Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers

  • From: Storm Dragon <stormdragon2976@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2011 15:30:18 -0400

If this gets going I would like to teach. Maybe entry level shell
programming (Bash). sounds like a great idea.
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On Thu, 2011-04-07 at 12:02 -0400, Bill Cox wrote:

> This is still in the dumb-idea phase, and I don't have any funding
> lined up to get this started.  That said...
> I have not been able to find any on-line school for teaching blind
> people to become professional programmers.  I feel the world needs
> such an organization.  I am not able to start such a school myself,
> but I would be interested in assisting social entrepreneurs in
> starting such a venture.  I it would best be implemented as a
> for-profit social entrepreneurial venture.  You can read about social
> entrepreneurs here:
> I'm thinking it could be a Low Profit Corporation (LPC) founded to run
> the school for a profit.  Everyone hired in teaching or management
> would be vision impaired or blind.  Students would attend classes
> on-line, and could be anywhere in the world.  Classes would not be
> free (maybe $1,000 per 1-semester course?).  Students who are too poor
> to pay would be expected to do well in their courses and make up their
> fees by assisting teaching of those courses in later semesters.  They
> might also be required to work for an associated consulting company to
> earn tuition.  Students would be encouraged to help mentor each other
> in any case.
> Associated with the school could be a software consulting services
> company.  The company would only hire vision impaired programmers, and
> students wanting to work for the company could take classes designed
> to train them in the skills they'll need.  The company might encourage
> it's employees to spend one day a week on FOSS projects of their
> interest, which hopefully would include improving accessibility.
> Rough numbers to back up the idea:  There are around 15 million people
> with "severe" vision impairments in the US.  Roughly half of those
> people are too old.  Half of the rest may have other impairments that
> would prevent them from becoming programmers.  In the general
> population, there are 1 programmer out of every 500 people in the US.
> I would expect a ratio at least that high among the blind, or about
> 7,500 professional programmers in the US alone.  If we took 20 years
> to train that many, it'd be 375 new students per year, and assuming a
> two year program, we'd have 750 students.  If only half paid the class
> fees, but took three classes at a time (a full load), that'd be
> $3,000*750*2 = $4.5 million per year.  My kids go to a school which
> happens to have about 750 students and a budget of just over $4
> million per year, and that includes paying for a school.  So, that
> math seems to work out, but we're not talking about anyone making a
> billion dollars in this effort.  This is not a VC-fundable idea, but
> it might attract funding from groups that invest in socially
> beneficial startups.
> I know a couple of good candidates to start this school, and one might
> be interested in actually doing it.  Are there any good blind or
> vision impaired people you guys could recommend for me to talk to?  I
> think the key would be finding the right couple of guys.
> Thanks,
> Bill
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