So often in education, we focus so much attention on how we should teach, we forget that it is critical to think about “What should we teach?”. Part of this is because we now have education content standards that direct much of what curricula should cover in K-12 schools, but that does not mean that the standards are perfect. And if we want to continue improving education, we need to continue to improve the content standards.
And I had the opportunity to do just that. I was invited in 2011 to be on the Information Technology subcommittee of the California Statewide Career Technical Review Team, which was tasked with reviewing the previous Career Technical Education content standards, and make recommendations for changing them. From the input that I gave there, and the dedication I showed to the process, Gary Page, who was in charge of the Information and Communications Technologies standards, asked if I would be a co-writer of the revisions, and ultimately I was the primary author for the Information Support and Services standards and the Software and Systems Development standards.
I believe our education content standards should be based upon good research about what the job market currently needs and will likely need in the future. I attempted to bring this to my task, doing an analysis of O*NET occupational data to ascertain some of the important skills, as well as interviewing additional subject matter experts, to supplement my personal knowledge, and to confirm (or potentially falsify) my own thinking on particular subjects.
In the end, the work we did was ratified by the California State Board of Education. This was an exciting process, that I believe had results that positively impacted the California’s future IT / ICT workforce.