Thursday, December 03, 2009

Let’s drop English from the curriculum

Just for fun, at your next faculty meeting or school board meeting try the following out.

Let’s drop or at least reduce the English requirement for graduation. Let’s face it these kids have been talking and writing for years. They know English. It’s not like they’ll all become professional writers. Some of these kids already speak better English than their parents.

Probably will not go over very well. But somehow things like the following go over just fine.

We don’t need a computer science requirement. Let’s face it these kids have been using computers for years. They know computers. It’s not like they’ll all become professional programmers. Some of these kids already know more about computers than their parents.

Ok so an argument can be made that the two are not exactly the same but I think they are closer than many people would like to admit. And there is this fact that students have generally had 8 full years of English before  they get to high school and almost no one has a computer science course (computer science does not mean using applications BTW) before high school.

Computer science is a critical piece of knowledge these days though. In any line of work or study computer science is going to be a tool that one will use. Sort of like how everyone will be reading, writing and speaking in any line of work or study. We really do a disservice to students by not giving them at least a taste, a vocabulary, some basic concepts of computer science.

College is too late. In fact some would argue and I would probably agree that middle school is not too early. One of the things a good education does, at least in my opinion, is to expose students to as many possibilities as possible. Given how important computer science has become and its increasing importance how can we say a school is doing a good job if students are not exposed to computer science?

Next week is Computer Science Education week. (Read the ACM Press Release.) Is your school doing anything for it? If you don’t have a real computer science program at your school perhaps this week can be a catalyst to get one started.


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