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Working Together or Falling Apart

Sometimes, it really is true that a crisis can bring out the best in both people and institutions and our current enrollment crisis in computer science is prompting a new spirit of cooperation between university and high school computer science educators.

A good example can be seen at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (a CSTA Instutitonal member) where the commitment to revitalizing the connection between K-12 and universities goes right to the top.

In a recent web posting , Anthony Skjellum, Chair of the Computer and Information Science Department declared his department's intention of helping to revitalize computer science education in the state's 480 high schools.

Skjellum also makes it very clear that his reasons for doing so go beyond the desire to simply increase enrollment.

"Why? Because the national trend away from Computer Science education at the pre-college level and the substantial decrease in Computer Science undergraduates in the USA since 2000 are bad for the US economy, competitiveness, and future. Computer Science is a vital career path for students in America, and Alabamians stand to gain hugely from first class education in our field."

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is not the only university reaching out to high schools. I personally know of terrific programs at Indiana University, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Illinois, and Colorado School of Mines. And I am sure there are more out there (let us know if you have a program teachers in your area should know about).

All of these outreach efforts are important because the issues that need to be addressed are complex and require the attention and commitment of all levels of the education system. This really is a time where we either work together or all fall apart.

Chris Stephenson
Executive Director

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