Tech educator Daphne Bradford joined reporter Daina Beth Solomon for pancakes at the Denny's near Dorsey High School in South L.A., where Bradford teaches computer science through her nonprofit, Mother of Many. Bradford, a math enthusiast who sports an Apple watch, told the California section why students should learn to code, even far from Silicon Valley. We later emailed her questions and crunched the conversation into this:
You grew up in Compton, Inglewood and Ladera Heights, where you live now. Ever thought of moving to a leafy Silicon Valley town where French bakeries offer dainty pastries and Pilates 24/7?
My dream is to bring Silicon Valley to sunny South Los Angeles, where you can eat good soul food, homemade sock-it-to-me cake and my preserved pickles. I already have access to Pilates 24/7 at home and the gym up the street. Move to Silicon Valley for what?
Your best Candy Crush score?
I love playing Farm Heroes, morning, noon and night! My top score is 280,000 at Level 149. We taught the class to make their own version of Flappy Bird using Microsoft's TouchDevelop and had to constantly tell them to stop playing their game when they should have been working.
If Mark Zuckerberg hired homegrown talent for a Facebook campus with free massages and soda pop in the Crenshaw District or Baldwin Village, would he still seem like a little dweeb?
Mark Zuckerberg is a "Big Willy Billionaire" known for wearing hoodies, so "little dweeb" does not apply. I had the opportunity to visit the Facebook campus and it was amazing. The only thing missing are condos. If Mr. Zuckerberg had the confidence to partner with a minority female technology expert like me, and build a Facebook campus in the jungles of South Los Angeles, he would be the coolest dude on the planet and get a huge return on his investment.
Are your Dorsey High School students fired up for a new Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science Principles, coming out in 2017?
They have two years to prepare for a test created to encourage historically underrepresented students and females to consider computer science as a college and career option. Not only are they making computer science education history, they're laying the foundation for all South Los Angeles youth.
Technology is part of everyday life. Taking a few computer science classes opens a world of knowledge that can lead you to controlling some of the technology you consume. I agree with Steve Jobs: "Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer ... because it teaches you how to think."
Do more African American and Latino coders mean more hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and thus world harmony?
It's going to take more than 140 characters and hashtags to ease racial tensions. Racial tensions will be eased when people stop killing each other because of skin color.
Big tech companies are falling over each other to support Mother of Many, right?
Ain't nobody falling over each other to give Mother of Many funding. If one of them would give me a BIG shot that would be a real game changer.
The Silicon Valley tech conglomerates say they can't find African Americans and Latinos to hire. Are they dirty liars?