DIGEST OF ACM
Welcome to the latest installment of “EduBits,” your quarterly pipeline to new and exciting happenings in the world of ACM education. In this edition, we offer a call for participation in CSEdWeek 2014 and updates from the ACM
Public Policy Office.
We turn first to Debra Richardson (a past Chair of CSEdWeek and a member of the
ACM Education Board) who sounds a much-needed clarion call for participation in
CSEd Week 2014.
CSEdWeek 2014: A Continuing Call to Action
Computer Science Education Week (CSEd Week) [ 1] is a call to action that raises awareness about
the need to elevate computer science education at all levels and to underscore the critical role of
computing in all careers. The 5th annual CSEd Week will take place December 8-14, 2014. This
year, the entire computing community can play a critical role by helping to share this message
beyond our community.
Computer science (CS) and the technologies it enables lie at the heart of our economy, our daily
lives, and the scientific enterprise. The outlook for computing-related jobs is extremely strong, with
half of all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs across the country in the
computing field. But while national, state, and local policy makers have begun to respond to the
need to expand the capacity and quality of STEM education, computer science education continues
to struggle in the K- 12 backwaters. As we move toward an ever more computing-intensive world,
students must achieve a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computational thinking and
computer science to be well-educated citizens prepared for jobs in the 21st Century. This will only
happen if more students have access to this knowledge in high school and even earlier.
Computer science is not part of the “Common Core” and despite recent changes in a number
of states, computer science courses still count as an elective credit rather than as a rigorous academic credit (math or science) in 28 states. As part of its many CSEd Week 2013 activities, ACM’s
Computer Science Teachers Association [ 2] launched change.org petitions to “Make CS Count” in
each state. CSTA’s goal is to enable students to count a rigorous CS class (usually AP CS) as a high
school graduation and/or college admission requirement (both of which lead to greater incentive for high school students to take computer science). Before this effort, launched in November
2013, only 14 states and DC allowed a CS course to count toward core graduation requirements.
Since the petitions, and along with related efforts, 22 states now count CS toward a math and/or
science graduation requirement, and five other states have relevant change in the pipeline.
CSEd Week 2013 introduced students of all ages to various levels of “coding”—a fundamental skill in computer science—raising awareness about the critical nature of computer science
education. Code.org set a goal of 10 million students trying out coding. Code.org reports that it
exceeded that goal as more than 15 million students in 167 countries took a free programming
tutorial as part of the Hour of Code global initiative [ 3]. They also note that this trend continues
with over 37 Million trying the Hour of Code since it was put in place and over half of participating students have been girls.