Computer Science Education in the States
Blog @ CACM, September 28
When the Kansas Board of Regents decided to eliminate computer science courses from the core student requirements, ACM and the CSTA intervened, sending the Board a letter recommending that they put computer science back in the core. Due to the way that decisions about computer science education take place -- at the state, rather than federal, level – organizations such as ACM and the CSTA find themselves responding to similar types of situations in other states as well. After reviewing how the Kansas education system works as well as the role of the Kansas State Board of Regents, the article takes a closer look at how and why computer science should remain part of the state’s educational system.Click Here to View Full Article
The move to support computer science education in Kansas came after the Kansas State Board of Regents decided to propose changes to the Qualified Admission Regulations, which ultimately determine student admission into state universities and community colleges. Previously, to meet these requirements, students were required to take one year of computer technology. However, a task force recently convened by the Board concluded that this technology requirement is outdated and that the content is being taught in other courses. Based on this conclusion, the Board is proposing to cut the computing technology requirement. It turns out that while the technology requirement was intended to be a basic computing literacy course, it allowed many high schools to develop courses with computer science content.
ACM and CSTA's concern is that if the Board eliminates the computing technology requirement students will focus only on the core requirements and computer science courses in Kansas will disappear. To ensure that Kansas' students are being exposed to rigorous computer science courses and not basic computing literacy, ACM and CSTA recommend that the Board update the Qualified Admissions Regulations to reflect core computer science concepts. Further, they recommend that Kansas establish a task force to review the state’s current science standards and how they could be updated to mirror changes to the Qualified Admissions standards. Finally, it is advised that "computer science" be added as one of the approved units in either the mathematics or natural sciences Qualified Admissions requirements.