Amazon Aims To Increase Influence On K-12 Schools and Make Kids Hardware-Savvy

theodp writes: A job posting for a US Senior Manager, Amazon Future Engineer reveals Amazon's ambitious expansion plans for K-12 CS education in the U.S. and beyond: "We believe computer science can unleash creativity and unlock human potential. Amazon Future Engineer is a global, childhood-to-career, education program designed to increase access to computer science education to young people from underserved and underrepresented communities. [...] We are looking for a leader to increase our reach and impact in the United States among students in our primary target population: students attending, graduating from, or living in neighborhoods served by Title I public schools. In the U.S., we currently reach more than 6,000 Title I schools and have awarded 300 college scholarships. We seek to continue scaling our reach and impact in Title I schools, but more importantly to grow our impact on the students we serve. [...] This leader will also work closely with the Amazon Future Engineer global product team as a Voice of the Customer conduit for students and teachers in the HQ regions and U.S. more broadly. In addition, this leader will serve as a colleague to other Product Managers leading local implementation of AFE programs in other countries (including among others, the UK, France, and Canada). [...] Amazon Future Engineer is a pillar program of Amazon in the Community. While the day-to-day work of AFE focuses on CS education, this role requires a systems-thinker who understands that educational needs intersect with other needs addressed by other AITC pillar programs (e.g., hunger, housing equity). This role will collaborate and coordinate with other Amazon community impact initiatives." Interestingly, Code.org's GitHub documentation and code suggests that the tech-backed nonprofit has been helping Amazon achieve its Title I reach-and-impact ambitions. In the code, NCES data from the U.S. Dept. of Education is used with Amazon-specified cutoffs to qualify certain teachers and schools for participation in the $50M Amazon Future Engineer program, as well as their eligibility for other "Free stuff from Amazon". Comments in routine afe_high_needs explain how the code "determines if [a] school meets Amazon Future Engineer criteria" and is deemed "eligible if the school is any of the following: a) title I school, b) more than 40% URM [underrepresented minority] students, or c) more than 40% of students eligible for free and reduced meals." National School Lunch Program eligibility data is often used as a proxy for the number of students living in poverty (in 2015, a majority of public school students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch). In a second job posting for a Sr. Product Manager, Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon reveals its plans for K-12 CS education also go beyond software: "We're looking for leader for a new initiative that combines hands-on STEM learning for K12 students with pathways into careers in hardware design engineering. You will envision and launch a new 'maker challenge' to ignite student's natural creativity to solve problems that matter to them through technology. Additionally, you will work backward from diverse hardware engineers working today to create an experimental early career scholar-internship cohort that allows students to gain a foothold as technology professionals. You will be adept at partnership with schools and nonprofits that serve underserved communities, business units that excel in hardware engineering, and Amazon Future Engineer's broader team. You will be instrumental in delivering a hands-on and hardware centric nucleus at the center of our company-wide goal to reach 1.6 million underrepresented students globally with equitable computer science learning."

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