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If We had a Million Dollars or Even Two

"What would CSTA do if it had unlimited financial resources? What projects would it undertake that would truly improve K-12 computer science education and address our current enrollment crisis?"

CSTA is now beginning its third year of operations and once again we are doing extensive strategic and financial planning. Yesterday I presented an early draft of our sustainability plan to the CSTA Advisory Council and the Council members asked me these questions.

First, it is important to note that I am quite conservative when it comes to fiscal planning. I don't like to spend money I am not sure we have. Also, I think that after having spent more than 20 years in K-12 education, I am so used to being told we have to do more with less, I have forgotten how to dream really big.

So I am turning this question over to you, the real experts, our member and colleagues in K-12 and asking for your ideas and dreams.

If CSTA had unlimited funds, what could we do that would truly impact K-12 computer science education for the better?

Chris Stephenson
Executive Director


I would like to see more staff development.

I loved the JETT workshop in Arkansas and would love to see more like that.

I would also like to see online staff development that is NOT AP related, but can be Java, or even other languages, that could count for regular staff development. My district doesn't have enough resources to provide for curriculum staff development.

As a middle school computer teacher in a low performing school within the Los Angeles Unified School District, I have some definite opinions about what should be done about K-12 computer education. Here are some thoughts:

* Make computers a CORE subject, like math and language arts. Students graduating from school today need to understand and be able to use computers far more than they need to know all aspects of history and/or science that are currently taught as core subjects. Yet computers are still considered an elective in our district.

* Ensure that every student in this country has access to a computer with high speed internet access both at school and at home. Many of the students I teach don't have computers at home, which limits the type of work I can give them for homework.

* Focus on teaching our students how to safely use social networking sites, rather than blocking them on the school servers. The kids figure out ways around the blocks anyway, and if they do have internet at home, they are using them. So we really need to teach them how to use them safely. I do in my classes.

I'm sure I'll come up with some other ideas, but that's it for now

Unlimited funds...

~Required (core) CS course(s) starting in middle school.
~Increased time for teachers to learn new things.
~Increased partnerships between high schools and local universities and industry.
~Scholarships for students to attend summer camps.
~Scholarships for high school students who intend to pursue a CS degree.
~Ad campaigns promoting CS in middle and high school
~Increase partnership between CS teachers and Technology teachers (team up on Lego Robotics and other projects)
~A robotics club in every school with lots of toys.
~Posters, buttons, t-shirts, flyers, pencils, mugs
~More time (I had to write it again!)

The bell is ringing...gotta go!

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