in the 90’s. Actually never mind, that was word processing classes.

  7. pointsnfigures

    Great program. The private school my children attended in Chicago has totally switched their curriculum and now every child learns to code. They get exposure from JK-12. They view it as a subject like math or english. No reason the public schools shouldn’t do that-or charter schools, or parochial schools. Except hard to get enough teachers.

    1. awaldstein

      Here’s the rub.Public education is invariably an issue as it needs to teach to the middle of the interest and capabilities curve of students. I’m a product of public education myself and know this well.It’s not bad it’s just that. Poor students and smart students suffer if they don’t have families that have the focus to address this.If that is going to be changed with this new curriculum then we are on an updraft. If that is not addressed, are we changing much?The rub with new generations–spent a week with a 14 year old recently–is that they are net natives. Power users. Doers.That is not the same as being a maker or having the curiosity lit to want to create.To me that is key.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        In CS in highschool I generally finished my assignments quickly and then would help other students who wanted help.I actually enjoyed helping people out and wouldn’t have cared or liked missing out on that opportunity if I was separated into more advanced classes.My future vision for education is a very mixed and fluid scenario. Who do younger children look up to? Role models of course. Generally slightly older “kids” who they want to be like – where if they see someone focused and working they will roleplay and mimic being still and focused, etc..I consider many on AVC to be role models, unfortunately I don’t get to gain as richly from living and breathing in person to see how individuals move and present themselves, though I suppose through the net is better than nothing.A very mixed and fluid scenario is difficult when we have a factory-line like manufacturing output vision for getting people through school and fixed “important” subjects as quickly as possible, to move them onto higher education as quickly as possible and through higher education as quickly as possible, etc.

        1. Matt Kruza

          This is also how I view education. And, if you have heard of the learning pyramid there is at least some evidence that teaching is actually the greatest sign of mastery of a subject. Anecdotally, I agree with this. So all students would win in a dynamic environment like this

          1. Matt A. Myers

            “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understandsomething, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”I haven’t heard of the learning pyramid – just looked it up.I really like the visualization – and I just had a bit of an ah-ha moment that furthered my thoughts on what they presented.Thank you for sharing. 🙂

          2. JLM

            .This is not a new notion. It was old when I first heard it in the 1960s.The entire Army is based on the mastery of individual skills, the creation of training programs and the teaching of individual skills. This is essentially what Lts and Cpts do all the time. Train their units.First, they have to train themselves. Then they have to organize the training. Then they have to conduct the training. Then they have to test the efficacy of the training.Then, it is all repeated with fire teams, squads, platoons, companies, battalions, brigades, divisions, corps and armies.It falls into the category of your generation not having invented sex. I think Peter Drucker did.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Joe Cardillo

            Peter Drucker invented sex. Classic. But yes indeed, “how does it all work together” is the important thing that plenty of people say they get and really don’t.

          4. JLM

            .As an aside to my own comment — this is why it is so damn difficult to train other country’s armies like in Iraq.You have to train their NCO corps and their officer corps first. This may take half a decade to do correctly as they are not West Point or VMI material to start with.The Brits say it takes two generations to turn out a sergeant who can fight.When the training is done by people (like US Special Forces) who will not lead the actual units into combat, then you have no real unit cohesion which results in the officers and NCOs abandoning their posts when they face their first combat.This has been a problem since the beginning of time.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Matt Kruza

            Very welcome. Shockingly, I found out about it like 2 months ago. I figured everyone had heard of it too! I guess not, but very helpful. And of course the exact %’s are meaningless, but the visual really drives the point home

      2. JLM

        .The native learning of the net and tech, in general, is a huge discriminator in how young people will confront their world.Older folks may order it for them but they will confront it and learn it as natives and that is a complete difference.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Joe Cardillo

          You should read this if you haven’t run across yet JLM, it’s a pretty interesting take on the structure of the web (and limitations) http://frankchimero.com/wri

          1. JLM

            .Fabulous read. Thx.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  8. Christian Holck

    This is a great cause. My dad helped teach me how to code in elementary school and even though I do not use it in my everyday life I still think those lessons are far more valuable to me than any subject I’ve had in school. Coding also represented a completely different way of learning that much better suited me at that age than sitting in a classroom. I’m sure tons of other kids would feel the same way but aren’t lucky enough to have a family member or teacher helping them realize that – happy that you are working on changing that!

  9. kirklove

    Fantastic program. Congrats.

