Computer Science For Everyone!?

Computer Science For Everyone!?

There's a big national push to get US kids to learn how to code computer programs going on, as you may have noticed (see Google News roundup here).  And apparently MRE thinks that CPS should join in.  Or at least so sayeth the Tribune and Sun Times.  What do you think?  Excited? Fearful? A little of both?  Me, too.



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  • Although programming is a marketable skill I don't believe that we are going to be living in a world where knowing coding will me as important as reading and basic math. If we want to increase computer literacy in students I'd prefer they start with basic Internet Security (starting with basic Internet architecture so that they understand WHY things aren't secure) and also database design.

  • Were potential employers asked if programming was to be one of the important skills necessary for career success? I would think being able to read, write, and communicate; and perform basic math skills would first and foremost.

    Is this throwing academic spaghetti on the wall? Maybe something will stick? Seems like a dilution of effort from what's really important.

  • I agree that database design and network design are very important. The proposed courses take the first steps towards these. (Disclaimer: I teach CS at UIC, so likely I'm biased.)

    The US Dept. of Commerce (as reported at indicates that by 2020 there will be 1,000,000 more CS jobs than CS students. Right now the average starting salary in CS after a 4 year degree is $74K. We've had multiple students in CS at UIC this year and last year get job offers for upwards of $100K. That is their starting salary, their first year out of school.

    I've also personally been involved in the curriculum and content for the new courses being proposed. The first is called "Exploring Computer Science" (ECS) and has a proven track record already from Los Angeles. The second is a new AP course called "CS Principles" If done right, both of these courses will give an engaging and compelling CS experience which will help students in their critical thinking and problem solving skills, will give them increased ability with common computer tools, and will give them an understanding of how computers work than.

  • Yeah, I should learn to spell and revise my work before posting - ah well. Average starting salary in CS is 64K, not 74K. And the last sentence is grammatically incorrect.

  • This is kind of ridiculous. With so many schools that barely have working computers, bandwidth that cannot withstand testing 30 kids on NWEA at the same time and zero tech staff in the schools, I'm sorry but this makes no sense. And that's on top of the fact that so many of our students don't have basic interpersonal skills and basic academic skills. MRE is really out of touch with most of CPS.

  • I agree with teacher parent. Technology is woefully lacking in most CPS schools. I had to purchase my own laptop in order to complete my IEPs-ridiculous!

  • CS majors coming out of U of I Champaign do make serious money. But the academic qualifications of these students are very high upon entering college. CPS in the past devoted resources to teaching high school students to program, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    Kids were walking around Lane Tech with piles of punch cards. There never was an evaluation of that effort and percentage of these students who actually became employed as IT professionals. CPS could not afford to update technology after 1979 when it went broke and the program collapsed.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Maybe what everyone needs to study a bit more of is...HISTORY!

  • No, Mr. President, Not Everyone Needs to Learn How to Code - The Wire

  • Chicago Public Schools Adding Computer Science To Core Curriculum - Huffpost roundup includes tart retort from CTU

  • Who exactly in CPS is qualified to teach this course...?

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