Computer Science Education Act

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#1 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Computer Science Education Act

Post icon  Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:56 AM

Have you all heard about the Computer Science Education Act? This act seems to push to define CS as a core subject in K12 education, which is designed to help allocate funding towards teacher and course support. A lot of big tech companies (Microsoft, Google), the College Board, and other teacher organizations are behind this bill. Do you all think this bill could help improve CS education at the high school levels? Do you all think it will strengthen our workforce? Other thoughts?

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in the year 2020, 50% of the 9.2 million jobs in the STEM fields will be in computing and information technology. That’s 4.6 million jobs lucrative, important and exciting jobs waiting for those who choose to study computer science. Yet, in 2012, fewer than 3,000 of the country’s 40,000 high schools offered the AP Computer Science exam. Teacher certification processes for computer science teachers are broken or nonexistent, making it difficult to establish and nurture computer science preparation programs or attract computer science talent to a profession that seemingly doesn’t value computer science expertise. The K12 system marginalizes computer science education and often federal, state and local polices present key barriers. We must remove these barriers and enable K12 education to put students on a path to fill high demand, high skilled, high paying computing jobs across all sectors of our economy.


http://www.computing...action_ref_map=[]

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Replies To: Computer Science Education Act

#2 Misfit  Icon User is offline

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:07 PM

Wonderful in theory, but I've never been too thrilled with how the "core" classes were taught in my days back in public education. I foresee too many instances of things being taught wrong, especially since (at least web development) has ever changing specifications and trends.

EDIT: Though, it is a step in the right direction. Could really help push younger generations into developing a curiosity toward more technical fields.

This post has been edited by Misfit: 27 June 2013 - 12:08 PM

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#3 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:07 PM

I believe it is a good idea, as we are going to be exposing the youth to the idea of how computers work and such. However what is worrying me, is that people will try and jump into CS purely for financial gain and not because it is something they want to do. Even now, I meet people with diplomas in IT, CS, etc... who simply have no idea what they're doing.

Now as we know personal computers have been available for two decades now and we're still making breakthroughs in the computer industry. While I realize that we have a deficit of skilled and talented IT personnel, programmers, and such but I'd rather work with people who enjoy doing this job and not with those coaxed into the industry by their parents and teachers.

I'm 1 year away from Computer Science diploma and you wouldn't believe how many people I've met who major in CS and SE purely for financial gain. Heck we even had a girl in one of my programming classes, whose homework was done by her father because he promised that her that she would be employed whether she knows how to do her job or not. This is the kind of thing I don't want to see in the future generations.
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:08 PM

They don't seem to be able to have all the graduates of high school speak English on at least a 10th grade level, do basic math (IE: Calculate change in their head), and so on. Just because they define this doesn't mean it will suddenly make all the school kids educated.

Most schools are having funding problems as it is. Lunch programs, band, sports and everything else are being cut. So where are the millions going to come from for more computer labs?

Its a great stunt to make a politician look good and like they care. But it has no basis in reality for being accomplishable. When it fails the guy that created it will just blame the other side of the political floor for not finding a way to fund it.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 27 June 2013 - 12:10 PM

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#5 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:17 PM

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Its a great stunt to make a politician look good and like they care. But it has no basis in reality for being accomplishable. When it fails they guy that created it will just blame the other side of the political floor for not finding a way to fund it.

It sounds like existing funding will be reallocated, rather than additional funding allocated. As it stands now, CS is usually grouped in with wood shop in terms of the public schools. Obviously this isn't going to be a magic fix, and a lot of the implementation will still fall onto the states and localities. However, I hope (and think) that having some higher standard for CS education certifications (however marginal) will improve the quality of these classes in high schools, which I think can be somewhat lacking.

Let me put this another way. What if English was viewed as "Oh, it's just literature. Students don't need that." As a result, English became just elective material. Do you think the quality of our students writing samples would rise or fall? The same could be said for CS. I think we can all agree CS and IT isn't for everyone. However, having options for students to get exposed to it can't be a bad thing. If anything, more people with the aptitude will be exposed to programming.

A question as well to our student members. If you all had opportunities to take more non-rinky dink CS classes in high school, would you all have considered taking them and do you all think that it would have been helpful?
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:17 PM

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Computer Science Education Act would:
•Amend the statutory definition of “core academic subjects” to add computer science
•Define computer science
•Add computer science to the academic subjects addressed by federal teacher
professional development programs
cite: pdf from that site

Core areas as defined by the 'No Child Left Behind':

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CORE ACADEMIC SUBJECTS- The term core academic subjects' means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.


Quote

What are examples of non-Core Academic Subjects?

