November 20, 2019

The teacher is so much more interested in Jeff Bezos than the kids are.


What will it take for schools to get kids interested in Jeff Bezos?

52 comments:

rhhardin said...

Start with a Good Character program. Those who can become engineers will then figure it out on their own.

You can't do it the other way.

mockturtle said...

Maybe his hairdo is all wrong?

Bart Hall said...

I believe such programs are generally quite futile, and largely for show.

My father was a self-taught engineer who earned his P.Eng licenses in the two most challenging fields of that discipline. Furthermore I taught chemistry, earth-science, and physics for several years at the high school level, and general science in middle school, as well as a year teaching post-grad geology to civil engineers. My son is a (self-taught) principal engineer with a well-known IT company, and he has neither a degree in engineering nor a P.Eng. license. So though I'm not an engineer, it's a *very* familiar world for me.

On that basis I'd say thebiggest predictor of success in engineering is an innate ability and tendency to think and reason like an engineer. If you don't have that, all the rest is pointless, no matter how much schooling or affirmative action advancement you receive. The mindset is necessary, but it is not *sufficient*.

Competent engineers must also be fluently comfortable in higher mathematics. Most people -- including many who think like engineers -- are not sufficiently competent in the maths. I am one such person. Example ... there are dozens of important equations in electro-magnetics, but you have to be fluent in higher-level calculus (differential) to understand that you need only memorize half a dozen, and the rest you can derive.

No matter how hard you try; No matter how much money someone throws at it; You cannot **teach** people to think like engineers, even though that ability is the sine qua non of competence in the discipline. All you can do is to *identify* those thought patterns, which is nearly impossible for people who themselves do not have that ability.

If such innately-inclined youngsters are eating calculus for lunch by 11th grade, then they probably also have what it takes for the maths, but in reality you need to see how they perform at the university level in all the foundation courses which underpin engineering.

Amadeus 48 said...

Any free stuff given away here? Any swag bags?

I hope he had one of those "your book" things for each kid gleaned from the internet and Amazon with pictures, selfies, consumer goods the kid had bought, and each kid's favorite brand of booze. The one for teacher should have those naked selfies she posted to Tinder and Instagram--facial recognition software flushed them out, even though she used fake names.

Yup. The future is bright.

SeanF said...

When I first read your headline, I thought you were comparing the teacher's interest in Bezos with the teacher's interest in the kids...

daskol said...

Well, as nice as the kids seem, Bezos is a good deal more interesting than they are: how many of them have had photos of their private parts nearly published in the press?

Bob Boyd said...

Did you notice his 2 body guards?
He probably still remembers what it was like on the playground. Why take a chance?

rehajm said...

Yah wtf with the private security protection? Is he worried those kids might cut him? Jeez...

The kids would be excited if economics and capitalism were taught in schools.

Fernandistein said...

Dunbar High School in DC to announce a milestone in its Future Engineer Program.

There is little or no chance of any future engineers graduating from Dunbar High School in DC:

"Test scores at this school fall far below the state average."

Geometry < 1% proficient.

I believe such programs are generally quite futile, and largely for show.

Definitely. Seeing the "Future Engineer" phrase prompted me to verify that the school is attended by stupid children.

Bob Boyd said...

I bet they let Bezos' bodyguard bring a gun into the school.

Hagar said...

Bart Hall said..
Competent engineers must also be fluently comfortable in higher mathematics.

Not necessarily so. "Engineering" is a very wide-ranging term, and for most areas within the field an understanding that numbers have meaning and a reasonable ability to crush them is sufficient.
The main thing is an attitude of "I need to find a feasible solution that makes some sense here."

BTW, basic calculus is not "higher mathematics," but should be a required course in high school.

Jack Klompus said...

Bezos should follow the stunningly successful model in Newark, NJ that kicked into high gear once Zuckerbook threw $100 million into the pot.

whitney said...


"What will it take for schools to get kids interested in Jeff Bezos?"

He needs to 'make it rain'!

Jack Klompus said...

I believe such programs are generally quite futile, and largely for show.

Look at the names of charter schools in big cities. The more buzzwords crammed into them sounding like a Japanese game show, the less likely they are to do their job well (and yet are still often better than the neighborhood public schools.) If the Success Scholar Prep Academy of Future Harvard Champions opens on the same block as the seven day care centers in North Philadelphia, you might want to opt for plain old Saint Martin's.

Tina Trent said...

