Archive for February 29, 2012
As the Running on Empty report says, most US states classify Computer Science as a “Business” (career and vocational) rather than a “Science” or “Math.” Barb saw a sad implication of that last Saturday, when she taught a teacher workshop.
She had several new teachers from one Atlanta-area county. They told her that they were Business teachers who now have to learn some CS. As a budget cutting move, the county has decided to reduce the number of non-core (by definition of the No Child Left Behind Act) teachers, and each high school gets exactly one Business teacher. One teacher for Accounting, Web Design, Typing, Office Applications, all other Business classes, AND Computer Science.
Bravo for those teachers who are seeking out professional development to learn CS! Teacher professional development is no longer a necessity in Georgia, so these teachers are doing it on their own. (In Georgia, teachers no longer need continuing education credits to maintain their certification — budgets are too tight, so that requirement has been dropped.) Despite the calls for more CS, CS is getting short shrift in this deal.
The argument below for more computing education is a bit different from the most common one. Yes, industry needs more computer scientists and engineers, so we need to draw more people into those fields. Starting in high school (and earlier) is important because students are getting turned off to computing careers as early as middle school (see Yardi & Bruckman, ICER 2007), so we need to give them a chance to see real computing earlier so that they can give it a fair consideration.
But this piece in Education Week (thanks to John Pane for pointing it out to me!) is also arguing that “all sectors” are “demanding more and more expertise in computing.” Even if you’re not going to become a professional software developer, your field is going to need you to know more about computing. We should do this in K-12, then. This is really an argument for computing for everyone. Yes!
“The demand by industry is far greater than supply. Its not just Google and Microsoft. Its all sectors: health care, transportation, manufacturing. Every sector is demanding more and more expertise in computing.” Private companies say they are developing programs to mentor students and sustain interest in computer science and engineering.