Implications of CS-as-Business in High School for one Georgia county

February 29, 2012 at 7:47 am 5 comments

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.

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Desperate need for more expertise in computing, across sectors Should anyone write an iBooks textbook?

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Thad Crews (Jr.)  |  February 29, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Mark, thanks for sharing this. Barb’s experience reflects not only the sad state of CS instructional opportunities in high school, but business instructional opportunites as well. One instructor for all business classes? Really? Plus, we know that our math and science scores are weak overall (as a country). Don’t get me started on students reading and writing skills. (Sigh!) If anyone happens to have a thought or two about the good things going on in the US high schools, now would be a good time to share!

    • 2. Cecily  |  February 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

      > If anyone happens to have a thought or two about the good things going on in the US high schools, now would be a good time to share!

      The legislature here(Utah) is thinking about spending 6 million to put 1:1 technology in every student’s hands in about 10 schools(inc. elementary and middle schools). If it passes, it will be an incredible research opportunity. One of the big barriers to cross-curricular computer science right now is access to a computer lab.

      • 3. Thad Crews (Jr.)  |  March 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm

        Does the $6 Million Plan specify how the 1:1 hardware technology will be used in those 10 schools? Is there a link to learn more? (It would be a shame, but not uncommon, for legislatures to think that buying hardware = learning results.)

  • 4. Alfred Thompson (@alfredtwo)  |  March 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I’ve seen this all over the country in the last couple of years. The worst thing is that business programs have become a dumping ground for students who can’t (or don’t want to) cut it in college prep programs. SO where many college prep CS curses are electives that students have chosen and are motivated to take many business courses are overloaded with students who really don’t want to be in school at all.
    While there are some great teachers trying to do good things in these classes the lack of institutional support can be a real problem.
    On the other hand a lot of career/technical schools do it right with their own programming and web development programs. Many of these programs avoid the APCS exam as not practical enough but at the same time have students doing work that is every bit as advanced as APCS programs in college prep programs. I’d rather see some students in those schools which really deal well with hands on can’t sit still learners than some college prep programs that are all about the exam.

  • […] for a computing job is (a) wrong and (b) counter-productive at the high school level, since it encourages the instruction to be more vocational and less about developing computing concepts that could be used in post-secondary instruction. […]


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