Running on Empty Report Released

October 8, 2010 at 1:14 pm 3 comments

The Running on Empty report by CSTA and the ACM Education Policy Committee has just been released.  It’s a state-by-state analysis of how well each state’s K-12 learning objectives meet the learning objectives in the ACM K-12 curriculum objectives.  It paints a pretty miserable picture, but it also sets a yardstick by which to measure our progress upward from here.

Computer science and the technologies it enables now lie at the heart of our economy, our daily lives, and scientific enterprise. As the digital age has transformed the world and workforce, U.S. K–12 education has fallen woefully behind in preparing students with the fundamental computer science knowledge and skills they need for future success. To be a well-educated citizen as we move toward an ever-more computing-intensive world and to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century, students must have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computer science.

The report finds that roughly two-thirds of the country have few computer science education standards for secondary school education, and most states treat high school computer science courses as simply an elective and not part of a student’s core education.

via Running on Empty.

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Are they Students or are they Learners? UCLA receives $12.5 million grant to increase computer science instruction in urban schools

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan Kay  |  October 10, 2010 at 9:23 am

    This is an interesting report, with a lot of obvious effort put into organizing and writing it.

    Its main argument — that all students in K-12 should learn about computing — has considerable merit.

    But when the next level of suggestion — to heed and use the ACM “Model Curriculum for K-12” — is examined closely, one gasps, and is even chilled by the size and nature of the miss.

    It is essentially concerned with “learning a little *abou*t” rather than “learning *how to do* fluently”, and also quite misses what children can learn and do on the one hand, and how to go about teaching computing on the other.

    It is hard to see this as other than “tokenism”, even though the perpetrators of the framework may very well have had much more sincere goals in mind.

    It does match up well with similar empty gestures at math and science learning — where the schools and their systems can say “Hey, we are teaching this important stuff”, but where nothing above threshold is being attempted.

    If part of the reason for the dilution and denaturing of the subject matter is the weak to no preparation and knowledge of the existing teachers, the remedy is not to lose the subject in order to be able to say “we are doing something”. This is fake. And it misleads and cheats children.

    As the bathwater runs out, can we save the baby?

    Best wishes,


  • […] with the release of the Running on Empty report was the announcement of the “Computing in the Core” coalition: […]

  • […] in the Core effort). Computer science is now included as part of a national UK curriculum.  Computer science is not yet part of most US state curricula.  Neil Brown does a great job (in the blog post linked below) considering the strengths and […]


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