  10. andyswan

    Sounds great. One minor point I might suggest is that instead of “teach kids how to code” it’s more of a “teach kids to teach themselves how to code” kind of thing.I’ve just seen a lot of really “innovative” school programs turn “outdated” by the former approach. Have fun at the event everyone!

    1. LE

      Agree. To much in life is of the variety of learning something as opposed to being a self starter and/or hustler. The thing is, that really can’t be taught. I think it comes from observation of others, that is, the environment that you are in and the values that you are around. And some people just hang around lazy shit’s or were raised by lazy shits and really aren’t going to go anywhere in life. Which is fine because as was said in the movie Caddy Shack (to Danny Noonan), “the world needs ditchdiggers”.https://www.youtube.com/wat

    2. Joe Cardillo

      Well said, and an important distinction. Most code structures will be outdated in 10 yrs (or less) but the being able to teach oneself new thing, that’ll serve a lifetime.

  11. leigh

    Totally thought someone joined Crosby Stills Nash and Young for a second 😉

    1. John McGrath

      Saw the headline, that was my immediate thought too :-)Dude, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are *way* more than two years old.

      1. Joe Cardillo

        Talked to Nash on the phone once, he was very grumpy. They are not getting any younger but I like ’em anyway.

    2. awaldstein

      Great band.

  12. David Cole

    Wonderful program! And the best way to incubate and scale innovation – to support sustained teacher training.Building these programs, or elements of them, into CEU equivalencies, MAT credit hours and pre-service certification tracks is another way to think of scale: meet young teachers where they are – they’re digital natives as well.Related perspective: I like this comment from Nicholas Negroponte on programming, learning, and “thinking about thinking”http://ow.ly/LedRY

  13. Richard

    we need something similar for financial literacy.

    1. JLM

      .You are absolutely correct. It is broader than just financial literacy, it is life skills at the broken fingernail level.I agree more with you than you agree with yourself.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. LE

        Access to information has changed greatly however what and how things are being taught has not. We are still (probably) teaching as was done in the 1950’s. Along the lines of “what could possibly not be good about learning XYZ” without respect to time being a finite resource and the best use of time in the learning process.The other thing that has always irked me is that the entire public school system revolves around grades as the rating and ranking system. As he “s/he gets good grades so” (essentially gets a pass on everything else). What this does is make people who don’t fit that mold feel inferior and not even worthwhile to even try to compete because they will never be the teachers pet.I picked up my daughter from college last week. She had a 89 grade in a finance class. So she went in (as I waited for her) and managed to talk to the teacher (who apparently was not an easy mark and considered “mean”) and got her to raise the grade to an A-. The teacher said to her “I know that you come in for help and I know who you are” (it is a large lecture). So as a result of extra effort she was able to get her grade raised. That has nothing to do with how well she did on the test or how she studied. The thing is, life is like that and that is something that the school system doesn’t really “teach” it’s just something that some kids manage to pull off because of the way they are raised or how they see the world. I didn’t tell her to do this and I had no clue why I was waiting in the car for her to see the teacher. I told her afterwords “the grade is great but I like better how you went in and got her to change the grade and the fact that she knew who you were..”

        1. JLM

          .You cover a lot of ground.I absolutely do not agree with you as to the means of delivery of education. It has changed dramatically.I sat on the Foundation Board for VMI for a number of years and saw the innumerable funding requests related to how education was to be delivered.VMI was essentially an engineering school though it is trending to less than 50% engineers recently. That is a tough assessment to make as there are new disciplines that are difficult to categorize.The study of engineering should be a 5 year course of instruction. It is 4 years of theory followed by a year of real world implementation — learning the software that is used in the real world.As to grades, I am a huge fan of the most vigorous and transparent competition imaginable.At VMI, our grades were posted openly including our grades at military summer camps. It was a huge motivator — arguably better for men than the general population.There was a public academic order of merit list and a general order of merit list (academics plus military, physical fitness). It was a damn good motivator.The world will not be run by the best T-ballers.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            (I was talking about high school and in particular public high school I guess the confusion comes over the example of my daughter at college).

        2. awaldstein

          No way LE that we are teaching like the 50s or the 80s.My experience is from family members from ages 5-14. Different world.Sure public education levels the curriculum towards the average student.That is the level of information not how it is done.i’m not an educator nor a parent of a school age kid but my sample is not that small from my community.

