Strengthen Georgia s Computer Science Education in K-12

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1 Strengthen Georgia s Computer Science Education in K-12 Computer science is fundamental for students to develop practical computational and critical thinking skills and have students engage in exercises that show how computing positively changes the world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in the year 2020, 4.6 million jobs in the STEM fields will be in computing and information technology. It is clear that computing drives economic growth and the field of computer science is the foundation. In order to ensure America s competitiveness in the 21 st century it is vital to strengthen the quality of computer science in K-12 education. Yet, roughly 90 percent of schools do not teach computer science. A vast majority of education decisions rest with the state and local authorities. States and local school districts realize the need for change. More than 20 states have implemented policies that allow computer science to count as a core mathematics or science high school graduation requirement. In the past several months Maryland, Alabama, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Washington have implemented polices as a core graduation requirement. Some states, such as Texas, have taken an aggressive approach and passed legislation that every high school student can take at least three computer science courses, two of which can satisfy two foreign language requirements. Approaches to Make Computer Science Count There are several options to choose from to make computer science count as either a math or science high school graduation requirement. The State Board of Education can add/require a rigorous computer science course, usually an AP computer science, to its list of approved math or science courses. The State legislature could pass legislation to make computer science satisfy either a math or science high school graduation requirement. In some states, the State Board of Education worked with stakeholders to implement regulations to make computer science count as a core requirement. Barriers that Exist in K-12 Legislation Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO) have led a group of bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives to introduce legislation to remove key federal policy barriers. Barriers that exist in K-12 legislation are the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, and the authorization of the National Science Foundation. 75 Fifth Street NW, Suite 625 Atlanta, GA P: F:

2 Federal funding supports programs considered part of a core set of subjects in the K-12 curriculum, not including computer science. Teacher certification process for computer science teachers are broken or nonexistent, making it difficult to establish and nurture computer science preparation programs or attract computer science talent to a profession that seemingly doesn t value computer science expertise. States that have Implemented Computer Science Policy Georgia: Since January 2011 Georgia only counts AP Computer Science A towards high school graduation as a science credit and doesn t offer any other computer science courses. In the state of Georgia, high school students are required to take four science courses. Students can only take AP Computer Science A towards satisfying their fourth science requirement. Currently, Georgia only offers AP Computer Science A as a fourth science credit towards high school graduation requirement. In school year, only 101 out of 461 public high schools offered AP Computer Science A (roughly 22%). Of those 101 public high schools, 17 only offer AP Computer Science A through the Georgia Virtual Online School. Only 1261 out of 478,840 high school students took the AP Computer Science A Exam in 2013 (roughly 0.3%). AP Computer Science A doesn t count as a math credit mainly due to lobbyists from the Mathematics Division in the Georgia Department of Education. They were convinced that if students took computer science in their senior year, instead of calculus, they would forget all math knowledge by the time they got to college. It was shown that students that took AP computer science instead of calculus for their fourth year math course did have a harder time getting into Georgia Institute of Technology, since colleges value calculus highly. Starting the school year, GridWorld case study, a substitute for writing a single large program as a culminating project, has been replaced by a required lab component consisting of a minimum of 20 hours of hands-on lab experiences. Texas: In 2013 Texas passed HB-5, a new 22-credit Foundation High School Program. Under the law, students are required to earn three credits of math including, Algebra I and Geometry as well as a third course. Students who wish to earn the STEM endorsement must take Algebra II, chemistry and physics as well as four additional courses in the STEM area. To gain automatic admission to Texas state universities, students under the 10 percent rule also must take Algebra II or meeting other performance requirements on a college readiness assessment.

3 The provision of Texas Education Code, Subchapter C, adds Fundamentals of Computer Science, Computer Science I, Computer Science II, and Computer Science III courses to high schools as a route to obtain a STEM endorsement. The provision was adopted on September 2011 and takes affect at the beginning of the school year. Fundamentals of Computer Science: One-Half to One Credit Prerequisites knowledge and skills relating to Technology Grades 6-8 Recommended for students in Grades 9-12 Computer Science I: One-Half to One Credit Prerequisites Algebra I Recommended for students in Grades 9-12 Computer Science II: One Credit Prerequisites Algebra I & either CS I or Fundamentals of CS Recommended for students in Grades 11 & 12 Computer Science III: One Credit Prerequisites CS II, AP Computer Science A, or IB Computer science Recommended for students in Grades 11 & 12 As part of the Foundation Program, Texas high schools are required to offer Computer Science I and Computer Science II or AP Computer Science, and then have the flexibility to choose two other technology Application courses. The list of technology Application courses includes: Digital Art and Animation, Digital Communications in the 21 st Century, Digital Design and Media Production, Digital Forensics, Digital Video and Audio Design, Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science, Fundamentals of Computer Science, Game Programming and Design, Independent Study in Technology Applications, Mobile Application Development, Robotics Programming and Design, 3-D Modeling and Animation, Web Communications, Web Design, and Web Game Development. Texas students can additionally substitute two computer programming languages courses to meet two foreign language requirements as part of the Foundation Program. Maryland: In May 2013 Maryland s Governor signed Chapter 533, an act that requires each student to enroll in a math course each year of high school. The law also requires the State

