Chicago Announces Comprehensive K-12 CS Program

January 26, 2014 at 1:19 am 2 comments

The scope of the Chicago plan is impressive.  In case you thought that the idea of offering foreign language credit for CS was a joke, it’s being considered as part of the Chicago plan.  The rationale for the plan is interesting: Arguing that it’s about national competitiveness, and about democratization.

On the first day of Computer Science Education Week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett announced the most comprehensive K-12 computer science education plan in a major school district. This plan includes creating a pipeline for foundational computer science skills in elementary schools, offering at least one computer science class at every high school, and elevating computer science to a core subject.

“This plan will help us compete with countries like China and the UK, where children take coding classes in elementary school, and create an environment where we can help support the next Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marissa Mayer,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By democratizing computer science, we are leveling the playing field for all children to have the same skills, appetite to learn, and access to technology to excel in this growing field.”

The K-12 program will expand student access to computer science literacy over the next five years. The program will include:

  • In the next three years, every high school will offer a foundational “Exploring Computer Science” course.
  • In the next five years, at least half of all high schools will also offer an AP Computer Science course.
  • Chicago will also be the first US urban district to offer a K-8 computer science pathway, reaching one in four elementary schools in the next five years.
  • Within five years, CPS will allow computer science to count as a graduation requirement (e.g. possibly as a math, science, or foreign language credit). Only thirteen other states have elevated computer science to a core subject instead of an elective.

via City of Chicago :: Mayor Emanuel And CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Announce Comprehensive K-12 Computer Science Program For CPS Students.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Liza Loop  |  January 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I support Chicago’s effort with three suggestions to improve reasoning about the project.

    + First, as the world shrinks we need to stop touting “competition” with people in other nations in favor of “collaboration”. Our enemies should be poverty, disease and resource shortages, not each other. + Second, coding takes place within a context of a natural language. It would be a mistake to substitute computer science programming for natural language mastery. Tomorrow’s citizens will need both.
    + Third, computing should be its own discipline not a substitute for math, science, or foreign language requirements. The good news is that by teaching computing earlier – in the elementary grades – students will be able to apply these skills to the learning of math, science, or foreign language. As their learning accelerates students will be able to fit more subjects into their school schedules. Rosetta Stone and its competitors will make learning a foreign language faster and programming is an excellent pathway into standard algebra.

    To loop back to my first point, computer science promotes systems thinking. Systems thinking leads us to understand how competition and collaboration interact to enhance sustainability in a mostly closed system like Earth.

  • […] the next step after the Hour of Code and plans to implement comprehensive CS reform (like in Chicago): Where are you going to get the […]


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