          1. LE

            Sorry correction, I guess I mean the subjects the legacy subjects and course material. And/or memorization of rote facts for tests.That said my sample is small and based on my observation and hunches. (By my standards I have done a bad job of making my point I will agree.)

          2. awaldstein

            understand.I was out of touch but through family seeing it more lately.the world is different. better. far from perfect.i’m a pragmatic optimist obviously. also a product of lower middle class baby boomer household values and straight out public education and state schools for secondary.

          3. LE

            One thing though that really disappointed me was when my daughter was telling me about her finance test and I asked her if she learned what NPV (net present value) was. Then I gave her an example of how I cut a deal with that concept all the while thinking that in no way would I be able to get a good grade on the test that she took. (I never tested well..) The example that I gave didn’t mean anything to her (which was really disappointing to me in itself) although it was a real life example. I only had a really nominal knowledge of NPV but was able to actually use the concept and get something done. Part of my point is that school (from my experience and I will stand corrected) is based on learning and memorizing which of course is definitely needed in some subjects but might be the wrong approach in other subjects.

          4. awaldstein

            you are closer to the truth than i cause your kids are still in it.i’m at a generational distance.

          5. LE

            Not to mention step kids (10 and 12) as well.

          6. BillMcNeely

            artillery man mathA square + b square = csquare

          7. JLM

            .Love the Red Legs.Add 50, fire for effect. Repeat.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Joe Cardillo

      I agree, and I’ll be the first to admit I did some stupid things financially when I was younger (not bad person things, just not well thought out). Thing is, financial literacy is often passed on from parents and family so if it’s not something that’s talked about in the open at home and it’s not being taught elsewhere, kids are setup for failure.

  14. DJL

    This type of foundation for kids is also critical to (some day) address the dramatic shortage of people trained in IT security and cyber intelligence. I just got back from DC – and the general theme is that we may never catch up to the bad guys. But coding (and related principles) on top of math and science are critical foundations.This success also highlights the role private enterprise must have in improving education. Large bureaucracies (like governments and school systems) cannot innovate to solve these pressing problems. I was encouraged that even some in DC believe that more government is not the answer! Great work.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve heard of two programs in the past day that use cybersecurity to get kids excited about software engineeringit makes sense. it’s in the media. they make movies about it. the kids are interested in it.

  15. Thor Snilsberg

    Building the capacity and confidence of teachers to facilitate STEM content is a programmatic model that pays dividends into the future. Without nonprofits like CSNYC pushing agendas like coding, there is little support, time, emphasis or encouragement for public school teachers to develop these initiatives on their own.In the era of standardized tests, teachers are too often treated like automatons. With half of new teachers quitting in 5 years, it is essential to provide engaging and meaningful professional development and pathways for teachers to develop new skills.The innovators reading this blog know that the very act of creating and building something is what gets you out of bed (or keeps you up working at night (or both)). I’d argue that giving teachers time to tinker with their ideas, they will be more motivated and skilled and ready to model ‘scientific behaviors’ like the engineering design process for their students.In a similar vein, the USPTO is working hard to refine techniques to teach innovation. Their 2nd summer institute for teachers is July 12-17. http://www.uspto.gov/kids/t

    1. LE

      With half of new teachers quitting in 5 yearsThat figure seemed suspect so naturally I had to look into it. Something doesn’t seem right about that figure right off the top.The origin appears to be a report which was issued by a teachers union [1] . Now it’s being bandied about as if it everyone has studied the underlying data and vetted the original report (which of course, they have not).According to a new study from the National Education Association, a teachers union, half of new U.S. teachers are likely to quit within the first five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries…..and also what I believe is a teachers or education lobbying organization in Washington DC [2]:[1] http://www.washingtonpost.c…[2] http://all4ed.org/

      1. Mike Zamansky

        I’ve seen reports on both sides of the issue.What I can say is that I teach in what should be considered a desirable school – that is, one that should have some of the lowest turnover rates yet the math department seems to turn over by about 10% each year.As with all public schools our teachers have to deal with about 150 students a day (that’s 150 homeworks a day, 150 tests to grade, 150 personalities to get to know) and five classes a day.We have it easier with respect to class management so it’s not hard to believe that the turnover rate at lower performing schools would be much higher.

