Where do K-12 policy decisions get made in US states?
As I talked about in my NCWIT Summit Flash talk, the second step in changing a state’s K-12 computing education policy is figuring out where you are and how you move K-12 in your state.
Rick Adrion found a terrific set of resources that help to get a handle on what’s going on in each state.
- How is your state education system governed? Elected or appointed officials? Turns out that there are just a handful of common models: http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/08/70/10870.pdf
- Who decides high school graduation requirements in your state? In some states, like California and Michigan, there’s a minimum decided at the state level, so you really have to work at the district level to get CS to count. Here’s a list of the state-level high school graduation requirements in all 50 states, and here’s a state-by-state map so you can look up easily just your state. Amazingly, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado, and Nebraska have no state-level requirements at all. All the decisions are made at the district level. That makes it really hard to get CS to count.
Resources like these make it more clear why efforts like NGSS and Common Core are in trouble. In quite a few states, most decisions are pushed down to the district level. If states aren’t willing to make decisions for their whole state, how could they even consider requiring national standards?