A Computer Language Education Program

Code Red's mission is to create, market, and distribute a curriculum that teaches computer language and computer coding skills to students from grades 1 – 12. You can download an information PDF HERE or Tweet us @Code_RedProject


You can also download a sell sheet. here.

Business Objective

The overall purpose of this program is to create, market, and distribute a curriculum that teaches computer language and computer coding skills to students from grades 1 – 12. We will utilize this by creating lessons, units, and courses that focus on developing computer literacy skills from an early age using free-to-use software programs (i.e. Scratch, Alice, Ruby, Python, etc.). This will serve three purposes:

This will serve three purposes:

The curriculum has been divided into four stages: early elementary, late elementary, middle school, high school.

Early elementary is focused on developing logic, mental mapping/organization, and col aborative skills. We see little exposure to actual coding at this age but instead look to endorse skills that will not only benefit the student in technological pursuits but also in their other core areas of curriculum (i.e. language arts and mathematics).

Late elementary is the student’s first exposure to computer environment manipulation and coding skill development. User friendly and free-to-use programs are utilized to help kids continue to develop their logic, problem solving, and organizational skills while introducing them to computer system manipulation and communication.

Both elementary school sets are aimed to be supplemental to the core curriculum already being taught as to alleviate scheduling conflicts, staffing requirements, and time constraints.

Middle school is teaching foundation coding skills. Programs will be used to showcase 3D environment creation and manipulation while others can be used to harbor the gaining of computer language fluency and basic algorithmic development.

High school freshmen and sophomore year is for refining coding skills using Python, C#, Basic, and other coding languages. During junior and senior year, students will be given the option of continuing the program through a more intensive studying process (roughly 3 class periods a day) while still focusing on core curriculum. The purpose of these years is to have them development unique and individualized programs as well as promote entrepreneurship by teaching them how to independently fund, distribute, and develop programs in order to garner firsthand experience.

Current Environment

What we are seeing in education is a one track system. Students are pushed to attend college even though college is becoming too much of a financial burden for students and no longer guarantees a job post graduation. This leads to students with a massive amount of debt (which averages $25,000) and no means to pay it off. Some students are also pushed into college without proper preparation or motivation to go and lack the guidance or focus to make it a worthwhile experience.


Conversely, the technology industry is booming.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting the creation of 2.2 million technical jobs over the next ten years. In anecdotal evidence, tech companies are unable to fill the required number of positions due to a lack of qualified applicants.

The starting salaries of these jobs can range from $45,000 – $65,000 annually. This lack of staffing fulfillment leads to overall loss of productivity and undercuts the company’s ability to compete in the marketplace at full efficiency.

We see a need and an ability to fix both of these problems. If we are able to thoroughly train young students through their elementary, middle, and high school careers in technical skills, it will give students the option of pursuing a high paying career out of high school or an alternative method to pay for a college education by seeking employment. For companies, it gives them a larger reservoir of qualified employees to meet their staffing and productivity needs.

Product Distribution

The curriculum will be composed of twelve grade level curriculums that each contains 20 – 25 lessons. This allows for teachers to pace the lessons as they see fit and also provides room to supplement the core curriculum with their own ideas and models.

The initial package will be sold to districts but also comes with training done through professional development in the school district.

All training and development will be run by Code Red personnel and consultants. In addition to the core curriculum, a subscription service will be available that will allow for yearly updates of the curriculum, additional training, and new materials distributed twice a year. Product will be distributed through direct vending of the Code Red staff and website.


Additional Curriculm


Additional curriculum will continuously be developed through outsourcing and freelance hires in the technology community with a heavy focus of college computer science students. This allows the Code Red curriculum to be a living organism that will continually develop and change over time to foster new and richer skills and refine itself as the technological environment changes as well at a cost effective rate.

Sponsors

We are happy to launch the Year of Coding in St. Louis initiative. Code Red is trying to raise 70,000 in order to fully revitalize the computer science programs of all 71 St. Louis public schools, serving 25,205 students. We are lucky to have the following sponsors embrace change in the St. Louis education system through coding. If you would like to be a sponsor of the Year of Coding, feel free to contact us.


Sep 4 13

How Coders Are This Generations Autoworkers and How They’re Not

mpalmer

A blog entry by Greg Baugues made note that programmers mirror the autoworker from the 1950s.  High paying, high demand job allowing one instant access into the middle class without a college degree.  The final gist of the entry is to point out how nothing last for ever and entities like Shopify and WordPress have streamlined the development process decrease overall costs and the need for manpower.  However, there is a fundamental difference in the type of labor that is utilized by autoworkers and developers.

