I just listened to an NPR story about the failure of the U.S. Educational system to prepare our nation for tomorrow’s jobs in Computer Science. This was NOT new news to me, but I’m glad to see it getting some national attention.
I saw this issue first hand, while developing California’s new K-12 ICT standards which are the de facto computer science standards for California public schools. While, one might expect for California, home of Silicon Valley and birthplace to much of computer science, to be ahead of the curve and enlightened when it comes to this critical field, this is not the case in most schools.
I feel we made forward progress in the creation of the new ICT standards, but we had to fight quite a bit to get there… And still most other standards lag behind… For example, K-12 students still don’t generally learn that in computers the asterisk * is the symbol used for multiplication. We teach imaginary numbers in higher order math as part of our Common Core State Standards, but not Boolean algebra nor base systems, which is the bedrock of computing. And, it took our team of standards developers to continually push to have Boolean algebra in the California ICT standards, when staff within the California Department of Education, who were not computer people, kept taking them out, because they didn’t recognize their importance, because they didn’t know what they were.
We need to wake up to the clear trends that are pointing to what tomorrow will be, before tomorrow arrives, or we will be taken by surprise by what was knowable all along.
P.S. – The image in this post, was what was supposed to be the icon for ICT in the new California standards… But somehow it didn’t make it in, and we still have the mouse as our icon, in an age of touch computing…