4 Department of Education to adopt regulations that establish the math and math-related courses that fulfill the requirement. The law added regular computer science and AP computer science courses that fulfill as a math credit. Maryland s specific computer science policies include: Recommends Grades 11 & 12 Recommended Prerequisites: Digital Communication Tools, Computer Applications, Algebra I, and Algebra II A Two-Credit course, 1 credit per semester Highly recommended that teachers attend an in-depth workshop on Computer Science AP before teaching the course Fulfills math requirements for the General, Core 40 with Academic Honors diploma or counts as a Directed elective or elective for any diploma Washington: As of April 2013, SB-1472 requires school districts to approve AP Computer Science to count as either a math or science requirement and on students transcripts it must articulate that computer science qualifies as a math-based quantitative course for students taking it their senior year. In order for computer science to count as a high school math requirement, the student must be either enrolled or completed Algebra II. The state of Washington requires four courses in math: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and additional course students can choose. Two credits of science are required for graduation, and one must be a lab science. So students can either use computer science to satisfy either a math or science requirement. The Technology, Education, and Literacy in School (TEALS) program is a private initiative to place computer science professionals in high school classrooms on a voluntary basis to co-teach advanced computer science course along with the regular classroom teacher. Participating high schools must provide a $5,000 stipend to the professionals. The Microsoft Corporation supports the TEALS program and most of the volunteers are Microsoft employees. The TEALS program currently operates in more than 20 high schools in Washington. Two grant programs are established. The first program, the school districts need to develop partnerships to support computer science professionals serving as co-instructors for AP computer science on a voluntary basis. The second program, recipients may use the grant funds to purchase or upgrade technology and curriculum, and provide professional development to be able to offer additional AP computer science courses. Arizona: Early 2014, HB-2265 provisions amending sections allows school boards to approve rigorous computer science courses to fulfill math requirements. High school students are required to take four credits of mathematics. The provision also requires the Arizona Board of Regents to accept those computer science classes as math credits when considering students for admission.

5 Michigan & Tennessee: Michigan is similar to Tennessee in that it requires four years of math but only specifies three of the Courses: Algebra I, algebra II, and Geometry. It is up to districts to determine what qualifies as the 4 th math credit. AP Computer Science A satisfies a math requirement for all high school students. Idaho: The state of Idaho requires three years of science and of math in order for a student to graduate. In August 2013, the Idaho State Department of Education proposed that duel credit engineering, dual credit computer science, or AP computer science should count as a math or science credit, as an opportunity for students to take STEM related courses. Shortly after the proposal, the State Board of Education granted initial approval. In order to use computer science as a math or science credit, students must complete Algebra II. Additionally, computer science and engineering are limited to two science credits for graduation requirements. The Idaho Technology Council (ITC) success factors: Advocacy driven by business leaders, with a broad base of supporters. o ITC members worked with the Governors Education Task Force to help drive the Computer Science initiative and other organizations like chamber of commerce Champions in both the house and the senate Demonstrating the long term impact o Demonstrate that Computer Science counting as a math/science credit was not just a one-time event but a long-term method for helping grow the state s economy Alabama: An education committee headed by the University of Alabama Computer Science professor Dr. Jeff Gray, with the help of ASFA Computer Science Instructor Carol Yarbrough, got the Alabama Board of Education to approve two computer science courses, Computer Science Principles & AP Computer Science, to count as a math requirement towards high school graduation. The committee mapped all the learning objectives for computer science courses including: SAS, Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A, Computer Programming III, Computer Applications, ACSL, and Computer Programming IV to those existing math courses to teach students everything that other math courses thought to be necessary

6 The recommendation from the committee was for students to complete Algebra II and Trigonometry in order to partake in computer science courses. Implementation Process Working with Members of either the Governors or other Education Tasks Force/committees, to gain support Have Champions in both the house and senate to sponsor Demonstrate the long-term method for helping grow the state s economy Once legislation is passed into law, depending on the State Board of Education, can take 1-2 years to implement in high schools. Alabama created a pilot program, approved by the Board of Education to begin teaching two computer science courses that count as a math credit Washington, AP computer science counts as a math or science course and the Technology, Education, and Literacy in School (TEALS) is a voluntary basis to co-teach advanced computer science, the participating high schools pay a $5,000 stipend to the professionals, operates in more than 20 high schools

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