Posts tagged ‘high school’
April Heard at Georgia Tech built this map for us about where AP CS is taught in the state of Georgia. Some of it is totally to be expected. Most of the schools are in the Atlanta region, with a couple in Columbus, a handful in Macon, and a few more in Augusta and Savannah area.
But what’s disappointing is that huge swath in the south of the state with nothing. Not a single school south of Columbus and west of Brunswick. In terms of area, it’s about 1/3 of the state. Albany is home to Albany State University, the largest HBCU in Georgia. No AP CS at all there. And Georgia is one of the top states for having AP CS.
Sure, there might be some non-AP CS teachers in South Georgia, but we’re talking a handful. Not double, and certainly not a magnitude more than AP CS.
I suspect that much of the US looks like this, with wide stretches without a CS teacher in sight. April is continuing to generate these maps for states that we’re working with in ECEP. Here’s California, with big empty stretches.
Tom McKlin just generated this new map, which overlays the AP CS teacher data on top of mean household income in a school district. The correlation is very high — districts with money have AP CS, and those that don’t, don’t.
It’s not too often that a policy announcement about education happens on the Georgia Tech campus. In the picture above, tech entrepreneur Chris Klaus is introducing Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (who is second from the right — the guy on the far right is our Provost Rafael Bras), in the Klaus Advanced Computing Building (same Klaus — he funded the building). Chris has been spearheading an effort to get more “coding” into Georgia schools.
The Governor said that he’s asking the State Board of Education for computer science to count as core science, mathematics, and foreign languages.
The gossip before the talk was that he was going to announce that CS would count for (i.e., replace) foreign languages (which is not a good idea). This announcement was a bit better than that, but it’s still not clear what it means. AP CS already counts as a science towards high school graduation. Does it mean that more CS courses will count? That AP CS will count as any of math, science, or foreign languages? And will the State Board of Education go along with this? Who knows?
The guy on the far left of that picture is Representative Mike Dudgeon. He’s taken on the task of changing the “highly-qualified” list in Georgia so that business teachers OR math teachers OR science teachers can teach CS in Georgia. Currently, CS is a “Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education” subject, meaning that only teachers with a business certificate can teach CS. Barbara Ericson has fought hard so that mathematics teachers can also teach AP CS — but this all leaves us in the weird position that AP CS counts as a science, but science teachers can’t teach it. Only math and business teachers can teach AP CS in Georgia. That would be great if Dudgeon is successful. It’s easier to teach CS to math and science teachers than business teachers.
I was a meeting recently with Chris Klaus where he said that he wants to make Georgia the first state in the USA to require CS for high school graduation. When I balked at that (citing the issues in my Blog@CACM post), he had an interesting counter-proposal. We give schools and districts who aren’t ready to teach CS a waiver, but to get a waiver, you have to have a plan in place to be able to teach CS within three years. Might work.
My proposal in the group that Chris has founded to have more “coding education in Georgia” isn’t getting much traction. I proposed we do what Calculus did. How did Calculus get taught in every high school? First, schools in the 1800’s started teaching calculus to undergrads. By the 1900’s, every STEM undergrad had to take Calculus, and the top high schools were preparing their kids for Calculus. By the late 1900’s, all high schools were offering calculus. My proposal is that that the Board of Regents make CS part of the general education requirement of all undergraduates in the University System of Georgia. Every student in every college in Georgia would be required to take a course in CS. Unlike elementary and high schools, USG institutions have CS teachers — they might have to hire more faculty to handle the load, but they know how to do it. It’s much less expensive to teach CS at the undergraduate level than at the high or elementary school level. But this creates the curriculum (you have to teach a different CS to everyone from what you teach to CS majors) that the high-end schools will immediately start to emulate, and that will get copied into other high schools. Biggest advantage is that every new teacher (business, math, or science) will take a CS class! That should accelerate the rate of getting teachers who know CS into schools, and give them a new tool for teaching STEM classes.
Anyway, it’s probably a good thing that there is all of this interest in computing education from Georgia political leaders.
I’m not convinced that the purpose of Common Core is to prepare students for four year universities. Shouldn’t the common core be the minimum standard? This issue is coming up for us at ECEP as we work in South Carolina. In fact, we’re addressing it today in our Computing Education in South Carolina summit. Should everyone be required to take serious CS in high school? Or is it that everyone should have access to serious CS (e.g., preparation for undergrad CS courses), and everyone should know more about CS, but the college-going students are the ones who need the serious CS?
One of the three drafters of the Common Core math standards has publicly admitted that Common Core – which moves Algebra I from 8th to 9th grade and includes little trigonometry, no pre-calculus, and no calculus – is designed to prepare students for non-selective community colleges, not four-year universities. In fact, President Bud Peterson of Georgia Tech has stated that a student cannot go to Tech without having had Algebra I in 8th grade and calculus by senior year. In other words, Common Core won’t get kids into Georgia Tech. This is the “quality” that has so impressed the Fordham lobbyists?