Link @Fernandistan is depressing. 25% of students are suspended, 92% chronically absent, fewer than 1% are "proficient" in Geometry (chosen over more advanced coursework to boost scores), yet the school is touting an "engineering" program. Typical fairy dust from the donor classes. The district mainly cares about measuring "equity" and diversity. The kids all got free kindles. Meanwhile, we're footing the real bills: Medicaid, social security disability (the big slush fund these days), welfare, housing. Nobody is telling us to take a bow.

Bart Hall said...

Hagar --- I understand. Recall I commented about "eating calculus for lunch" in Grade 11. One of my sons actually has a B.Math degree, only offered by four schools in North America: MIT, CalTech, Stanford, and Waterloo [in Ontario]. What I'm saying is that if you're not comfortable with partial differentials, when it comes to engineering ... fuggedabouddit.

Jack Klompus said...

The responses to the tweet are the predictable mix of clich├ęs and claims of being unimpressed by Bezos if he does anything less than pay for every single kid's tuition and buy them all ponies. Twitter is an absolute garbage heap of aggressively sanctimonious losers.

Hagar said...

In the sense that you learned about partial differentials and know there is no magic involved, yes. Having a need for using it in your field of practice, maybe and maybe not.

traditionalguy said...

Did he give away dimes during his PR bit filmed for the children of all ages to see him as a good man that just happens to rule the world.

Jack Klompus said...

I always struggled with infinite series. I could never figure out what was the best test to use to determine convergence or divergence. My first midterm in Calculus III was mostly infinite series and I bombed it. My professor, C.T. Yang, wrote on my blue book "You have learned very little!"

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

The video is a bit like the Monty Python skit: John Cleese trying to teach the mechanics of sex to a classroom of boys. No interest. That skit has some relevance to Trump's "groping" remark: "Sure, you can start by rubbing her clitoris--if you want to be a bull in a china shop."

Amadeus 48 said...

The sad thing is that Dunbar with an all African American student body used to be one of the premier high schools on the East Coast by any measure. Then, with the desegregation of the DC schools, it became a neighborhood school. How the mighty have fallen. Here is Thomas Sowell on Dunbar:

"For Washington, the end of racial segregation led to a political compromise, in which all schools became neighborhood schools. Dunbar, which had been accepting outstanding black students from anywhere in the city, could now accept only students from the rough ghetto neighborhood in which it was located. Virtually overnight, Dunbar became a typical ghetto school. As unmotivated, unruly and disruptive students flooded in, Dunbar teachers began moving out and many retired. More than 80 years of academic excellence simply vanished into thin air."

David Begley said...

If he was a rapper or a point guard in the NBA, then the kids would be excited. Bread and circuses.

Andrew said...

This makes me think of The Office episode where Michael Scott promised to pay the tuition of a high school class, but shows up to give them laptop batteries.

Jack Klompus said...

If he was a rapper or a point guard in the NBA, then the kids would be excited.

And they know about those celebrities thanks to their access to media through their smartphones, something they all have. Marginalized systemic institutional gentrified intersectional something something black and brown bodies.

gilbar said...

i noticed that the classroom, was FULL of camera people and reporters, when Jeff walked in
How long was class delayed, WAITING for Jeff (and his armed bodyguards) to show up?
How long did the students sit there, surrounded by media types... WAITING?
and we're supposed to be surprised they were bored?

Teacher: YEA! Students, Jeff has guaranteed my salary (with RAISES!) for the next 5 years!
Students: Ummm, what about our class time? we have things to do? after all, we're the 1%*

the 1%* only the 1% are proficient in things like geometry. WHY ARE WE SUPPORTING the 1% ?

Dave Begley said...

One kid in the foreground appears to turn and ask the kid behind him, "Who is this guy?"

After he gets the answer, the kid is not impressed and shakes his hands like "big deal."

rcocean said...

Why would any kid be interested in Bezos? He's a good salesman, who with the help of some very powerful Pols and Bankers, built an online business. Good for him, but he's just a salesman. He's no more interesting than the guy who owns a chain of hardware stores.

He's not Steve Jobs. Nor did Bezos invent some technology that improved our lives, or do anything that was interesting/exciting. Going to the moon, that's exciting. Inventing the PC, that's interesting. Just making a lot of $$ selling stuff - nope.

rcocean said...

This reminds me of the Simpson's episode where they visit a "Box Factory".

