[Edu-sig] Significant drop in CS interest in high schools

Jeff Rush jeff at taupro.com
Fri Aug 28 00:56:50 CEST 2009

wesley chun wrote:
> AP CS Courses (and Students) on the Decline, CSTA Survey Finds
> This spring, the 2009 CSTA National Secondary Computer Science Survey
> collected responses from some 1,100 high school Computer Science
> teachers. The results: only 65 percent reported that their schools
> offer introductory or pre-AP Computer Science classes, as compared
> with 73 percent in 2007 and 78 percent in 2005. Only 27 percent
> reported that their schools offer AP CS, as compared with 32 percent
> in 2007 and 40 percent in 2005. And 74 percent offer CS content in
> courses other than introductory or AP CS, down from 85 percent in
> 2007.
> "The continuing drop in students taking AP CS is a serious
> warning sign about the state of computing in this country, as a
> student taking AP typically indicates his or her interest in majoring
> in that field in college or pursuing a career in that area," said
> Chris Stephenson, executive director of the Computer Science Teachers
> Association.

I'm not involved in the education industry so I'm having a slight logic
disconnect with this article.

The title implies that students are not -choosing- to major in CS but
the body talks about fewer schools -offering- the classes.  I'm not
clear to what degree students influence the offering of classes versus
school leadership deciding that.  Is this more a perception of viability
issue among management or students?  Or perhaps a problem with schools
not being able to supply teachers that can teach it, and thereby
dropping classes?

Maybe CS needs a good PR campaign, showing how fun it is, how it
directly impacts the qualify of life for society and how empowering it
is to understand and be able to take control of the technology around
us.  It also is one of the cheapest fields in which to get started as
everything you need is free - software tools, online books, video
classes.  You don't need organizational permission to participate like
you do with many majors like nuclear physics (my original major) or
medicine and it doesn't even require expensive/messy raw materials like
electronics, chemistry or biology.  Instead you work with the stuff of
dreams, in an air-conditioned clean environment!

I didn't know about the Computer Science Teachers Association and I see
they have a very nice website.  Thanks for the tip -- I'll be checking
it out as I feel for the democratization of society we definitely need
more people working on computers.  Computers (being amplifiers of
thought mostly for those who program them) are the only tool developed
by Mankind that has such immense power to enslave society if left in the
hands of a few.  Just look at the information sieving and social
monitoring facilities springing up around us.


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