Agriculture, bookkeeping, accounting, business, cooperative education, health education, health occupations, family and consumer sciences, technology education, marketing education, trades and industry, computer science, driver education, journalism, outdoor education, physical education, psychology, sociology, speech, business data/processing, and library science.
cite3


Why being in that area matters:

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Any subject that is not listed as a core subject within the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which revised the ESEA in 2001, is at risk of being marginalized and eventually eliminated as public school principals and administrators struggle to meet annual yearly progress (AYP) for core subjects so they can maintain federal funding. Focus has been placed heavily on student achievement in a limited number of curricular areas, and not on preparing children to lead a healthy, active and productive life.
cite 2




Honestly no - fix the 'no child left behind' policy first.. but going with the general idea of the OP, no I don't buy into the 'everyone needs to know programming' theory. The same way I do not believe everyone needs to go to a traditional college. For some reason there's a stigma attached to the blue collar field and trades schools are going massively under utilized... at its heart I wish for students to understand how to solve problems and _think_ not necessarily puke out a bunch of java or php code.

I believe Hanslemann had it right: Programming's not for you? How about thinking? Be empowered.
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#7 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:23 PM

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Honestly no - fix the 'no child left behind' policy first.. but going with the general idea of the OP, no I don't buy into the 'everyone needs to know programming' theory.

I think a lot of what the bill gets at is that people should be allowed to take CS classes to fulfill science requirements. So rather than taking Biology, take a Computer Science class. I don't think it pushes the "everyone needs to know CS or programming" attitude, but just opportunities in general for those with aptitude and interest.

I had a ton of those opportunities regarding IT and CS in high school. They still help me in a lot of my upper level classes in college.
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#8 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:29 PM

Ite seems that "core" classes are just being taught towards those fill in the dot tests for state funding. Sure kids are learning a lot on those subjects but nothing that will help them once they are out of highschool. Having said that, in my mind, CS doesn't fit that "core" class material since many students can't even do simple math anymore. Needless to say how many students cant even pass social studies, health, english, gym, home ec. etc...

No CS still needs to be an elective until the "stupid not kid left behind" garbage is gone and teachers start to teach again.
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#9 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:32 PM

I didn't quite get that same feel. That first quote/link is a PDF on what they want to the bill do to.

This maybe the bill HR 3014 from back in 2011. From that it was mostly grants and career paths for teachers.. no subbing out of classes, etc.
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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:43 PM

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and teachers start to teach again.

I've had good teachers and poor teachers in both high school and college. I'm sure it's pretty much the same anywhere.

Quote

This maybe the bill HR 3014 from back in 2011. From that it was mostly grants and career paths for teachers.. no subbing out of classes, etc.

I stand correcting on the subbing out part. I did get the vibe that the bill is designed to put more infrastructure and support in place, though, so schools without CS classes can add them. I also like the teacher training bit. A lot of times, math teachers are pushed to teach programming classes because programming is seen as math. Not all mathematicians (or math teachers) are necessarily adept or experienced at programming. Training for this seems like a workable solution to me. If someone is expected to take on additional responsibilities above and beyond their areas of expertise, there should be training for them.
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#11 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is offline

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 01:06 PM

The HS in my town's computer class? VB 6.0 :gun_bandana:

Sometimes I think I should offer to teach an after-school class on programming in a real, useful language. Like Brainfuck.
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#12 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:01 PM

View PostMikhail, on 27 June 2013 - 02:07 PM, said:

I believe it is a good idea, as we are going to be exposing the youth to the idea of how computers work and such. However what is worrying me, is that people will try and jump into CS purely for financial gain and not because it is something they want to do. Even now, I meet people with diplomas in IT, CS, etc... who simply have no idea what they're doing.


As the demand for workers in the field goes up (which it is, very quickly), so will the number of people doing it "for the money". Because as demand for workers increases faster than the size of the labor pool, wage power leans towards the laborers. Larger incomes means it attracts less skilled people looking to get in on that money. Which in turn floods the labor pool, wages lower, and skilled laborers are preferred.



As for OP article.

Damn straight!

I don't care if they're slightly behind the curve on the age of the technology they teach. You're not taking the highschool class to get a job based off of it. You're doing it to get a general understanding of the material.

There's more to a computer science class than the language you learn. There's the concepts of computer programming. That's the critical part.

And really... they'll end up being the intro courses for computer science in college just paced more for a highschool student. They're usually not too far behind.

A lot of schools who currently offer courses on it don't have a structure or standardization. Thusly it's usually way behind the curve. With some proper planning, it wouldn't be so bad.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 27 June 2013 - 02:05 PM

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#13 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 27 June 2013 - 05:18 PM

That's what I've seen. Usually schools that offer a couple classes in programming generally duplicate a college intro class, and surprisingly do it better often times. Plus, it gives people that exposure so they can better decide to do CS in college. Often times, CS is in the engineering school, which has extra hoops to jump through. So it's not trivial or easy for someone from a school system where CS isn't offered to figure out they want to get into it at the college level.
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#14 slehmann101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:46 AM

While this is mostly positive a major problem with it could be teachers themselves. If schools are forced into teaching CS this means they need a teacher to teach it. Many schools don't have teachers that are trained to do this and the job will get offloaded onto math teachers. This could cause bad teaching and eventually a glut of bad programmers/ web designers...
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#15 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Computer Science Education Act

Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:51 AM

I don't think the bill forces schools to teach it. Rather, it provides the infrastructure to make it easier to get trained CS teachers and (relatively higher) quality CS classes. The problem you're describing exists now, and is more often than not the case.
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