March 26th, 2008
Oregon’s K-12 tech education sucks: A geek call to action
When I began the conversation about making Silicon Florist a self-sustaining entity, it was because I had—and continue to have—a number of ideas for trying to help startups in our area. And for helping Portland reach its potential.
And I’d like to spend more time doing that sort of thing. Because it’s important to me.
But there was another area I was thinking about helping, as well.
It’s a startup, of sorts. Full of creative entrepreneurial types. People who generally have more passion than you and I. People who really want to make a difference. People who, like many of the startups around here, don’t get nearly the recognition or support they deserve.
Students. The people who are going to inherit all of this crazy stuff we’re trying to accomplish. And people who are likely experimenting with technology and building some equally cool Web products in their free time.
We have a great deal in common, actually.
And so I’d been toying with some ideas. And thinking about some things. That might be able to help those people. Where I might be able to share some expertise or some time.
Because, quite honestly, not a day goes by writing this blog that I don’t draw on something I learned in my high-school journalism class. Not one day.
And so, I was plodding along slowly. Thinking about what we might be able to do.
Then, today, some news hit me right between the eyes: Oregon schools get a D for technology.
The 11th annual report of “Technology Counts,” produced by the specialty newspaper Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, gives Oregon schools an overall D grade on technology. Only Rhode Island, Nevada and Washington, D.C., scored fewer points than Oregon’s 66 out of 100.
A D? Are you kidding me?
And just like that, it dawned on me: this is the opportunity.
This is one of those special times when an idea meets an action. When the time to act is coupled with the ability to act intelligently. This is the tipping point. Or spark. Or whatever you want to call it. This is the call to arms. The call to action. For all of us geeks and geek-o-philes.
This is an opportunity for you, me, and every other startup. It’s an opportunity to help. It’s an opportunity to give something back to this community. And an opportunity to improve the technology base in Portland for the future.
How? There are literally tons of ways we could do it. Tons!
From interships to class visits to scholarships to events to competitions to apprenticeships to… well, as I said, “Tons.”
I don’t think this is a question of “if?” I think this is a question of “how?”
And I think this news only highlights how much these things need to happen. And how quickly.
Maybe I’m the only one. Or part of a small group. But I think this is our chance to really do something valuable for Portland. And for Oregon. As a group.
Who’s with me?