MUST READ: Hacking at Education: TED, Technology Entrepreneurship, Uncollege, and the Hole in the Wall
Audrey Watters has an insightful essay that show how the “Hack Education” and TED movements misunderstand school. Public school is not better than learning on your own. Public school is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn. I believe that the issues are the same for MOOCs, which tend to draw a well-educated, majority-class, and male audience. I highly recommend reading her entire essay linked below.
“I’m the first MacCaw not to go to Cambridge,” says one of the informant. This and a myriad of other utterances are rather mind-boggling markers of privilege, markers that Hacking Your Education fails to examine and that the book seems extraordinarily unaware of.
One hack it offers for the young uncollege-er: “take people out for coffee” — budget $150 a month to do so. Another hack: “go to conferences.” Sneak in. “Hardly anyone will notice.” Another hack: “buy an airplane ticket.” “You can go anywhere in the world for $1500.” “Collect frequent flyer points.” Too bad if you’re big or black or brown or a non-native English speaker or the working poor or a single mom. Just practice your posture and your grammar and your email introductions, and you’re golden.
An important announcement from Baker Franke:
Right now a lot of important decisions are being made about the future of computing education in the United States. Sadly, though perhaps predictably, the people with the most vital information about the state of computing education – YOU THE TEACHERS – are potentially being left out of the process.
I’m working with the Center for Elementary Math and Science Education (CEMSE) here at the University of Chicago to ensure that REAL TEACHERS’ needs and voices will contribute to the information used to by these decision- and policy-makers.
There is a very brief (10 min or less), but very important survey I’d like you to fill out that will help convey what’s really going on in schools to those making decisions that will impact all of us in computing education. This information will be widely disseminated, it will be used, and it will matter. So please join me in collecting this information so that TEACHERS’ VOICES WILL BE HEARD.
All surveys must be completed by January 15, 2013.
As an incentive for your participation, we are giving away one $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky person every time 100 people complete the survey. So the earlier you complete the survey, and the more computing teacher friends you pass this along to, the more chances you have to win!
Survey Link: http://tinyurl.com/CEMSETeacherSurvey
COMPLETE IT NOW!
Thanks much. Yours in solidarity,
Computer Science Teacher
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
Center for Elementary Math and Science Education
“Florida is killing Computer Science,” was the first thing that Joanne Barrett told us when we asked her how things were going in Florida. Barbara and I went to Orlando to give the Technology track keynote (joint! It was fun!) and two breakouts at the FCIS Conference on Thursday. Joanne ran the Technology track at FCIS. (Our travel was sponsored by CSTA and Google – thanks!) The mood of the CS teachers we met was dismal.
Currently, computer science is part of the academic high school degree in Florida — the classes that one would take as College preparation. It’s mostly taught by mathematics teachers. This year is the end of that. This is the last year that the current CS classes will be offered.
As of next year, all the computer science classes in Florida will be moved into business, as part of career preparation. As we understand it from Joanne, they literally won’t count for credit towards an academic high school degree. The AP CS will stay in the academic track, but all the other computer science courses will move to business.
Why? Exactly the same issue as in Georgia: Perkins funding will pay for hardware, so career prep has the computers, and it gets computer science. We spoke to one business teacher who is desperately seeking professional development to prepare herself for teaching all these new computing courses. We met one of the teachers at the Florida Virtual High School (which has a really cool CS sequence, and an astounding success rate for their students on AP CS), and she said that they may not even be able to offer any CS next year. FVHS is about academic subjects, and CS is being re-classified. Florida is also looking for industry certification for the end of the Perkins-funded pathway, and the teachers we talked to said that they’re currently considering an IEEE Certification — which is explicitly for graduates of four year degree programs, not high school students.
What will this do to CS education in Florida? it won’t be “killed,” but it will be changed. I worry about the quality, when swapping out all the experienced math teachers for inexperienced business teachers. I can’t the impact on CS10K goals.
Can AP CS succeed (in particular, the new CS:Principles effort) as a standalone AP, with all the other CS courses in another track? Maybe. I wonder how much effort school districts will put into AP CS, if they have a different, funded CS pathway. I also wonder if CS:Principles can meet its goal of helping to broaden participation in this context — the career prep programs that I’ve seen are far more heavily under-represented minority than the college prep programs. What if the minority students you want to draw into computing via AP CS are off taking the career prep classes?
How cool that the College Board is being active on this significant problem (that isn’t made better with online education)! I do understand that increasing the pass rate without maintaining quality is an empty achievement, but the economic cost of the high dropout rate is enormous.
Each desk represents one of the 857 students who drop out of high school in the United States every single hour, every single school day, according to the College Board, which arranged the display to underline its effort to urge presidential candidates to put education at the top of their to-do lists.
The board had nearly a dozen people, iPads in hand, gathering signatures in nearly 100-degree weather for an online petition that said: “If you want my support, I need to hear more from you about how you plan to fix the problems with education. And not just the same old platitudes. I want to know that you have real, tangible solutions, and that once in office, you’re ready to take serious action. I’ll be watching your acceptance speech at your party’s convention.”