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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

College Dropout Has 26 Million Students - and No Teacher's License!



Each year, I have between 80 and 150 students. This is called 'having influence over young people'.

In NY State, you need at least 18 'education credits', a BA and then an MS/MA from a University.

Then you need to take a Content Specialty Exam (CSE), the LAST (a liberal arts exam), and an ATS-W (teacher theory / jargon) exam.

The State has implemented more exams to take for people who went through the system after I did. Each one of these exams has a fee attached to it. It must be a great moneymaker for NY state government and colleges - seeing all the people going to college to become teachers.

I've mentioned code.org and seattleclouds.com. Here is another site run by a guy with 26 million students. He dropped out of college. This means he doesn't have a teaching credential. Just like Salman Khan over at khanacademy.org. How many millions of young people use khanacademy? It is, according to Alexa, 694th most popular in the US and 1700th in the world. This is a huge amount of traffic, seeing that there are millions of websites around the world.

From the article: "Zach Sims, a college dropout founded Codecademy, a website which enables users to learn six popular programming languages, via a simple interface, for free. Codecademy is three years old now, and Sims has 26 million students."

Does this mean college is useless? Of course not. It also doesn't mean all of your certified teachers are morons. Now that we're past 7th grade it's clear there are no absolutes, that there are always exceptions. But here's what you're told, and what I was told, and what is still told to students nationwide: "go to college, get a diploma, and if you want to become a teacher get certified and then get a job". This is what we're told - repeatedly - in schools. I hear it every day, and see signs in the hallway saying it as well.

Place that quote next to what the article says, under the subheading 'Relevant Skills': ""We were spending our days learning about Greek mythology, and our nights studying thick financial modelling textbooks. We figured if students at Columbia - a top five school in the country, can't find jobs when they graduate, there was probably a problem." So Zach started to teach himself to code. "We built the first version of Codecademy for me," he explains, and with the help of a friend, Ryan Bubinski, he expanded the site. Mr Bubinski became co-founder and together they launched Codecademy, in August 2011. In the first weekend more than 200,000 people used the product - "it gave the ability to send emails to all those people who said the market size was limited," Zach quips, unable to suppress a smile."

There's never just one way. Perhaps in the hard sciences, engineering and high order mathematics the top tier university route is the way to go. I have a suspicion that your top intellect peers, coupled with a few amazing professors will really be the goldmine you'll find at that level - not the 'credential' you'll get.

People told these young men that the 'market size was limited'. Did they listen? No.

The market for your skills is out there. Think of what you do well, what relevant skills you have, and sell them to the market. If you fail, fail quickly and start over.

The internet is moving faster than the dinosaurs in your school. They are going extinct, and some of them will give you advice that will make your job prospects extinct.

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