Computer Science Education Crucial

By Asselstine, Shane | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, December 6, 2017 | Go to article overview

Computer Science Education Crucial


Asselstine, Shane, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


PIXABAY Schools across the nation are celebrating computer science education this week with activities designed to raise awareness about this subject area. In Hawaii, there are more than 150 events going on in our public schools.

As you read this, take a moment to look around you. Try to find something that has not been impacted by computer science.

It’s not an easy task. Computer science has been integrated with so many different industries and aspects of our lives, from coaching soccer games to tracking farm efficiency on Molokai.

There are currently 1,169 open computing jobs in the state, with an average salary of $80,000 per year. That works out to just about $93 million in opportunities annually.

However, in 2015, Hawaii only had 155 computer science graduates, and in 2016, only 188 high school students took the AP computer science exam.

These statistics illustrate that our system needs to change, and while Hawaii isn’t keeping pace, we are not sitting by aimlessly.

The Hawaii Department of Education has formed a workgroup for computer science in an effort to adopt a set of standards for the state. Additionally, more schools are looking at professional development opportunities for teachers in computer science. New organizations such as Computer Science Teachers Association-Hawaii Chapter are also forming and providing resources and professional development for our educators. We may have more than 60 new computer science educators by the end of the summer.

Some reports will tell you that 40 percent of schools are teaching computer science. The truth is, there are misconceptions about the definition of computer science, and it’s difficult to really say. After spending some time defining computer science with educators I’ve trained, many say that number is more like one in 10 schools. …

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