        1. JLM

          .Thanks for being a teacher. It is very hard work.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. LE

          Perhaps the turnover rate is linked to both the pay and also the reality of what teaching is vs. what new teachers (who choose that career) think that it is.One of the reasons pay can be so low is that there is a constant crop of new teachers ready to take the place of the teachers who are leaving. This is really similar in a way to the reason that McDonalds can afford to pay the wages that they do. There is always a constant stream of people waiting to flip burgers and take orders.The question is why do people go into teaching in the first place? Is it perhaps because they view it as a “gut” type career and easy (with time off in the summers in many cases) and then find out that’s not what it is? Has anyone ever researched this?

          1. Mike Zamansky

            It’s more than pay, although it’s hard to raise a family on a teacher’s salary.Part of it is the fact that everyone thinks they can teach but it’s much harder than they think. My mom was a teacher, but I had no idea. I came over from Wall St but never worked as hard as a did in my first few years teaching.A lot is the fact that we’re a political punching bag and are being forced to take the blame for poverty, We have to teach to meaningless tests, and in general get no support nor freedom to do what we know we can and should be doing.Heck – my yearly evaluation is based on student test scores in classes I don’t teach.

          2. LE

            although it’s hard to raise a family on a teacher’s salary.In NYC metro, yes. In other parts of the country not the case perhaps. For example in the area that I am in teachers salaries (I just checked) run from $48k to 104k which is definitely enough (if two people are working and who isn’t these days) to “raise a family”.I dated a girl who was a NYC teacher and iirc at the time she was making about 95k per year. She lived in a 1br on the UES which her brother (in hedge funds at the time) helped her buy for $425k. That property is now worth perhaps $750k no way she could afford that and she couldn’t even afford the 425k unit at the time (this was maybe 2005 let’s say..) although she could have if she had spent her money differently.She made a choice that she wanted to teach/live in NYC as opposed to a suburb near, say, Chicago IL. That was her choice, nobody forced her to do that. She could easily, on a teachers salary, afford a house for $400k and get a nice house at that.That is one thing that is missing from teaching in schools. Making the right choices. Stop thinking that you can choose any career that you want, live anywhere that you want, and have as many kids as you want and things will just work out or you can then have somebody else solve the problem for you. Doesn’t work that way in life.Heck – my yearly evaluation is based on student test scores in classes I don’t teach.By the way I totally empathize with what you are saying here. I’ve dated a teacher, dated two three girls whose parents were teachers (in NY Metro even in Harlem where one totally got burnt out) and have a sister in law now who became a teacher later in life. For that matter I remember as a kid hearing about my neighbor getting “their masters plus 30” so they could earn more money in the school that they were teaching in. And I have to tell you that I’ve never heard anything good at all about teaching from any of them. Only complaints and negatives about “the system” and “the administration”. I know about Randi Weingarten and also about “the rubber room” and so on. It’s really sad.

          3. JLM

            .There are three things that everyone thinks they can do that are really hard: teaching, owning a restaurant and writing.It is hard as hell to do them right.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. LE

            You forgot art, acting and music or entertainment. They are all “wash off the suds” things from the outside. Everyone wants to take the hose and wash off the suds from the car, nobody wants to do the cleaning, dry and buff. Nobody wants to put in the time to be a great musician or work strip clubs to end up on the tonight show.

          5. JLM

            .Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          6. LE

            Shit. I forgot people who “want to be a VC” but don’t want to do 40 meetings a week like Fred Wilson does or attend dozens of speaking engagements and eat rubber chicken dinners.I have a relative that is always complaining about how he had a better GPA then his college roommate who is now wealthy and retired I believe but the relative works in some dead end middle level job at a credit card company. But the fact is that while the relative is smart he is not a hustler. [1] On weekends he is doing boy scout troops and camping which, while nice for his kids, isn’t going to most likely get him to the promised land that he claims that he is jealous of. (Or watching sports on TV or something like that).[1] And when I’ve offered opportunities to both him and his son I get blank stares in response. God knows I would have died for that when I was younger.

  16. Richard

    May your hands always be busy May your feet always be swiftMay you have a strong foundation When the winds of changes shiftMay your heart always be joyful And may your song always be sungMay you stay forever youngForever young, forever young May you stay forever young.Yep, coding can help with this too.

    1. Twain Twain

      May your minds always be creative,Poetic and pragmatic,For the world is yours for the making,Evolving and dynamic.

  17. Robert Metcalf

    As long as you can maintain that 120x/year growth rate, the 120 schools will turn into 1,700 in about a week! Wish I’d had access to a program like this growing up. Glad to see it taking off!