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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The battle for computer science's future in the classroom

"Revamped No Child Left Behind bill could finally give computer science a level playing field." reports AJ Dellinger, Freelance writer. 
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A collection of companies and organizations have signed off on a letter to the Senate and House of Representatives urging both to promote computer science in a pair of bills., a nonprofit organization with the aim of making computer science more accessible in schools, penned the note to advocate for legislators to leave in recent revisions that include mention of computer science as a "core academic subject" to the Every Child Achieves Act (S 1177) and the Student Success Act (HR 5).

The bills are part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), otherwise known as No Child Left Behind. The Senate successfully passed an overhauled version of the law with bipartisan support. The House has passed a competing version, and the legislative bodies are in the process crafting a compromise.

Computer science has been added to the most recent revision of the bills. But as the details of the reauthorized act are discussed, computer science could potentially be stripped from the text.

For and other STEM advocates—including letter cosigners Google, Facebook, the National Math and Science Initiative, and the National Center for Women and Information Technology, among others—that would be a step backward.

"Federal guidance serves as a starting point for state and local education leaders and administrators as they make decisions about curriculum," team member and Washington Partners, LLC Vice President for Legislative and Public Affairs Della Cronin told the Daily Dot.

"Computer science isn't explicitly cited in many federal—and state—education statutes." she said. "That means that computer science faces a challenge other subjects don't in winning their attention in the fight for resource allocation."

Cronin explained that federal guidance is a starting point for local education systems, and getting computer science added to legislation will "give the subject the same chance as the other subjects in winning attention and resources."...

Computer science counts as a math or science credit in just 27 states. At the district and school level, there is a massive disconnect between the demand for computer science from students and parents and the perceived need for it from school leaders.

Source: The Daily Dot