State of California tells code schools to cease and desist

Code academies must comply or face huge fines and closure

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In my post “Where Women Learn to Code” I extolled the virtues of friends, boyfriends, and husbands who encourage the women in their lives to consider a future in IT and the code academy Hackbright, that specializes in teaching women to switch careers and make it happen. But a new(ish) law is threatening that option. California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education is charged with enforcing the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, which asks for better regulatory oversight of private postsecondary schools in the state.

And that department says code schools are not in compliance, according to VentureBeat. A statement from the schools that received a strongly worded letter from the powers that be, insists that the schools in question -- App Academy, Dev Bootcamp, Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, and Zipfian Academy – “Welcome appropriate oversight in our fledgling industry, and are in close discussions with the BPPE to define our classification and take appropriate next steps.”

Indeed, it’s likely that the schools and the regulators will work it out, since, hopefully, the BBPE has bigger fish to fry than these well-intentioned organizations that rose to fill a dire need for coders in Silicon Valley. The schools, according to their own statement, are well received by the high-tech firms that need coders. “Thousands of individuals have participated,” says the statement posted at Hack Reactor’s site. “Often finding high-paying employment in the field…We are a valuable, thriving, and well-intentioned sector of California’s economy and workforce development, and our programs offer high-demand skills training to unemployed and underemployed Californians.”

According to the VentureBeat story and others, the BPPE, would rather work with the schools to comply with the law than hit any of them with a $50,000 fine. The long-term problem may be  that compliance with buraucratic regulations will make it hard for these schools to be limber enough to create programs that keep up with the changing-at-the-speed-of-light world of coding.

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