By Mitch Betts | Computerworld Magazine |http://bit.ly/eIv6fI
January 10, 2011 - Computerworld - Computer technology may drive the U.S. economy, but computer science education is absent in most American K-12 classrooms, according to a report by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Computer Science Teachers Association.
"Some states and some schools are offering some really excellent courses. But overall, the picture is pretty bleak," said report co-author Mark Stehlik, assistant dean at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, last month.
The number of secondary schools offering introductory computer science courses dropped 17% from 2005 to 2009, and the number offering Advanced Placement computer science courses dropped 35% in that time period, the study found.
Federal initiatives such as No Child Left Behind and programs designed to boost science and math education have had the unintended consequence of undermining computer science programs, the report noted. Schools have responded to those initiatives by focusing on traditional science and math courses that are covered by achievement tests or are core requirements for high school graduation. Only nine states count computer science credits toward graduation requirements.
Running On Empty: The Failure to Teach K–12 Computer Science in the Digital Age
Authors:Cameron Wilson, ACM + Leigh Ann Sudol, Carnegie Mellon University + Chris Stephenson, The Computer Science Teachers Association, Member of ACM’s Education Policy Committee + Mark Stehlik, Carnegie Mellon University, Member of ACM’s Education Policy Committee
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.
The report 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.