Core National Standards released: Got Computing?

June 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm 2 comments

The Core National Standards were released June 2.  While the draft had language about computer science, I don’t see any in the released document.  There is talk about spreadsheets and modeling and even “computer algebra systems,” there is no discussion of computer science or programming.  As expected, the creation of these standards is running into opposition from those who prefer America’s long tradition of local community control of curriculum.

The greatest fear is that America’s long tradition of local control of schools will be a loss for the nation. But what made sense when the U.S. was sparsely settled in the Colonial era is hard to justify in the new global economy. It’s no longer possible to argue compellingly that geography should determine curriculum. Yet it’s going to be difficult for many people to accept the change.

What may help them is the realization that the U.S. is one of the few developed countries that lack national standards for public schools. National standards alone admittedly do not guarantee better education. (Nine of the 10 lowest-scoring countries in math, and eight of the lowest-scoring countries in science have them, as well as eight of the 10 highest-scoring countries.) But local control often has resulted in weakened standards in order for states to make themselves look good under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

via It’s Time to Adopt National Standards – Walt Gardner’s Reality Check – Education Week.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gary Litvin  |  June 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Mark, congratulations on your election to the ACM board.

    Not only the standards not mention computing in any meaningful way, they do not include any computer-related math elements either. The column also says:

    the standards reflect what most teachers in the same fields agree upon.

    Is this good enough? As I said in my ealier comment, the standards might have been written in early 1900s. The silence from the ACM and computational thinking communities during the standards draft discussion period was disheartening.

    Gary Litvin

  • 2. Tom Hoffman  |  June 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Walt’s analysis here is a bit out of sync. We haven’t had “local” standards for a decade, everyone is on state level standards. The real pushback is from states that have made significant and successful investments in their standards, standards which were created with much more robust and informed processes than the Common Core’s railroad job.

    I can’t speak about the math standards, but the ELA standards are poorly organized, narrow in scope, repetitive and *not* benchmarked to those of higher achieving countries. The Common Core standards are better than the worst ones being used in the US, but distinctly inferior to the best ones, including, inexplicably, those recently developed by Achieve, one of the three main parties in their design.


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