Computer Science Education Act introduced in Congress
Press release from ACM announces that Jared Polis just last week introduced the Computer Science Education Act in Congress.
Key features of the Computer Science Education Act legislation include plans to:
- Fund planning grants for states to work with stakeholders to assess their computer science offerings in K-12 and develop concrete steps to strengthen them
- Fund five-year implementation grants for states, in partnership with local school districts and institutions of higher education, to carry out state plans by: developing state computer science standards, curriculum, and assessments; improving access to underserved populations; building professional development and teacher certification programs; creating online courses; and, ensuring computer science offerings are an integral part of the curriculum
- Establish a blue-ribbon commission to review the state of computer science education nationwide, and bring states together to address the computer science teacher certification crisis
- Establish computer science teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education
- Create an independent, rigorous evaluation of state programs funded under this Act with results reported to Congress and the Administration
I’m excited about the potential, but wondering about the strategy. I don’t know a lot about educational reform. Does it work top-down like this? How did the Sputnik-spurred revolution in math and science education get started in this country? Was it an act of Congress? Or was it a broader coalition? Maybe this is exactly the way to get started. I do recognize the concern voiced in this Education Week blog post:
In the first year of a four-year program, Porter-Gaud instructors lead units on robotics, game programming and DNA mapping. In the third, they educate students about opportunities to use computer science knowledge to become entrepreneurs. Would federal intervention help encourage similar unorthodox programs, or would it over-standardize and hinder creative teaching of what can be a dynamic and diverse subject?