Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Computer Science For All!


Yesterday was Presidents Day. Perhaps that is what put me in the mood. I had been talking to Max about why it was a holiday, how government worked, what representation was, etc. So all of that was in my mind.

To digress: I teach math & technology at a high school in Oregon. The students at my school are really lucky; they have several Computer Science classes to choose from along with their art, music, and other electives. They're electives, not required, but at least they're there.

Did you know 90% of public schools don't offer Computer Science classes? Schools that teach "computers" are likely to offer typing or word processing, but no actual Computer Science.

This is a problem.

I've talked before about why kids should learn Computer Science. If you don't believe me, here are some other folks who agree:
code.org
codeintheschools.org
computinginthecore.org
csta.acm.org
KQED article
NPR article

What's my point? Well, until we get Computer Science as a requirement, it's going to keep losing out to other subjects. It's not that I don't think we should teach Math or English, but rather that we should teach this too. It's too important to ignore.

I think one of the reasons that very little is being done around this issue is that parents don't know about this gap. When I tell other parents that their children are probably not learning Computer Science, that in fact their school probably doesn't even offer it, they think I'm kidding. I'm not. Parents, go check with your schools. Ask about Computer Science. Not typing or basic applications, but Computer Science. It's probably absent. But what can we do? It's hard to know where to even start.

That brings me back to Presidents Day. We can try to have our voice heard. We can spread the word and try to make some noise. I've started a petition with We The People to have Computer Science added to our K-12 schools. You can sign it here. But I hope you'll do more than that. I hope you'll help me spread the word. Share it on Facebook & Twitter & by email. Here's the link: http://wh.gov/lUL8u

Tell a friend. And other parents. And teachers. And everyone else. This is a national problem that deserves national attention. I don't know that we can get to the threshold of signatures needed to get a White House response, but I'd sure like to try.

This should be an issue for everyone. If we don't teach our kids Computer Science we're just falling farther and farther behind. This is the language of our century. Wouldn't it be nice if our kids could speak it?

Please help! Sign and share! http://wh.gov/lUL8u

TTFN!
Cady

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