Super Cities №158 — Part Two: Hard Things, Accountability, and The Slow Death of American…

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

CS4All is a local effort to get kids to do hard things

A 10-year initiative to scale computer science education to 100% of the city’s public schools


Science and technology are professional languages foreign to most native-born Americans.

Despite rapid growth opportunities and mean salaries double all other occupations, scientists and engineers are less than 5% of the American workforce.

The home to nearly 100 million iPhones, America in 2018 is a low-risk, mid-tech place in an era of always-on, high-tech innovation.

To this, I’m reminded of a quote by John Adams:

“…Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

I wonder if it is time to restart Adams’s cycle.

Although easily scapegoated, the problem is not higher education. America educates a lot of electrical engineers. It just so happens that 81% of them are foreign nationals (great for all).

The real problems — low expectations and low accountability — start at home. More than half of American parents claim their children are not pursuing STEM degrees because they are “too hard.”

If America wants to lead into an unknown future, its people must speak the language of innovation.

They must reignite a culture that rewards risk-taking, punishes laziness, and creates stronger opportunities at each turn.

This essential work should start early, like CS4All, and the term “too hard” should be forbidden.

** This series will continue…

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