Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

De Blasio To Mandate Computer Science In Schools


To ensure that every child can learn the skills required to work in New York City’s fast-growing technology sector, Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce on Wednesday that within 10 years all of the city’s public schools will be required to offer computer science to all students.

Meeting that goal will present major challenges, mostly in training enough teachers. There is no state teacher certification in computer science, and no pipeline of computer science teachers coming out of college. Fewer than 10 percent of city schools currently offer any form of computer science education, and only 1 percent of students receive it, according to estimates by the city’s Department of Education.

Computer science will not become a graduation requirement, and middle and high schools may choose to offer it only as an elective.

But the goal is for all students, even those in elementary school and those in the poorest neighborhoods, to have some exposure to computer science, whether building robots or learning to use basic programming languages like Scratch, which was devised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach young children the rudiments of coding.

You know what some seniors asked me for last week while I was introducing them to financial aid?

A home economics class.

You know, where you learn how to cook, clean, sew, fix stuff, balance your checkbook, do your taxes, figure out your credit card statement - you know, the kind of stuff many people can't do anymore.

Mandating computer science is swell and I know "coding" is all the rage, but as we keep adding more and more mandates to the school day, it seems like students can do less and less to take care of themselves.

By all means, offer computer science to every student because it's such a fast-growing career and it's spaceage and whatever, but let's not forget the basic stuff of life too.

Seriously, the kids are asking for it.

While we're adding robots and computer programming. while we're focusing on Common Core and argumentative writing, how about bringing back home economics too?

Doesn't have to be a big thing - maybe just a half credit stuck in somewhere.

I know it would really help many students.


  1. Is there a course being offered in Common
    Sense? It is a quality greatly lacking in contemporary society.

    Abigail Shure

  2. What is computer science? Seriously, what the hell is that? Another fake computer class with printers that don't work, where kids go on pandora and listen to music? Computer Science huh? Nice. Just hit 20K in per session up until Sept 1st. Plenty of per session out there. Thanks!

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  4. Yes, many students I've come across can't do very basic things, that most adults take for granted. They can't tell time, read or write script, sign their names(!), or cook simple meals. Common Core is not Common Sense and those items are simply not deemed of any value by it.

  5. Blah. All this STEM bullshit.....
    And it is bullshit....trumped up corporate ethos.

    Interesting thing: a major country that had a super-high level of technical graduate degrees per square mile and a very rigorous focus on what we call STEM.....Nazi Germany.

    Science/Technology is only truly useful when tempered with the humanities. One cannot be privileged above the other.
    They require each other.

    The path much of our educational thinking is now taking, even the seemingly non-controversial focus on STEM of late, as illustrated by this current nonsense with deBlasio, is being steered and advanced by myopic corporate forces who have a distinctly ungrounded, libertarian, and deeply nonsensical view of the liberating force of technology that seems to have been whipped up from bad science fiction of the 1970s and 80s.

    This isn't just ed reformers and their view of technology as being essential in the dismantling of organized teachers....ed reform is at bottom just about privatizing and breaking unions...this STEM thing is much deeper and has somehow seeped into the realm of uncontroversial.

    It is controversial and deeply misguided. A society of technocrats and tech-workers has the historical possibility of leading to efficient railroads to death camps.

    Education...real about building a society resistant to genocide and susceptible to the enlightenment. STEM, and a deeply over-focused view of STEM, does not address those real goals adequately.

    We actually need a doubling down on the humanities. No technology interface needed.

    I am no Luddite, but really, this is getting ridiculous.
    Oh, also: Steve Jobs was an asshole and not a deity.

  6. Yes, I'm glad to hear someone else thinks kids need home economics! Seriously.