Policy

Creating a school for CS

Do we really need CS focused high schools? That's the question Alfred Thompson asked partly in reaction to my post talking about Bill Gates' visit to AFSE, a NYC public school with a CS focus. On both posts, Michael Preston shared some important and good points about AFSE as a starting point and gateway that helped lead to CS4All in NYC and also specifically about AFSE. In response to Alfred's question I thought it was time I shared a bit about what I was pushing for AFSE back when I was involved.
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Giving control of NYC's specialized schools to a political appointee

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on Bill de Blasio's plans to "fix" the selection criteria for New York City's specialized high schools. If you haven't read the post, you can find it here. I was going to get back to CS and CS Ed related blogging today but there's more to the story. In spite of what BdB stated, it's not enough for him to switch to another measure - the middle school state exam along with some modifiers.
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Changing Admissions to the NYC Specialized High Schools

Yesterday, Bill de Blasio, the current Mayor of New York City outlined how he would "fix" our specialized schools. The schools he was referring to were the "big three" of Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech and then five additional schools - The High School for Math Science and Engineering at CCNY, The High School for American Studies at Lehman, Brooklyn Latin, The Queens Arts and Science High School at York College, and Staten Island Tech.
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Should CS for All be implemented at the college level?

There's been a lively discussion on pushback to CS for All at the K12 level over on Facebook. Mark Guzdial started a sub thread asking if CS for All should first be implemented at the undergrad level rather than K12. It's an interesting question and as good as anything to get me out of my month long non-blogging rut. Mark was right when he said that if Colleges implement CS for All, K12 will likely do so to follow - just look at AP.
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Is there room for CS for All

A fear revolving around CS For All concerns where will the money come from and how will we fit in the new classes. One suggested solution is to integrate CS into other subjects. I thought I'd write today about why I don't think the fear is valid and while integrating CS into other classes can have value, it probably isn't a long term solution for CS education. Let's start with the integration solution.
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Unfunded Mandates and CS For All

This morning, Mark Guzdial wrote about unfunded mandates and CS for All. Unfunded mandates frequently wreak havoc on schools in a number of ways but in the long run, I don't think it should have a severe effect on CS for All. Rather, it could have a big impact on the number of CS courses we offer beyond that. Mark relay's a story from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School where at the time many students wanted more CS classes but the school wasn't planning on hiring a new CS teacher.
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Why Strong K12 Teacher Certification is Important

About a week ago New York State's new regulation creating a K12 CS teacher certification went live. Just the other day I was honored to be interviewed by Matt Flamm of Crain's New York in a follow up piece about it. Having K12 CS teacher certification is big and having quality programs that lead to certification is HUGE. In my view, it's a game changer. Let's Focus on high school, my wheelhouse.
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Fixing the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) situation

In the New York City department of education a recurring hot topic is the Absent Teacher Reserve or ATR pool. A teacher or administrator in the ATR pool is a licensed, most likely tenured teacher not assigned permanently to a school. Each year these educators get shuttled from school to school and denied a chance to actually settle in a position. The ATR pool was created under the Bloomberg administration. Prior to that, when there was an opening school transfers were basically seniority based and when school had too many teachers the least senior was excessed or basically out of a job until a school with an opening could be found.
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New York State moving forward with CS Teacher Certification

Last April I woke up early and trekked up to Albany along with a few of my Hunter College colleagues to share our thoughts on K12 Computer Science teacher certification with the Board of Regents. We gave a presentation to the Regents Higher Education Committee and afterwards had a chance to talk with some of the Regents as well as other members of the New York State Department of Education.
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A test result is just a test result

This past weekend was Catskillsconf - my favorite event of the year. I spent the weekend up in Ulster County with a bunch of my students. some great friends old and new, and Devorah. It was a great weekend but I was mostly offline. As a result I missed a rather heated discussion in the CS Ed Facebook groups. The debate was over whether or not Strong AP CSP exam results are indicative of a good curriculum or good professional development (PD).
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