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Organizing Internationally

CSTA's membership continues to grow, and as it does, we strive to find better ways to serve all of our members no matter where they happen to live.

At present, about 13% of CSTA's members live in countries other than the United States and as you might guess, the state of K-12 computer science education varies enormously from country to country as does the level to which CS teachers have organized themselves professionally. In some countries, there are already highly active organizations. Israel, for example, has a top-notch Computer Science Teachers Association which provides a wide variety of services for its members. In other countries, there are organizations which serve the needs of technology-using teachers, but which provide very little for computer science teachers. And in some countries of course, there is nothing at all.

Last week, I met with several members of the CSTA Board to discuss how we could best serve the needs of these international members. What we discovered is that the situation is even more complex than we thought. Not only do we have to ensure that whatever we do does not conflict with or undermine the efforts of local organizations and educators, we have to ensure that we protect CSTA from risk. For example, there is considerable fiscal liability associated with international chapters and, at this time, CSTA does not have the resources to manage this liability.

So we have decided for the present to put our efforts into building affiliate relationships with organizations that already exist in countries other than the U.S. and to providing expertise to interested members where no organization presently exists to meet the needs of K-12 computer science teachers. Our plan is to "package" the collective experiences and wisdom of those involved in setting up CSTA as an effective voice for CS teachers into a kit that teachers from other countries can use to set up computer science subject associations that will meet the needs of their teachers and students.

This is an ambitious project and it may take us a while to complete, but we believe that the potential for all parties is exciting.

Margot Phillipps
CSTA International Director

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