By Joseph Williams | Takepart.com
May 11, 2015 1:59 PM
Anyone with a computer probably knows the legend of Google: A pair of Stanford computer geeks in suburban San Francisco put their heads together and created a company that transformed the California economy and changed the world. But if you’re a poor and minority public high school student in the Golden State—or anywhere else in the country—that legend feels like a particularly challenging mythology.
Regular and Advanced Placement computer science courses—and teachers to lead them—are nearly nonexistent for African American and Latino students, particularly if they attend underserved schools or are English-language learners, according to a new study from the Level Playing Field Institute, an organization dedicated to bringing black and Latino kids up to speed on the information superhighway.
Son pocos los latinos, como Francisco Javier Villegas, que cursan clases de computación.
Foto: Aurelia Ventura/La Opinion
Pese a la creciente demanda de empleos que exigen habilidades en computación, la mayoría de las escuelas en zonas con alta población latina y afroamericana en California no ofrecen estas clases.
Lo anterior es el resultado de un nuevo reporte del Instituto Level Playing Field (LPFI), que analizó los currículos de los veinte distritos escolares más grandes del estado, entre éstos el de Los Ángeles (LAUSD), Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Bernardino, Corona-Norco y Riverside.
“En California casi el 75% de las escuelas con porcentaje más alto de alumnos de color no ofrecen cursos de ciencias computacionales”, indicó Alexis Martin, directora de investigación del LPFI.
A nivel local hay una buena noticia: la mayor parte de las preparatorias del LAUSD sí reciben instrucción de este tipo, encontró el estudio. “Tiene uno de los porcentajes más altos del estado”, precisó Martin.
Pero en el resto del estado el panorama es desalentador. Del más de medio millón de alumnos en veinte distritos escolares de California sólo el 1% se prepara para usar una computadora.
By Liana Heitin
Computer science courses are often inaccessible for black, Hispanic, Native American, and low-income high school students in California, according to a new study.
The report, released yesterday by the nonprofit Level Playing Field Institute, confirms other recent research on computer science and underrepresented students. For instance, last year not a single black student took the Advanced Placement computer science exam in 12 states, and no Hispanic students took it in six states.
The authors of Path Not Found: Disparities in Computer Science Course Access in California High Schools point out that California public school students’ enrollment in computer science courses is lackluster overall. Sixty-five percent of public high schools in the state offer no computer science courses. Just 13 percent offer the AP computer science course.
And 10 of the state’s largest 20 districts do not offer computer science at all.
But the numbers are most dismal at low-income and majority-minority schools, the study found, using data from the California education department.
by Tom Chorneau
(Calif.) In 1987, when IBM was still a player in the desktop computing market and Apple’s primary product was still the Mac, officials overseeing teacher preparation programs in California began work on designing a supplemental authorization that would cover the new emerging industry.
As unlikely as it might seem, the content study required to gain the Computer Concept and Application Supplemental Authorization hasn’t changed since – despite the breakneck speed at which electronic technology has evolved in the last 30 years.
Perhaps even more ironic is that every K-12 teacher that has come through the system over the last decade has been exposed to at least as much computer science content training as required for the supplemental authorization.
To remedy the imbalance, the state’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing has launched an update of the computer science specialty – although intentionally only an interim step as broader questions surrounding instruction in coding, web design and telecommunications are considered.
Still, officials at the CTC acknowledge that the existing requirements for obtaining the computer science authorization are almost embarrassingly out of date.
By Julie Flapan
Fourth graders in Matthew Chan’s class are enrolled in a rigorous STEM school – Science, technology, engineering and math – at Folsom Cordova Riverview Elementary School in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Manny Crisostomo firstname.lastname@example.org
Coding is to computer science is what a hammer is to carpentry; it is just one important tool in the toolbox. Thanks to an audacious goal of having 100 million students try coding for one hour during Computer Science Education Week starting Monday, it’s easy to understand why coding has captured so much attention, yet computer science remains misunderstood.
Computer science is often confused with educational technology or digital learning. Computer science doesn’t only teach how to use computers or facilitate learning; it teaches students to be “creators” of technology. This distinction is important because as computers have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, young people presume they already know what it takes to operate their devices – but that’s not enough.
The discipline of computer science requires deeper learning so that students think critically and creatively, solve complex problems and develop sequential reasoning, algorithmic and computational thinking. These are the skills that students need to design applications and advance innovations that enrich society, across all fields. Computer science provides fundamental knowledge students need to be prepared for college and careers in the 21st century.
By Lillian Mongeau, EdSource Today and KQED
Joe Sanbria (seated), 16, gets help from his classmates with the programming language Python at Foshay Technology Academy in Los Angeles. Credit: Lillian Mongeau
Half a dozen bills before the state Legislature address the growing concern that California students don’t have the computer science skills necessary to thrive in the modern workforce.
Educators and tech industry leaders would like high schools to teach students more than just how to use a computer – the goal now is for students to be able to program one. Computer science shouldn’t be a niche field for the highly educated any longer, advocates say.
“I’m not saying every child should become a programmer, but I do think it’s important for every child to have some basic level of skill in computer science,” said Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto.