On Monday the 25th of August the Code Club board gave me an ultimatum, either I have to stop saying negative things about Code Club sponsors, or resign as a director. After careful consideration, I have handed in my resignation.
I've had a great time working on Code Club, from inception and boozy planning with Clare to writing educational materials and seeing them used in the wild, most of all seeing what the kids make. I have really enjoyed user testing lessons with kids, and going around the world meeting like-minded people and enthusing about constructionism. I am lucky to have met so many people who love Seymour Papert as much as I do <3
The board has given me detailed instructions in how I should talk about Code Club sponsors. For instance, if someone asks me about x's involvement in corporate mass surveillance where x is a Code Club sponsor (eg Google), I should answer: "I do not want to get into the specifics of any particular corporation. Nonetheless, it’s worth restating that the Code Club board believe X are a tremendous partner. As a member of the board I am completely aligned with that view."
I'm not comfortable with lying and so it is in my best interest to resign.
I don't believe the the world is black and white. People and corporations are able to do both good things and bad things. Even if Google was mostly good, I need to have the right to call them out when they do bad things. Doing some good things should not give you a free pass. We should not accept that privacy no longer exists, just because corporations doing mass surveillance also teach kids to code. I cannot stay silent about large corporations infringing on human rights, and I believe it is my moral obligation to speak out against it.
At first, I thought I could be pragmatic, that I could play along with things I don't agree with with as long as it was for a greater goal. But there are some things I do not want to sacrifice. And in any case, I can continue to do all the educational work I want to do outside of Code Club. Like working on the new Digital Maker badge for the Scouts, writing educational materials and running free workshops.
I know Code Club's over 2000 (and growing!) volunteers will continue to do awesome work, they’ll have my continued admiration, love and support.