working with people from education,
industry, and government.
Step 4: Find initial funding. The first
three steps are essential. The fourth
step is necessary to make change, and
ECEP provides some small financial
help to its members. Improving and
broadening computing education requires some significant funding, for example, for teacher professional development. There are smaller-ticket items
that are useful early in the process.
˲ Several of the ECEP cohort states
have written landscape reports describing the current state of computing education and setting priorities for
change. California leaders called their
landscape report In Need of Repair.b
The landscape report speaks to education policy stakeholders, to describe
why and where computing education
needs to change in the state.
˲ A summit meeting on computing
education is where the computing education leaders gather and invite in the
stakeholders (for example, public policymakers in the state government, industry leads, district superintendents,
and school principals) who need to
hear about the landscape report. Summits galvanize the community and
generate shared goals for making progress in improving and broadening participation in computing education.
Those of us leading the ECEP Alliance do not have a recipe for change
that works in every context. We do see
a set of steps in a process that is working in several states. We have learned
we cannot always predict what states
will most need in order to make progress or what pitfalls lie ahead along the
path. We are finding that, together, our
cohort of state leaders is helping each
state figure that out.
b See http://www.exploringcs.org/wp-content/
Rick Adrion ( email@example.com) is Professor Emeritus
in the School of Computer Science at the University of
Renee Fall ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is project manager for
the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology
Education in the College of Information and Computer
Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Barbara Ericson ( email@example.com) is Director of
Computing Outreach and Senior Research Scientist at
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.
Mark Guzdial ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor
in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of
Technology, Atlanta, GA.
Copyright held by authors.
tors, university faculty (from both CS
and education), industry leaders, and
staff from state departments of education. It is a more difficult requirement
to meet than we expected. Some potential leaders are in state departments of
education, and their participation is
limited by department policies. Some
states have a lot of people working in
computing education, but no one who
is willing to coordinate efforts across
Step 2: Figure out where you are
and how change happens. As we described earlier, states vary in many,
but predictable, ways. There must be
a process by which high school graduation requirements are determined.
There must be some process for managing teacher certification. We do
hear from potential state leaders who
have no idea how education policy
works in their state, or even whether
they have CS classes being taught in
their state. That is a baseline requirement: change cannot start until you
know where your state is and how
change happens in your state.
Step 3: Organize a cross-sector
committee. The leaders who are most
successful influencing computing
education public policy join forces
across sectors. In Georgia, we started
out with a coalition that crossed universities, high schools, and the department of education. We really got
the attention of the legislature and
the governor when industry started
pushing for change, too. South Carolina has a steering committee that
crosses all these sectors. Some states
have computing education organizations—California has ACCCESS,
Texas has TACSE, and Massachusetts
has MassCAN. State leaders should be
We have been
our state leaders
from each other.
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