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Where Are the Teachers in Code.org?

Earlier this month, computer science education fever spread throughout the nation as promotional videos from code.org were publicly released. The media frenzy can be linked to the endorsement of 84 "Leaders and Trendsetters "from government, academia, industry, and entertainment who endorse the organizational vision that "every student in every school should have the opportunity to code".

The leading paragraph of the Department of Education blog, shows the publicity value of the endorsements by beginning a discussion of code.org with the following paragraph: "Where can you go to find - in one place - Arne Duncan, Mark Zuckerberg, Marco Rubio, Stephen Hawking, and Snoop Dogg agreeing with each other? Not sure? Now add into the mix Dr. Oz, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg. Give up?"

But a visit to the statements of support from these 84 "Leaders and Trendsetters" left me feeling incredibly unsettled. Though Sheryl Sandberg, Lucy Sanders, and Jane Margolis highlight the need to explicitly including girls and other underrepresented groups in this computing education movement - only ONE person (Dennis Van Reeked, President, National Education Association) mentions teachers in their support of computing education!

If we believe coding should be accessible to all students in all schools, shouldn't computing teachers contribute and have a voice in these important discussions? I found this visible absence of any mention of supporting teachers disappointing and short-sighted, as I feel that computer science teachers have much more experience, wisdom, and ideas of how to actually implement these admirable access goals than, say, Ashton Kutcher.

Joanna Goode
Equity Chair, Board of Directors


Lots of sales pitch on the front page, eh?

I'm sorry, this is just undue criticism. It appears you haven't bothered looking at who has submitted quotes on Code.org

There are two heads of teacher unions, 2 presidents of universities, 2 chairs of university CS departments, the superintendent of the largest public school district, the principal of a high school, the heads of education of multiple charter schools, an individual school teacher, and numerous other folks from the education community. Each leader on our Quotes page decided what quote they wanted to say.

Code.org isn't a site designed to celebrate CS teachers. If you want that, you can visit CSTA, and they do a great job of celebrating teachers. Our goal at Code.org is to make all parents and students care about CS education, and we're pretty certain we've moved the needle more than anybody else, thanks to overwhelming support by everybody, teachers included.

I think code.org should make parents aware of the situations in the schools. We don't have the hardware or the maintenance necessary to teach computer science. From someone actually teaching computer, all those administrators have no idea what it takes to reach students at all levels with the current policies in place. I must fill my classroom by recruiting students then in turn I am limited to the amount of differentiation I can do.

Joanna - I made a similar comment about the #CSEdweek Twitter Conversation, of which I'd guess CSTA was an organizer back in December: http://cestlaz.github.com/2012/12/12/whos-missing-from-the-picture.html#.UUOd8z79ZKk

Hadi - not commenting as to who should or shouldn't be quoted in what is basically a pro cs-ed PR piece, but Joanna's right about teachers not being included in the process in general and that could lead to bad CS education which could be worse that no CS education at all.

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