Lack of Computer Curricula Deemed 'Disastrous and Shortsighted'

Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

Lack of Computer Curricula Deemed 'Disastrous and Shortsighted'

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I see that PC Magazine is covering the recent report from the CSTA on high school computer science curriculum in the US. The CSTA report is available here and I highly recommend reading it. Computer Science teachers know most of the stuff in the report but getting others to see it and do something about it seems to be all but impossible.

I talked to the dean of a college at a major university who told me that the head of his state’s department of education will not even answer his mail or phone calls to talk about the issue of K-12 computer science education. He’s had some luck getting others in education to at least start talking about certification of teachers so that they can create a program of studies in computer science education. Do you know that in most states there is no special certification for computer science? In some states you have to be certified in business but that certification covers a lot more accounting than it does computer science? In other states, thought not many, you have to be certified in math – again without any real requirement that you know computer science. Yes, it’s that bad.

Now we can argue if computer science should be part of the core college prep curriculum (I think it should) but in many areas it is not even a college prep elective. In a lot of places its vocational education. Now I think that having a computer science program in vocational education is a great thing but I don’t think we should be keeping college bound kids from taking it.

Texas is now increasing the number of years of math and science that are required for high school graduation. But right now Computer Science cannot be used to meet those requirements. This is a disaster in my opinion. If you live or teach in Texas you should know that the TCEA (and CSTA) are behind a movement to contact your local state Board of Education representatives and urge them to include computer science in these requirements. If this doesn’t happen then the number of students who can actually take a computer science course is going to fall through the floor. This is hardly what a state as invested in hi-tech as Texas can afford to see happen.

The US really needs to get behind computer science education and it really has to start earlier. But unless the business community gets on the bandwagon I doubt much progress can be made.

  • I know it doesn't releive the pain, however makes you feel less lonely: in Italy it's pretty much the same.

    Regards,

    Andrew
  • I am passionate about this!  I have been attempting to get certification IN MY FIELD! My options were to go the vocational track with the welders or to become certified in Middle School math and take my state exam to also get certified in computer science.  The exam would cover a lot of accounting, etc. which is fine with me.

    I am unusual because I work at a college preparatory school that has included computer education as a primary part of their college preparatory environment.  It is such a mistake to remove computing from the college prep environment but this is what has happened in most public and many private schools.

    Today I worked with a student from another school on SAT prep, she was a 10th grader and could not type in the program to enter her essay.  She, however, knows Latin so it will help her on the MCAT to get into med school one day!

    In America, the home of the transistor, we stand to be surpassed because we do not understand the nature of computing.  Keyboarding is the next step after learning cursive writing!  Computer and information literacy are essential at the middle school level.

    I have been following and applaud the CTSA on what they are doing to bring attention to this important issue.

    Unfortunately, when we have so many students who cannot read, it is easy to sideline computing.  However, I have to wonder that if students were reading relevant material and participating in exciting writing on blogs, if they would not be more likely to want to read and write!

    Thank you for this important post!
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