Is There a Lack of Computer Science in High School?

by Beth Knittle on February 11, 2013

My son is a sophomore in high school and we are beginning to look at his post-high school   life.  He goes to a terrific high school.  My daughter also attended the same school and was well prepared for her college experience.  She often remarks on how much better prepared she was then her fellow freshman.  I am very please with the choice of high school for my children.

My son’s passions are computers, math and gaming (computer, cards, board).  So we are looking at schools that offer computer science, programming, game development and mathematics.  Most of the schools require that he have some computer science and programming course work in high schools if he wishes to be admitted to these majors. The trouble is his school does not offer these courses; looking at the other schools in the area this is true for most of them.  So now we are looking at him taking a course at the community college, attending a summer program or maybe an online course.  Having this experience is important on two levels (1) most importantly he needs the exposure to see if this is something he really wants to pursue and (2) to meet some admission requirements.

In my exploration I found this interesting info graphic by code.org. This shows that the need for those in computer science greatly out ways the number of students entering the field. In my son’s case lack of high school opportunity may make it a bit more difficult to enter the field in colleges. This may deter others from entering the field.

When I was in high schools in the late 70’s early 80’s computers (the room size variety) were all the rage and my high school had a computer science course.  We created punch cards, used a real phone modem to complete simple programs. Looking at old high school course offerings there seems to have been more computer science offerings then now. Almost every thing from your toaster to Smartphone contains a computer and runs on programming. It seems a much-needed skill set yet these courses are no longer offered in high schools.  Computer science courses and business course have lost ground; there may be a number of reasons for this shrinking budgets, NCLB, and mandatory testing. Nonetheless there are fewer of them around.

If one of the roles of schools is to prepare students for the job market and if we believe education is essential to a vibrant economy then why do we not teach computer science and business courses in high school? One of the underlying themes of the common core is to promote critical thinking, and analysis; there is also a push for STEM (is it really just a push for SM). Computer programming would support both of these aims. In this day when schools are competing for students would not offering courses that prepare students for economy of the future be a selling point?

Does your school offer computer science courses?

For further reading:

Code.org to Launch

We Need More Geeks

This 15-Year-Old Built An App To Help His High School Debate Team. It Could Do Much More Than That

Will a Computer Take Your Kid’s Job

The Future Workforce

10 Business that will boom in 2020

Learn to Code

Codefellows: Boot Camp for Engineers

Code Academy

Udacity

Google Code University 

Crunchzilla

 

 

 

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Laura Carpenter (Guest) March 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Hello again,
I agree with your thoughts in this post. I remember always hearing the statement “You’re main purpose for being here is so that you will be prepared to enter college and/or the workforce.” The closest course that was offered at my high school to Computer Science was known as Business Essentials. It covered subjects such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Thank you for your resources.

Laura Carpenter

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