Monday, July 18, 2016

Facebook blames its lack of diversity on America's lackluster public education system - SFGate

Facebook blames its lack of diversity on America's lackluster public education system - SFGate:

Facebook blames its lack of diversity on America's lackluster public education system

Facebook blames its lack of diversity on the scarcity of quality computer science instruction in American public schools. 
An annual diversity report released Thursday revealed the social media giant is still staffed with a lot of white men. The numbers indicate only 2 percent of its U.S. workforce is black and 4 percent hispanic, and when looking at technical staff, 1 percent is black and 3 percent hispanic. These figures have remained the same since 2014. Women make up 33 percent of the U.S. workforce; and 17 percent of technical staff.
In a blog post on the data, Maxine Williams, Facebook's global head of diversity, said the company's diversity problem was due to a lack of available talent and the public education system's failure to provide computer science classes. 
"It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system," Williams wrote. "Currently, only 1 in 4 US high schools teach computer science."
Williams goes on to share the low number of diverse students taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam, stating that in 2015 seven states had fewer than 10 girls take the test, and no girls took it in three. 
She adds, "No Black people took the exam in nine states including Mississippi where about 50% of high school graduates are Black, and 18 states had fewer than 10 Hispanics take the exam with another five states having no Hispanic AP Computer Science (CS) test takers. This has to change."
What's Facebook going to do about this?
The company, which has a history with investing in public education, promised $15 million to toward computer science education over the next five years. 
"Facebook's five-year commitment will help to drive the development of curricula, public school teacher-training and student skills-building, particularly among traditionally underrepresented populations in engineering and computer science," Williams wrote. "It will give thousands of students across the country the access to computer science they deserve."
Many observers are criticizing the company's response, saying the pipeline argument is a weak excuse.
"There are a ton of opportunities to increase demographic representation in tech companies with the people that already exist in the workforce," Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a diversity consultancy that works with many Silicon Valley firms, told the Wall Street Journal.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Leslie Miley, director of engineering at Slack and an advocate of diversity in Silicon Valley, called Facebook's statement a "f------ insult."
Facebook may still lack diversity, but this year's numbers did show some promise. While current representation in U.S. senior leadership is 3 percent black, 3 percent hispanic and 27 percent women, 9 percent of new senior leadership hires in the U.S. are black, 5 percent hispanic and 29 percent women, Williams wrote. What's more, Asians represent 38 percent of Facebook's U.S. workforce and this number has increased by 2 percent each year.Facebook blames its lack of diversity on America's lackluster public education system - SFGate:



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