The fundamentals of the car its manufacturing have not changed since its creation.  When Ford developed the assembly line, he reached the final step in the organization of the assembly process.  The only thing that could be altered from that point forward was the type of labor used on the line for construction hence the implementation of robotic arms and the decrease in humans on the line.  The components of assembly have remained the same: shell, engine, wheels = done.  Despite innovations in the field (sorry Tesla), the car is still a car.

Development and coding provide a different beast on three levels: skill, market, and personality.  Whereas the car has remained roughly the same machine for the past century, code has changed radically.  Languages have changed.  Platforms have come and gone.  There is a consistent push for new innovation even from what has been declared “old tech” companies.  As the process simplifies, it also becomes more complex.  Instead of being a standalone entity, the system grows and interconnects developing from a single offshoot tree into a thick lush forest.  For example, Apple has developed iOS software for its mobile platforms that is integrated with its hardware components.  That same mobile development is linked to a larger cloud storage system which in turn is part of an immense creature of connectivity.  The skills needed are thus more complex and build as opposed to the systematic and repetitive nature of the auto industry.

When talking about market, there are certain limits built into the auto industry that the world of tech does not have.  You can only drive one car at a time.  Tech is unlimited in usage.  As I type this, I’m am utilizing WordPress in Google Chrome on a Windows desktop while watching Netflix through an Apple TV.  I am not limited to how many apps I can download or programs I can utilize.  The product deployment of software is thus far greater than the world of automotive.

Baugues is right.  More is needed than just knowledge of coding language and systems.  One must understand the culture of a company and possess soft skills in order to flourish with it.  I would also say that one needs grittiness and an ingrained sense of entrepreneurship in order to push for innovation and creativity even at C level coding jobs.  Coders are successful because they naturally challenge paradigms while working inside them.  The paradigms of the automotive industry are cemented and reinforced to an unbreakable end.

Eventually the supply and demand gap of coders will balance, that is how a capitalist market works but it will not be a drastic cleanse due to automation.  I am sorry but unless we are defying the basic nature of the tech market as well as quickly approaching the singularity, we have no need to fear that the demand for and benefits of being a coder will vanish.

Aug 20 13

96.6 Million Dollars

mpalmer

Ok that is a big number but it is relatively speaking.  This is the number is would be to initially establish a modern, update to date, and comprehensive computer science curriculum in EVERY public school in the United States.  What we are talking about is a complete overhaul and revitalization of our education system.  It would be the return of a missing component.  Like stated in an earlier post, we would be able to return to a system that serves the needs of ALL students.  We would be able to help those that are destined for the ivory tower of academia by strengthening their ability in STEM majors as well as preparing other students for the 21st century manufacturing economy.

Alright, that is the philosophical pitch: “We are returning to a true spirit of education.”  However, most of you, like myself like hard data.  The current population of the United States sits at 313.9 million as of 2012.  209 million of that total are above the age of 25.  87.65% over the age of 25 have obtained a high school diploma.  The average pay for a high school diploma for a male is 32,500 dollars for a male and 25,000 for a female (sorry ladies).  That makes an average salary of 28750 for people possessing a high school diploma.  By inserting CS jobs into this equation (where average salaries range from 45,000 – 65,000 in the St. Louis region) we would see an exponential increase into the salary pool of the lowest rung of the employment ladder.

Since a capitalist system functions on the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, this would see a ripple effect move through the lower class of employment as well as elevate all other demographics.  Plus there would be numerous residual effects based on higher cash availability increasing demand for several products (housing, electronic, high end goods) which in turn would increase demand, job creation, and salaries of these related fields.  The shot to GDP, domestic production, and per capita income is astounding.  It would be the equivalent of forgoing getting a new car and buying Apple stock when it IPOed.  There would be value seen in the near term but in the long term, this huge increase in value would be unfathomable.

Just shy of 100 million dollars, a fraction of numerous budgets and the price of most blockbuster movies.  We could change the nation for half of what is cost to make a flop of a movie like the Lone Ranger.

Jun 5 13

My Cost of Starting Up

mpalmer

On Monday, Adriana Herrera posted an article for the New York Times entitled, “The Hidden Costs of Starting a Company.”  The main jest of said article is that you can really only have two focuses in your life (family, friends, career/business, and health).  More and more, I become aware that this moves more towards fact.  As a teacher who is now running his own educational technology startup, I am quickly realizing the costs.

