There are no computer science teachers in NY

February 27, 2014 at 1:38 am 8 comments

Here’s 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 teachers?

It is widely acknowledged that for New York City to prosper in the 21st century, its middle and high schools must teach computer science. What is not so well known is that there are no computer science teachers in New York—at least not on paper.

The state does not recognize computer science as an official subject, which means that teachers do not get trained in it while they are becoming certified as instructors.

That’s one reason public-school students have little exposure to the skills needed to snag computer software programming jobs, which are expected to grow faster than any other profession during the next decade.

Out of 75,000 teachers in New York City public schools, fewer than 100 teach computer science. While state officials are trying to modernize the education syllabus, industry leaders have been filling in the gap with a handful of innovative efforts that illustrate the ad hoc nature of the solution to the shortfall of qualified teachers. But it will be years before all 800 of New York’s middle schools and high schools can offer even a single computer science class.

via There are no computer science teachers in NY | Crain’s New York Business.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike Zamansky  |  February 27, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Well, I don’t have much hope for NY — we’ve proposed using our program (what I’ve built at Stuy) as both a model and a training ground – something we’ve done successfully over the years and that could get the ball rolling at a very low cost.

    Instead, they’re rolling out the usual weekend and summer workshops.

    I guess that means there’ll always be plenty of good jobs for my graduates.

    Oh well, this is what happen when the people calling the shots have neither teaching, educational, nor technical expertise.

  • 2. gflint  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    It is the chicken or the egg problem. There are no CS teachers because there are no universities teaching CS Ed because there are no schools advertising for CS teachers because it is not a fundamental part of the curriculum so there are no CS teachers. If schools did want to teach CS there still would be no CS teachers to hire so they are not going to make something part of the curriculum if there are no approve university programs generating teachers. I am getting dizzy.

    • 3. Mark Guzdial  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Most CS Ed professional development is under-utilized. There are various programs at Universities (like Purdue and Georgia Tech and Columbus State and Kennesaw State and…) and through CS10K efforts. But not enough takers. We have excess capacity — there are slots going unfilled. So that part does exist. What we need is more demand from schools so that there is a reason for teachers to provide the supply (and get the PD). That’s why I worry about programs like TEALS that provide IT professionals to teach AP CS classes — just reducing the school’s need for a CS teacher.

  • 4. David Wees (@davidwees)  |  February 28, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Two comments.

    1. The New York City Foundation for Computer Science ( started a meet-up group in October, where about 80 people showed up, many of whom are involved in teaching computer science in schools. I’ve been part of this group. See for the meetup schedule.

    2. Only 100 people teaching code in NYC? How did they come up with that number? I know of at least two people, both of whom work in locally developed programs in their schools. Maybe there are some missing in this count?

    • 5. zamanskym  |  February 28, 2014 at 7:29 am


      I also don’t know how they arrived at 100. On the one hand there could be people unaccounted for but on the other hand, if you look at the meetup profiles of the attendees, the majority seem to be ed tech, DOE admin, or something else rather than actual classroom teachers (which was the feel I got when I attended it).

  • 6. Bonnie  |  March 1, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I have been told that my district will start offering AP computer science in the next year or so, which would be a huge leap forwards from the current total lack of computer science (we have a course that is essentially Microsoft apps right now, taught by the business department). I am really happy, but who is going to teach it? My district certainly isn’t going to hire anyone new.

    • 7. Bonnie  |  March 1, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Sorry, I should clarify – I am in a district in NY, in Westchester County

  • 8. Daily Digest – 2/28/14 | sydneymoyer  |  March 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    […] There are no computer science teachers in NY Computing Education (blog) It is widely acknowledged that for New York City to prosper in the 21st century, its middle and high schools must teach computer science. What is not so well known is that there are no computer science teachers in New York—at least not on paper. […]


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