New Federal Law Means CS Is Legally Part of STEM

November 13, 2015 at 8:53 am 6 comments

This is a big deal for several reasons.  The article below points out the funding that is now available for computing education research.  I met someone from a big science education firm a few weeks ago who said that they were now gearing up to address issues in CS, because it’s now in their purview.  That’s a good thing — more people paying more attention to computing education research can help us advance our goals of greater access.

The STEM Education Act of 2015, which expands the definition of STEM—an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—to include computer science programs, was signed into law yesterday.The bill that became the STEM Education Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, and Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat from Conneticut, both members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.The new law does not add funding, but it does expand the kinds of STEM programs that can be run and funded by federal government agencies to include computer science. It also makes people who are pursuing a master’s degree and those with a background in computer science eligible for Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships, which support science and math graduates and professionals who hope to teach.

Source: New Federal Law Means Computer Science Is Officially Part of STEM – Curriculum Matters – Education Week

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alanone1  |  November 13, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Now we just have to get it to be a real science!



    • 2. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  November 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Why, Alan? Probably 90% of “STEM” fields are not Real Science™

      • 3. alanone1  |  November 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        The ones that say “science” after their names should be “real science”.

        (I’ve always thought we should call our larger field “computing” and us “computerists”. Once we use terms like “science” and “engineering” we shouldn’t dilute them, but try to live up to them. I.e. I like having subareas like “computer science” and “software engineering, but I want to them to be tough enough on themselves to be worthy of the terms. The rest of “computing” can be (even usefully) more ad hoc.)



        • 4. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  November 13, 2015 at 3:19 pm

          But the convention in academia is that you only put “science” in the name of a field if it isn’t really a science. So “computer science” is simply following academic tradition here.

          • 5. alanone1  |  November 13, 2015 at 3:33 pm

            You are so right! I first heard this pointed out by Marvin ca 1967. He called it “science envy”! (And that the real sciences — like physics, chemistry, biology, etc — didn’t use the term).

            Another reason for me wanting the field to be called computing and for us to make the science-like parts the real deal.

            P.S. I like your trademark idea (but who holds it?)



            • 6. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  November 14, 2015 at 12:22 am

              The physicists often claim that physics is the only science, so I think that they claim the trademark.


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