Thursday, March 10, 2011

Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age

A new report published by Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) provide the findings of year-long research project that looked at how computer science education standards were reflected in current state standards and the results are both startling and worrisome.

Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age finds that roughly two-thirds of the country have few computer science education standards for secondary school education, and most states treat high school computer science courses as simply an elective and not part of a student's core education. The results are particularly shocking because computer science and the technologies it enables now lie at the heart of our economy, our daily lives, and scientific enterprise. As the digital age has transformed the world and workforce, U.S. K-12 education has fallen woefully behind in preparing students with the fundamental computer science knowledge and skills they need for future success. To be a well-educated citizen as we move toward an ever-more computing-intensive world and to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century, students must have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computer science.

In addition to providing the general results of the research, the authors have created a report card for each state which shows the extent to which the national standards provided in the ACM Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science Education are (or are not) reflected in the state business, computing, math, science, and technology standards. They have created an online roll over map showing these results by state.


Letitia said...

This is not a surprise. For years, educational systems have deemed technology topics as optional. What's surprising is what's happening in the lives these students studied. They're engulfed in technology while NOT in school. Consider the studies showing how many 9-18 year old consumers exist. The numbers are staggering. We as a community or village as Wayne mentions, need to begin the process of changing the thoughts of the educational community. Holding workshops in cooperation with our educational systems is critical to begin turning the table on how technology is viewed.

Villager said...

Letitia - Thank you for sharing the insights. Your comment poses a challenge for local BDPA chapters -- how do we get our youth education programs to be recognized and endorsed by our local school boards?

douglas said...

According to the "Online Rollover Map" above, the state of Georgia, which is my state, seems to be in pretty good shape. However, I'm curious to know how much of this is reflected in Atlanta public schools? I'm sure there's room for improvement considering the low achievement test scores here. This is a "harvest" field the Atlanta BDPA chapter should not ignore.

Villager said...

Douglas - My hope in sharing this blog post is that BDPA Atlanta, as well as the other 44 local BDPA chapters, will pause to consider the data provided in this report and use it as fuel to re-engage with local school boards. We need to take our STEM education programs for young people to the next level ... we need to create strategic alliances with the public school system.

That is one of the lessons that I gained from reading the report.

I appreciate you taking time to share your insights. I hope that others will do the same.