US Marks Computer Science Education Week

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 6 December, 2010 – The US is marking Computer Science Education Week from 5-11 December to recognize the critical role of computing in today’s society and the imperative to bolster computer science education at all levels.
 
Sponsored by Reps. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), CSEdWeek was established in 2009. The first week in December was chosen to honor computer science pioneer Grace Murray Hopper, who was born on 9 December, 1906. Hopper engineered new programming languages and pioneered standards for computer systems that laid the foundation for computer science advances for three decades beginning in the late 1940s.
 
CSEdWeek recognizes that kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) education in the US has fallen woefully behind in preparing students with the fundamental computer science knowledge and skills they need for 21st century careers. It also notes that computer science touches everyone’s daily lives and plays a critical role in society, drives innovation and economic growth, and provides rewarding job opportunities.
 
Computer science education is essential for:
• Exposing students to critical thinking and problem solving 
• Instilling understanding of computational thinking for success in the digital age
 
• Preparing students to attack the world’s most challenging problems from a computation perspective
 
As the role and significance of computing has grown, the teaching of computer science has dramatically declined, backers of CSEdWeek note. There is insufficient innovative computing curricula for students at all levels. Few students have the opportunity to study computer science in an engaging and rigorous way. The lack of ethnic and gender diversity among those who take computer science courses is unacceptable. Teachers have few opportunities for professional development in computing, and certification for computer science teachers is virtually nonexistent nationwide.
 
In cooperation with the Computing in the Core Coalition and other partners, CSEdWeek’s long-range goals include:
• Sharing information and activities to help elevate computer science in K-12 education 
• Eliminating misperceptions about computer science education 
• Communicating the endless opportunities computer science education prepares students for within K-12, higher education and careers.
 
Computer Science Education Week 2010 is chaired by Debra J Richardson, Founding Dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. She is currently on sabbatical as a Visiting Professor of Technology, Learning and Society with the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is being supported in the CSEdWeek effort by staff of the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

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