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TMCNet:  ACM Urges Obama to Include Computer Science as a Core Component of Science and Math Education

[December 16, 2008]

ACM Urges Obama to Include Computer Science as a Core Component of Science and Math Education

WASHINGTON, Dec 16, 2008 (ASCRIBE NEWS via COMTEX) --
As Arne Duncan
is announced as the next U.S. Secretary of Education, ACM
(the Association for Computing Machinery) today issued a set
of recommendations supporting the new Administration's
stated goal of making science and mathematics education a
national priority at the K-12 level, and urging the new
Administration to include computer science as an integral
part of the nation's education system. The ACM
recommendations cite the strong outlook for computer
science-related jobs despite extraordinary challenges
confronting the nation, and highlight the role of computer
science in driving the technology sector, which is expected
to continue its ability to make substantial contributions to
economic growth in the near future.
"Computing education benefits all students, not just
those interested in pursuing computer science or information
technology careers," said Bobby Schnabel, chair of ACM's
Education Policy Committee (EPC). "But students often do
not have many opportunities to engage in rigorous computer
science study at the K-12 level," said Schnabel, dean of the
Indiana University School of Informatics. "To meet the
nation's educational and professional needs in the face of
insufficient numbers of undergraduates majoring in computer
science, we need to work harder to increase interest at the
K-12 level, and to expand the pipeline supplying the
necessary workforce for an information-based economy."
ACM CEO John R. White welcomed the Obama team's efforts
to increase the pool of students in STEM (Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and
identified key recommendations to address the particular
challenges at the K-12 level. "The new Administration can
play an important role in strengthening middle school
education, where action can really make a difference, to
introduce these students to computer science. They can also
expand efforts to increase the number of females and
underrepresented minorities in this field and expand
professional development opportunities for high school
computer science teachers."
Among the other recommendations are: a focus on research
funding for K-12 computer science education to address many
gaps in understanding how students engage this critical
field; and a review of how states can better coordinate and
improve existing teacher certification requirements,
particularly for computer science teachers.
The ACM recommendations cite several challenges to


computing education that inhibit students from experiencing
the excitement and creativity of the discipline. For
example, courses in the fundamentals of computer science
often count only as a general elective, not as a
college-preparatory elective, making it unlikely that
college-bound high school students can afford to explore the
field. In addition, as schools have increasingly stepped up
the need to integrate, use, and teach information
technology, the distinctions have blurred between what is
called computer science and what is, in fact, information
technology literacy and the use of technology to support
literacy.
The ACM recommendations also urge action from federal,
state and local policy-makers as well as from the high-tech
industry, and scientific and education societies to
addressing these pressing issues. The entire statement is
available at
http://www.acm.org/public-policy/ACM_CS_ED_Transition_Final.pdf
.
About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery
(http://www.acm.org/), is the world's largest educational
and scientific computing society, uniting computing
educators, researchers and professionals to inspire
dialogue, share resources and address the field's
challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's
collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the
highest standards, and recognition of technical
excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its
members by providing opportunities for life-long learning,
career development, and professional networking.
- - - -
CONTACTS: Virginia Gold, 212-636-0505, vgold@acm.org
Cameron Wilson, 202-659-9711, cameron.wilson@acm.org
((AScribe - The Public Interest Newswire / http://www.ascribe.org))

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