New Education Bill


(Surprisingly) Congress passed a new education bill last week. Forget “No Child Left Behind” rolled to in 2001 and embrace “Every Student Succeeds Act“. So what are the changes?

  • Testing will continue, but STATES – not the U.S. government – will now decide how to use the results in evaluating teachers and schools. The new law encourages states to limit the time students spend on testing, and it will diminish the high stakes for underperforming schools.(Associated Press)
  • Computer Science has been included in the definition of well-rounded education subjects. Its inclusion, for example, will allow computer science educators the same level of access to professional development opportunities as teachers in other subject areas such as science and math. (Wall Street Journal)

(see also The Case for Computer Science)

These are the two main points I saw as I scanned multiple news outlets’ headlines – there may be more. You can read the full details here (it’s only 1,068 pages). #HappyReading

Year of Yes

This is not some game or new trendy thing to do. “Year of Yes” is a memoir by Shonda Rhimes (yes, that Shonda Rhimes). In Year of Yes, Shonda shares tips from her own enlightenment and how she changed her whole life. I don’t read many memoirs but I plan to read this one, every single page! 


NPR did a feature in which Shonda explains how she “Said ‘yes’ to her children”. What will you say yes to? No need to wait until the New Year to make a resolution you probably won’t keep… Start today. First and foremost Start by saying Yes to Yourself!

Accepting the concept that you don’t have to do the conventional thing because everyone says that’s what you should want. USA Today

If you missed Shonda on Ellen today, you can catch her with Oprah this Sunday. I will certainly be watching. I’ve already preordered my copy. Put this book on your Christmas list this year – for yourself or for a friend.
#readAnything #learn #grow #sayyes

Year of Yes, Amazon


Top 10 Gadgets

Yahoo published the Top 10 Most Wanted Tech Gadgets for 2014. Familiar names like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Sony sit atop of the list. I’m pretty sure that gifting any one of these items to hard-to-choose-for relatives will do just fine. Or, if you can’t pay the entire cost, a gift card will do just fine! You can even personalize gift cards here (maybe add a picture of the item they want?).  Happy shopping!

I Can Be a Computer Engineer

barbieengineerMattel recently released a dual Barbie book titled: I Can Be an Actress/I Can Be a Computer Engineer. Cool! There’s a national focus on Girls and STEM, so this can only be good, right? WRONG! One blogger sums it up this way:

Despite having ruined her own laptop, her sister’s laptop, and the library’s computers, not to mention Steven and Brian’s afternoon, she takes full credit for her game design— only to get extra credit and decide she’s an awesome computer engineer! “I did it all by myself!

The problem is that Barbie didn’t actually do any of the work. Another blogger sums it up with an article titled, “Computer Engineer Barbie Needs Men To Write Code, Can’t Reboot Computer“.

My first job out of college was a Software Engineer. I was the only African-American female of about 300 employees (there were probably 10 black people total and maybe 20 women). Reading a book that has Barbie relying on her male counterparts to implement her ideas and then taking credit for it is pretty offensive. Is she not smart enough? Does she not know how to do these types of things? What message are you sending to little girls? Kinda goes counter to the #Girls and #STEM movement!

So what does the Internet do when companies get it wrong? Kathleen Tuite put together a website called Feminist Hacker Barbie, which allows the public to rewrite the book. You basically take a scene from the book and re-write it with a more acceptable story-line! (And post it to social media of course).

If you still don’t believe the hype, check out the reviews for this book on Amazon.

Made with Code

Google just launched an initiative, Made with Code, to get girls interested in computer programing. The tech giant has set aside $50 million for the program. “Made with Code will organize events where girls will be invited to do programming together and discover that computer programme codes can be used to make and print bracelets using 3D printers, design accessories to superimpose on “selfies” or compose an instrumental piece.” You can become a mentor or find an event near you. The site also offers resources (beginner and intermediate) for future coders, teachers, counselors  and parents.

Everyone (big kids included) can dig in and introduce themselves to techy-type projects if you’re interested!