Nanny of the Month: Computer-coding camps “problem children” to California

posted at 2:41 pm on March 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Reason TV has its new Nanny of the Month feature out today, celebrating the antics of busybodies in the month of February. Once again the competition is fierce, but Ted Balaker gives it to the state of California by a nose for shutting down “boot camps” that teach teens to become programmers:

At learn-to-code bootcamps, students spend about 10 weeks and around 15 grand on programs that often lead to good-paying tech jobs. And that’s something the State of California refuses to tolerate.

Never mind that the Golden State’s unemployment rate is the nation’s fifth highest, the real problem is that boot camps don’t have state licenses, so says the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, which recently doled out a bunch of cease and desist letters to the “problem children” (and yes, that’s how the BPPE’s Russ Heimerich refers to boot camp operators).

Maybe the problem children should follow the university model: jack up tuition and fail to prepare students for the job market. Then California might stop busting coding boot camps, and start subsidizing them instead.

In this case, though, I think I’d choose Columbia, South Carolina for its attempts to block private charitable efforts at feeding the poor and hungry. Businesses have to comply with certification requirements, even when they’re arguably intrusive and burdensome, or get the state to change its policies. Apart from the “problem children” comment, the BPPE seems to suggest that the agency will treat the issue with a light hand while the schools come into compliance. As nanny-state intrusions go, that’s not too bad.

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It takes a village…
/

OmahaConservative on March 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

…more camps…to come!

KOOLAID2 on March 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Who gives a Fluke about Kazakhstan?? As long as they aren’t bombing panty factories in the US Reason is wasting their time worrying about their nannying.

NotCoach on March 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Lace panties…

Versus feeding the poor…

Though the bootcamps was a good one it cannot hold up.

OregonPolitician on March 3, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I have to agree with your assessment Ed. I am not a fan of accreditation for schools, but I have known people to shell out a LOT of money for an unaccredited degree that was essentially worthless. $15k is a lot of money in any market, and some of these programs may be preying on those desperately unemployed people we know are in CA.

I don’t know what the right answer is, but I think the response of, “Hey, guys. Register with the state as the law requires,” isn’t unreasonable. On the flip side from other articles I understand what the law requires is antiquated and not in line with the fast pace of some of the material (like registering curriculum changes). But that requires a fix of the system. It’s a broken system but not completely wrong headed.

Ultimately a system of charging $15k for material that may or may not be helpful is going to attract more scammers than people handing out sandwiches at the park, and therefore will need to be policed more aggressively. The recent moves to regulate donations and services to the poorest and neediest is pure statism, motivated either by a misdirected desire to somehow protect people from donations, or to crowd out private donations so people must turn to the state.

MC88 on March 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Instead of pushing the elderly over the cliff, they are now to be starved!

ladyingray on March 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

It takes a village pillage

OmahaConservative on March 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

FIFY

Shy Guy on March 3, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Who gives a Fluke about Kazakhstan?? As long as they aren’t bombing panty factories in the US Reason is wasting their time worrying about their nannying.

NotCoach on March 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

They better be more worried about Putin deciding what parts of their country he wants to “repatriate” than lace panties… Kazakhstan has Balkinour, the Russian Cosmodrome and launch site…

ConstantineXI on March 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM

…more camps…to come!

KOOLAID2 on March 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

I figure as much.

hawkeye54 on March 3, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Gee, I can’t believe the lace panties issue is running a distant third. Can’t you people see a serious imposition on our freedoms when it hits you in the crotch face?

Hucklebuck on March 3, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Instead of pushing the elderly over the cliff, they are now to be starved!

ladyingray on March 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Not as messy.

Solaratov on March 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Someone in Cali is not getting the proper kick backs.

docflash on March 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Semi- O T :
.
Possible … good news for Justina Pelletier . . .