BTW, our 2nd grade class actually visited a candy factory and that was pretty neat, since we got some chocolate candy. I remember a big vat where all the ingredients were churned together. We also paid a visit to the local TV/Radio station.

Wilbur said...

The teacher's reaction was what got my attention. The squealing, the OMG ... good lord, lady, get a grip. What a role model.

Andrew said...

@rcocean,
I fear for your safety. He knows where you live.
Think James Gandolfini in "True Romance."

Michael K said...

He's not Steve Jobs. Nor did Bezos invent some technology that improved our lives, or do anything that was interesting/exciting. Going to the moon, that's exciting. Inventing the PC, that's interesting. Just making a lot of $$ selling stuff - nope.

Why we are stuck in a declining society. Nobody today would make the movie "Young Tom Edison." It is all about money and political influence now. At least Bill Gates did not have a big lobby operation in DC until the FTC went after him and taught him he had to buy protection.

richlb said...

Ok Boomer.

Michael said...

It needs to be "than the kids are." Otherwise it's ambiguous.

PM said...

Some kid in the class will know who Bezos is when his Dad loses his Amazon job for falling a few seconds behind the warehouse fulfillment clock.

madAsHell said...

"Oh My Gawd!!! SQUEEEEEEE".

They put that airhead in charge of the Future Engineers program. It's not a serious program.

madAsHell said...

My professor, C.T. Yang, wrote on my blue book "You have learned very little!"

You didn't do much better with your html link.

Sebastian said...

"What will it take for schools to get kids interested in Jeff Bezos?"

1. Jeff telling stories about how to swap not-so-hot wife for hot girlfriend
2. Jeff handing out Amazon $1,000 gift certificates.
3. Getting different "kids" into the schools.
4. Nothing: "kids" are interested in what they are interested in. The end.

Ann Althouse said...

“ When I first read your headline, I thought you were comparing the teacher's interest in Bezos with the teacher's interest in the kids...”

Thanks.

I hate making that kind of mistake.

Fixed.

PM said...

Sebastian: "Jeff telling stories about how to swap not-so-hot wife for hot girlfriend."

His "how" included a $38 billion divorce settlement which, I agree, is a good story.

Matt said...

Cringe-tastic. And did I spy a cracka student in that DC classroom?

Now, that is certainly surprising. Or maybe it's a college intern.

Ray - SoCal said...

Another stop on the rehabilitate Jeff Bezos image, post divorce.

Just prior to his divorce was the news story of him making breakfast for his kids.

The goal is so he is not seen as a nasty capitalist blood sucker, that all right thinkers abhor.

Amazon is amazing on what it has done. It's a ruthless, super aggressive competitor. Basically the culture of Wall Street, M&A, moved into commerce and technology.

Birches said...

I'm not sure my middle schooler or elementary age kids know who Bezos is. I don't really blame the kids on this.

Jack Klompus said...

My professor, C.T. Yang, wrote on my blue book "You have learned very little!"

You didn't do much better with your html link.

Oh snap, so much for "check your work". Thanks for pointing out the simple blunder, mad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chung_Tao_Yang

Sam L. said...

A better question is, why should they?

Rabel said...

Here's another photo.

Bringing the bodyguard along was a good call.

Cormac Kehoe said...

Hair and a new face. Although the steroids he is taking should help.

Char Char Binks said...

He's no Elon Musk, that's for sure.

daskol said...

You guys are seriously underestimating the dread pirate Bezos. If we go to the moon or Mars in my lifetime, I'd bet on Bezos getting there first.

daskol said...

Here's a lengthier, less sanitized version with a good view into what Amazon was like a decade ago, and Google too. This post used to be on Google+, lol, but the original is gone with the platform. And the author loves Reddit too.

I get that people don't like Amazon, but if you're not afraid of Jeff Bezos, you're mistaken.

Kirk Parker said...

" hot girlfriend"

Objection! Asserting facts not in evidence!

Kirk Parker said...

Daskol,

Thanks for the links! I'm just starting to read the rant, and am immediately rubbed the wrong way by this:

"I mean, just to give you a very brief taste: Amazon's recruiting process is fundamentally flawed by having teams hire for themselves, so their hiring bar is incredibly inconsistent across teams, despite various efforts they've made to level it out. "

Why *shouldn't* teams hire for themselves? They are certainly in a far better position to know what they need, and whether a particular person fields that need, than the folks far-off in HR.