Brooks and Polis Introduce Bipartisan Computer Science Education Bill

July 1, 2013 at 1:02 am 4 comments

The 2013 Computer Science Education Bill is going after the right things.  The critical challenge in computing education today is getting more teachers.  With only 2,000 advanced placement CS teachers in the United States, for over 25,000 high schools, over 90% of our high schools have no significant computer science.  We can’t get more computer science out there without more teachers.  Tapping into federal professional development budgets is critical to ramp up those needs.

We desperately need to change the way that we think about computer science.  Only 11 states even let their high schools count CS classes towards high school graduation requirements!  No wonder so few students are going into computer science, if so few of them even see it.  Computer science is as critical to the 21st Century as mathematics and science.  We have to treat it the same way.

The bill amends the definition of what is considered a “core academic subject” in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to include computer science. Funding set aside for core academic subjects may be used for a wide range of educational support, including professional development for educators, curriculum development and the purchasing of new technology. This no cost legislation provides additional flexibility not currently available when spending ESEA funds.

via Brooks and Polis Introduce Bipartisan Computer Science Education Bill | Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Becka Morgan  |  July 1, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Does the bill ensure that CS courses are actual computer science and not just teaching how to use applications like Microsoft Office?

    • 2. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  July 1, 2013 at 11:46 am

      I worried about that also. The bill supposedly defines “computer science”, but I could not find the text of the bill last night when I looked for it. I hope that the GPO sends it to the Library of Congress soon so that the public can see it.

    • 3. Steve Tate  |  July 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      The actual bill is on – it’s H.R.2536.IH – can’t figure how to link directly to that specific bill (the link it emailed through “share” doesn’t actually work – sigh).

      Overall, it looks good. In the findings it acknowledges that CS has been confused with other subjects: “Computer science education has been encumbered by confusion regarding the related but distinct concepts of computer science education, technology education, and the use of technology in education.”

      And the modification to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act includes this definition of computer science: “COMPUTER SCIENCE – The term `computer science’ means the study of computers and algorithmic processes and includes the study of computing principles, computer hardware and software design, computer applications, and the impact of computers on society.”

      It reads like it was written by CSTA or Computing in the Core folks, so is a well-informed statement.

      I wouldn’t get hopes up TOO much though – this bill has been introduced previously and never went anywhere. Some advocacy might be in order…

  • 4. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  July 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Including “computer applications” in the definition of computer science opens up all the “how to use Word” and “the computer is your friend” courses to being included, which is not exactly a desirable outcome.


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