Number 1:  My wife and I have an adorable 18 month old son who is the light of our lives.  I have done everything I can to put him and my wife first and make sure that I can maximize time with these valuable years that parents cherish.  However, as I have stated in previous post, I want them both to have a better life hence why I started the company which brings us to…

Number 2:  Code Red Education has become our new baby.  I am proud of it when it won an Arch Grant this year.  I am thrilled with every sale and school that implements not because of profit reasons but for the reasons any parent is proud of their child: it is a part of you and you wish for it to succeed.  There is one problem with the others…

Number 3 and 4:  As for health, I have severely injured my spine with two herniated discs which is immensely painful.  In order for me to function at any other task, this needs to be treated.  As for friends, I am blessed with a small cabal of intimate friends that understands I may only see them once every three months.  I think that having your cake and eating it to is possible in the world of startups and I don’t think I’m being to naive about it.

I think I have unique personal characteristics that allow me to function with all four burners going at differing times.  I only require between 4 – 5 hours of sleep a night, I have an insanely understanding spouse, and I posses a wonderfully behaved child.

I have developed a routine now that tries to balance these four elements.  My schedule now works like this:

4:00 a.m.:  Wake up

4:00 – 5:00 a.m.: Exercise

5:00 – 6:30 a.m.:  Code Red Work

6:30 – 7:30 a.m.: Asher wakes up and eats

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.:  Daily walk and trip to the park with Asher

9:00 – 11:00 a.m.:  Asher snack and play while daddy replies to e-mails or makes cold calls

11:00 – 12:00 p.m: Family lunch

12:00 – 3:30 p.m.: Asher nap which means Code Red work for daddy

3:30 – 6:00 p.m.:  Strictly Asher time

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.:  My wife watches Asher while daddy finishes up more work

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.:  Time with my wife who I love more than anything

9:00 – 12:00 a.m.:  Work work work work

12:00 a.m.: Sleep

I might have people find this schedule short sighted but it has actually worked quite well for the past few months.  Now notice there is a lacking of “friend time” but those are unique instances.  My goal is to be able to recover physical, build a business, and spend plenty of quality time with my family in order for us to continue to be a successful family unit.  Whenever I see articles like Adriana’s or a great essay by David Sedaris titled “The Four Burners”, I can’t help but think that it is a defeatist mentality.

May 22 13

This is the only the beginning…

mpalmer

Welcome to the wonderful world of Code Red Education!

Our purpose is to train 1st – 12th graders in computer science skills, computer coding, and entrepreneurship.  We want to provide a viable career option for students so that they can immediately enter into a high-paying, high-demand job after high school graduation.   We understand the rising costs of college and the fact that college degrees no longer guarantee employment.

Historically, the model for public education was a two track system: either you went to academia or into manufacturing.  Over the past couple of decades, that image has been skewed to focus on “Everyone needs to go to college.”  As a man that loved my college experience and spending tens of thousands of dollars to pursue degrees that were interesting but not necessarily employable, I know that college isn’t for everyone.  As an educator for the past ten years, I can also attest that have students that either don’t want to go or shouldn’t go to college.  However, how do we provide for these kids?  The only career field where the number of vacancies outnumbers the amount of applicants is the field of computer science.  It is also a field that has thrived with people that have not gone through a university to get a computer science degree.  For instance, the founder of Tumblr (which was just bought by Yahoo for 1.1 billion dollars) dropped out of school at fifteen and began starting his own companies.  Why can’t we train a generation of entrepreneurs in skills that are needed or at least allow students to have a cache of skills that would allow them to be successful in the real world with or with a college degree.

The idea of this program began on November 8, 2011.  Subsequently that is the day my wife and I’s first son was born.  Like any father, I counted fingers and toes, took plenty of pictures, and felt very weird about cutting the umbilical cord.  Afterwards, while my wife and new baby boy were sleeping, my mind started to wander to what Asher’s future would look like.  As teachers, would my wife and I be able to afford to pay for his college?  Would he be successful in college?  Would he be able to get into a “good” college?  What would happen after graduation and he now had his degree?  Job?  Internship?  Graduate school?  I want my son to have OPTIONS.  I want him to be the master of his own destiny and not depend on others to dictate if he is good enough.  I want his skills and abilities to show that he is good enough.

Now this is what we want for all students.  As an inner city school teacher, I have seen numerous students “fall through the cracks” as well as students being roadblocked because they didn’t have the finances or foundation skills to succeed.  By training students in computer coding, we can provide them a gateway to the middle class and a path to developing real financial and personal wealth.

Isn’t that what teaching is truly about?  Not prepping students for some faceless standardized test but to allow them the chance for successful on their own?  Giving them the autonomy so many of us enjoy?  Isn’t that worth fighting for?

Michael Palmer

 

Code Red Education | A Computer Education Program

Contact | Twitter | © 2013

Top