[TOS] no mention of computer science

Algot Runeman algot.runeman at verizon.net
Thu Jul 29 17:28:48 UTC 2010

I was formerly a middle school science teacher and then a computer 
skills teacher. When using the early personal computers TRS-80 and Apple 
II, some programming was common. As time passed, though, the goal of the 
K12 curriculum turned gradually from "teaching computers" (a phrase that 
often meant programming them) to teaching the "computer as a tool" (a 
phrase which meant developing word processing, spreadsheet, graphics 
skills). School administrators, parents and most adults seemed to feel 
that "programming wasn't for everyone." Therefore,  development of 
programming or other technical level skills is declining and mostly gone 
from the K12 curriculum.

The "back to basics" style of curriculum design has curtailed most kinds 
of expansionist opportunities. What once included BASIC, Pascal, Logo 
and occasionally C or C++ for the Advanced Placement courses now might 
substitute HTML (usually using a GUI tool) for Web design. Certainly the 
readily available modern options like JavaScript, python, etc. are 
absent from consideration. The gradual decline of variety while 
standards-based testing took center stage has put a curriculum 
constriction in place.

The high school from which I retired decided to allow the "Business 
Department" to rename itself the "Information Technology Department." Of 
course they didn't get the mistake. Typing, word processing, 
spreadsheets, accounting and one very basic Web design course were the 
offerings, no programming, no system administration, no computer repair, 
no software installation.

Bonnie MacKellar wrote:
> When I was at SIGCSE, I said this at every panel on K12 education, to
> anyone who would listen (including grabbing the ear of John White from
> the ACM at the reception for a few minutes!) - when it comes to K12
> standards, if the subject is not explicitly mentioned in the standards,
> THAT SUBJECT DOES NOT EXIST in the curriculum. I have kids in K12 right
> now, in a district that is very standards-driven. They do not cover
> anything that is not in the NY state standards.
> If we want computer science and/or computational thinking taught at the
> K12 level, it has to be explicitly stated in the standards.
> Keep in mind, too, that your average K12 math teacher knows little to no
> computer science (as is true of many math professors too)
> Bonnie MacKellar (who has been lurking on this list, but reads intently
> as I prepare my own TOS project)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: tos-bounces at teachingopensource.org
> [mailto:tos-bounces at teachingopensource.org] On Behalf Of Bryant Patten
> Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:25 AM
> To: tos at teachingopensource.org
> Subject: Re: [TOS] no mention of computer science
> Is that possibly because, despite the name, the authors consider  
> 'Computer Science' to be under the domain of the Mathematics  
> departments?
> Bryant
> On Jul 29, 2010, at 1:22 AM, tos-request at teachingopensource.org wrote:
>> Interesting, but perhaps not as you might expect.  This document has  
>> made quite a stir with the ACM and CSTA because it apparently makes  
>> no mention of computer science.
>> Greg
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Algot Runeman
47 Walnut Street, Natick MA 01760
algot.runeman at verizon.net
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