Everyone should get the opportunity to learn to program, but school is a waste of time

posted on 04 Mar 2013 | Rant

I just got done reading a blog post by @fekberg titled "Everyone Should Learn Programming"

This idea that everyone should learn to program seems to be a growing trend. But I disagree.

I don't think everyone should learn to program, I think everyone should get the opportunity to learn to program. Schooling in general is a waste of time because it caters to this idea that life evolves around English, Math, Art, Science and General Knowledge. But real life doesn't, and these things don't help children figure out what they are good at or enjoy.

There's an awesome TED video by Sir Ken Robinson titled "Do Schools Kill Creativity"


It's worth watching, awesome talk and very funny

We spend so much time teaching kids they are wrong, teaching them that they are failures because they fail subjects they aren't interested in, while not allowing them to do the things they are interested in.

A little about me

I got told I had ADD and was put on drugs, and guess what, those drugs don't do ANYTHING. It made me act no differently at school, but the doctors had no problem selling them to my parents. Yet thinking about my schooling, the times I messed around and annoyed others, was when I was stuck in classes learning stuff that I was bored of.

I was forced to learn History, despite the fact I love History and I watch documentaries ALL the time, learning about New Zealand history and common events is boring, I couldn't care less, I distinctly remember asking my teacher if we got to learn Egyption history, and being told it was not part of the curriculum.

I don't remember anything about 'Social Studies', another boring subject I was forced to take. I hated english class because my opinion was "I can speak English, why do I need to take an English class?".

The only subjects I ever passed in school was Math, Science, and Technical Drawing (until they changed the subject to "Drawing")

My time at school was SO bad, my english teacher told my parents that there was no hope for me and I was going to be a bum.

The best thing that happened to me though, was my Dad bought me a Commadore 64, with 3 games, and some BASIC 2 manuals. After playing the games, I learnt to program, I finished most of the book teaching me how to build a question/answer games and other super basic things, and taking what I learnt I built a Hang Man game with ascii graphics. I was 8 years old.

I'm about to turn 27, and despite the fact that I failed year 12 two years in a row and dropped out, and never went to university... I love my life, my job, and I amaze myself with how far I've come, all because my DAD gave me the opportunity to learn to program.

My opinion

So I've ranted on a little bit... what is my opinion?

I think the entire schooling idea needs to be scrapped, it's not relevant by todays standards, and it needs to be re-invented to give kids the opportunity to learn not only all the things they need to learn in life, but allow them to focus on the things they are good at, and the things they enjoy.

We need to STOP testing kids and telling them they aren't intelligent by grading them against other kids. Just because someone can memorize a book doesn't make them more intelligent than the kid next to them who struggled to read the book. Just because one kid is good at math and another is not, doesn't mean he should fail school.

We need to develop education that allows kids to learn to the best of their ability and not force every kid to learn the same way.

We hinder the progression of kids by grouping them by age rather than ability. We hinder them by making them learn the same way.

We need to stop blaming kids and coming up with excuses because they don't learn the same way the rest of the kids do.

We need to teach kids to think and learn, and stop indoctrinating education on them.

Edit I posted this on Hacker News, lots of good comments on there, for and against. Enjoyed reading them.


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