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Fixing Computer Science Teacher Certification

More than likely you wouldn't be reading this blog if you didn't feel passionately that computer science is an essential discipline in our high schools. Certainly, every article I read about the importance of teaching our students 21st Century Skills reminds me how critical computer science is in our educational system. Quite simply stated, computer science exemplifies 21st Century skills. Students today are inherently interested in computers and computer science because they are digital natives.

With these digital natives populating our classrooms, the increasing globalization of our economy, and the focus on 21st Century skills, the stage is set for a resurgence of computer science in our schools. Who will teach these digital natives computer science? Unfortunately, many of our states lack teacher certification in computer science. Where computer science teacher certification exists, the certification standards are not consistent among the states. And, the certification standards are certainly not consistent throughout the world. It is critical that the individuals teaching computer science in our schools be exemplary in the field. And, it is critical that a certification structure be put into place to address that critical need.

CSTA has recently published a white paper titled Ensuring Exemplary Teaching in an Essential Discipline: Addressing the Crisis in Computer Science Teacher Certification . The white paper addresses the critical need for computer science teacher certification by detailing the importance of computer science education, examining relevant research about computer science teacher preparation, highlighting models of computer science teacher certification, and concludes by recommending models for teacher preparation and certification in computer science. The recommended models for teacher preparation and certification address professionals who are new teachers, veteran teachers who have NO computer science teaching experience, veteran teachers WITH computer science teaching experience, and individuals coming from business with a computer science background. The professionals in each of these four groups bring a wealth of experiences and skills to computer science teaching. These are the professionals who are or will become the teachers who will teach computer science to our digital natives.

The CSTA white paper provides a welcome and necessary model for state teacher certification specialists to follow to establish computer science certification standards in each state thus providing critical uniformity across states. The white paper also assists current and prospective computer science teachers by providing a model for honing their skills and for keeping current in the field. Certainly if we have more professionals earning computer science certification, we will see an increase in computer science education in our schools. This will lead us to exemplary teaching in computer science and prepare our students for success in the 21st Century.

The Ensuring Exemplary Teaching in an Essential Discipline: Addressing the Crisis in Computer Science Teacher Certification document can be downloaded by following this link:


I urge you to take a few minutes to read the document, if you have not already done so.

Deborah Seehorn
CSTA Board Member

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