Allen Tucker Chairs Committee Recommending National K-12 Computer Science Curriculum

Story posted February 19, 2004

Allen Tucker, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences and chair of Bowdoin's computer science department, discusses a new national curriculum model for public school computer science education in the January 2004 issue of Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Membernet.

The ACM Membernet article, "K-12 Curriculum Sets Computer Science Education Standards for Public Schools," can be read here.

Tucker chaired the ACM K-12 Task Force Curriculum Committee that developed the model, and according to the article, the task force's report "is an important first step" in addressing how public schools have ignored computer science for years when planning their curricula.

"Computer Science is a mainstream discipline that can no longer be ignored by public schools in the 21st century," Tucker said in the article. "The average citizen must understand at least the principles of Computer Science in order to function in society. A broad commitment to K-12 Computer Science education not only will create...public understanding but it will also help to address the worldwide shortage of computer specialists."

Among the issues the task force's report addresses are the past and current "nearly non-existent" U.S. state-level curriculum standards for computer science; the fact that K-12 computer science education in the U.S. "is not keeping pace with that of other countries"; and that the public has a poor understanding of computer science as an area of study and as a career.

Tucker also addresses the reality that the "ambitious goals" of the report will be a challenge in light of such issues as public school budgetary constraints and other academic and non-academic priorities. The report's recommendations need to be considered in the long-term, and not as a "quick fix."

For more information on the ACM go to http://campus.acm.org/public/membernet.

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