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2014/02/28/dcf-working-to-send-teen-in-medical-dispute-back-to-connecticut/

listens2glenn on March 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Anytime the private sector does something better than the government, the government takes out revenge. The worst offense is when the private sector is able to provide better education…absolutely the worst thing that the public sector can do. Once parents realize they do not have to have their children indoctrinated but could have them educated…well, that is just the worst that could be done.

evie1949 on March 3, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Who gives a Fluke about Kazakhstan?? As long as they aren’t bombing panty factories in the US Reason is wasting their time worrying about their nannying.

NotCoach on March 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

It’s always sad to see someone who was born with no sense of humor. It’s usually a sign of a very limited intellect.

ZeusGoose on March 3, 2014 at 3:21 PM

It’s always sad to see someone who was born with no sense of humor. It’s usually a sign of a very limited intellect.

ZeusGoose on March 3, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Yeah…

NotCoach on March 3, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Someone in Cali is not getting the proper kick backs.

docflash on March 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

That, of course, is what “licensing” is all about.

ConstantineXI on March 3, 2014 at 3:25 PM

MC88 on March 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I’m of the mindset as you.

Having been an engineer for over 35 years, and in a hiring position for the last 20 years, every time I see a resume from a job candidate from schools like ITT, etc., I almost always throw them in the trash. I took a chance a few times on people with this kind of training (but limited experience) and ended up letting them go after 2-3 weeks.

Not always, but too often, the people that shell out this kind of money are looking for an ‘instant career’. Unfortunately, they usually just end up poorer and no better off.

I do know enough about real computer science and programming that nothing like this boot camp is going to teach anyone enough to make it worth $15K!

As far as state licensing goes, that’s another question. I wish all the idiots that followed Jim Jones down to Guyana could have been stopped, but even some their family members couldn’t do it.

If I really believed these state boards had the consumers’ best interests at heart, I’d say yes. Usually, they don’t.

But I also think ReasonTV is giving an extremely abbreviated point of view, and Ed isn’t doing too much to look into the facts.

ZeusGoose on March 3, 2014 at 3:43 PM

What the blank of the century

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Women took to the streets wearing panties on their heads Sunday as they protested new laws banning lace underwear in Kazakhstan…

This trade allegiance was criticized in 2012 by the then secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who said it was an attempt to “re-Sovietize the region.”

Lace underwear does not meet a 6 percent threshold for moisture absorption required by the new law, with the synthetic material reportedly reaching only 3 to 3.6 percent.

Well “Her Thighness” has, ahem, weighed in on the subject. Apparently Cankles likes her “lacie panties!”

Huma, Huma, Huma!

pain train on March 3, 2014 at 3:53 PM

What the blank of the century

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Racist.

NotCoach on March 3, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Were the lace panties for the Muslims or the Musliminas?

BL@KBIRD on March 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

This agency wasn’t even around until 2010, Draconian cuts and all that jazz. The real problem here is that most of the people going to these types of trade schools pay their own way, and well, we can’t have that now.

Borgcube on March 3, 2014 at 4:22 PM

While the enforcement agencies are probably staffed–or headed–by leftist jerks, you can’t fault them for doing their jobs. Otherwise, how could you complain when people like Holder and Obama refuse to do theirs?

caldfyr on March 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Were the lace panties for the Muslims or the Musliminas?

BL@KBIRD on March 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Camels actually, camel lingerie is huge in the muslim world.

slickwillie2001 on March 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Teaching miscreants to be programming miscreants. Oh yeah, that’s rich. Stand by for another wave of cyber threats from within.

jake49 on March 3, 2014 at 4:44 PM

SC used to be a nice place to live. Too bad they’ve been infiltrated by people from further north who were trying to get away from all the lib/nanny state thinkin’.

Kissmygrits on March 3, 2014 at 5:01 PM

If they want those “boot camps” to reopne, all they have to do is commit to having them in areas serviced by the “high speed rail” system they’re trying to build.

Governor Moonbeam will be so ecstatic to actually have a purpose for his pet project that he’ll do whatever is necessary to make it happen.

malclave on March 3, 2014 at 5:18 PM

You guys make very happy that I’m a libertarian now.

We’re seriously debating which is worse, not feeding the homeless (many of whom will never change), or whether it was a good idea to close down a coding bootcamp (which can in theory, generate good jobs, reduce unemployment, increase tax revenue, etc etc etc)?!

Reason hit this one on the head (as usual), it’s the coding bootcamps.

First of all, to respond to ZeusGoose, since you seem to be a fellow IT manager/owner: I agree with you about ITT tech, most of what they teach is useless. I’ve also ‘tried out’ the grads from there at my company and never had success in the long run with them. However, one bad apple doesn’t really spoil the bunch in this context. ITT teaches IT management, servers, etc… they don’t focus on programming. The people who take those courses simply aren’t knowledgeable about the alternatives, alas, we live in a free(ish?) market. ITT has competition, much of it better than ITT — New Horizons immediately comes to mind, all of their courses train toward certification (which will indeed get you a job) — Would you turn down an MCITP or CCNP just because they also had a ‘degree’ from ‘ITT’ or similar? No, you wouldn’t. How do I know? I wouldn’t.

I agree that the length of this programming bootcamp is extremely short, but let’s say they’re only teaching them HTML5/JS in that time (you know, a useful language, not like the almost-useless assembly language they love to teach in university ‘computer science’ curriculum), I think a motivated student could get conversational with those technologies in a short time.

I also concede that scammers will emerge, but how long can a ‘scammer’ continue to squeeze money out of a community before people realize it’s a scam? I would think it would take only a short time to figure out whether or not the claims of ‘job-placement’ were accurate before word got out one way or the other. After all, this is the age of the Internet, is it not?

People have choices to make, the more informed the better, but regulation is (almost) never the answer, as is certainly the case here. I’ve done some more reading on the subject, and it seems the tech world is very much in an uproar over BPPE’s actions, which is a good thing. Most techs are libertarians, they just don’t know it yet :)

nullrouted on March 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Seems like I remember Obama saying something about ‘government does things right’. I guess that depends on what ‘things’ he was talking about.

Wasting money

Obstructing commerce

Squelching freedom

Making health insurance un-affordable

Fostering corruption
.
.
.

s1im on March 3, 2014 at 8:04 PM

“You don’t professionalize, until you federalize”

~ Joe Biden on pushing out private airport security firms in favor of the T&A.

Freelancer on March 3, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Columbia, SC is totally right to restrict the feeding of the homeless. Do-gooders want to feed the homeless in some neighborhood that they don’t live in. The people in the neighborhood in which the homeless are feed face the consequences of greater crime and the eyesore of begging. The people who do the feeding go home to their neighborhoods where there are no homeless. F*** the do-gooders.

thuja on March 3, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Feeding the homeless involves food, so there is at least a somewhat plausible government interest in it. That’s not to say the government’s actions are good, just that their could be some circumstances where they make sense.

The boot camps are the bigger issue. It’s not like schools generally offer much in the way of computer skills, unless you go the full and very expensive route of a full computer science major. There’s a whole lot of room for courses that teach the rudiments of a particular limited area.

Are some of those courses worthless? Absolutely. But unless there’s some fraud going on, people should be able to make their own judgements on whether the crash course teaches enough to give them a leg up on a job.

But there’s the problem I have with Reason Mag sometimes. They present it like it’s a purely black and white issue. While I reject the ridiculous notion that every course of education has to be blessed by the government to be valid, the government certainly has the right to investigate cases of fraud. And if a crash course makes false representations that a few hundred bucks and a few days of class will lead to a job, but the crash course turns out to be useless, then a fraud investigation may be in order.

The big difference between a fraud investigation, which I would support in the right circumstances, and “nannyism,” would be whether the government is reacting to a problem, or just assuming anything not previously blessed by them is a problem in itself.

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 4, 2014 at 1:30 AM