LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 3 October, 2011 – The IEEE Computer Society has joined ACM as a member of Computing in the Core (CiNC), a nonpartisan advocacy coalition seeking to elevate the profile of US K-12 computer science education and work toward ensuring that computer science is a core academic subject.
Sorel Reisman, Computer Society President, and Alain Chenais, President of ACM, signed the memorandum of understanding during a recent meeting at ACM's headquarters.
"It is vitally important for tomorrow's employees, and for society, that computing be introduced early on so students can learn the foundations and be prepared for further computer science and computing-related studies in college," said Reisman. CiNC, whose members include associations, corporations, scientific societies, and other nonprofits, notes that US computer science education is lagging.
CinC encourages awareness-building activities, policy changes, and research at national, state, and local levels to build a strong foundation for the future of computer science instruction. One of its key awareness-building tools in National Computer Education Week, scheduled for 4-10 December, 2011.
Members of the coalition are proponents of computer science curricula focusing on conceptual knowledge, such as algorithmic or computational thinking. In addition:
• Computer science courses, such as Advanced Placement Computer Science, must be considered an academic subject within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and must count toward a student's core graduation requirements, either as a computer science credit or as a math or science credit.
• Ethnic and gender diversity in the information technology field and computer science classrooms is crucial to the long-term success of the field.
• Federal and state education programs must address the recruitment and retention of new computer science teachers and provide adequate professional development opportunities for existing teachers.
• Students throughout grades K-12 should be exposed to grade-appropriate computing and computer science concepts through formal computer science courses and their integration across the STEM disciplines.
• Computer science teacher certification programs must be based on models that reflect the content and pedagogical knowledge of the field and appropriate education background.
• Federal education research programs must address improving the curriculum and pedagogy of computer science.
• Improving K-12 STEM education generally, attracting more students to these courses, and improving the diversity of these students are all critical to the computer science field.
CiNC's executive committee is composed of representatives from the Computer Science Teachers Association, Google, Microsoft, and the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Board members represent the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, ACM, the Computing Research Association, Computer Science Teachers Association, Google, Microsoft, National Center for Women and Information Technology, National Council of Teacher of Mathematics, and the National Science Teachers Association.