Source: Google-Gallup study
By Ramona Stamatin
In “Searching for Computer Science: Access and Barriers in U.S. K-12 Education”, a study sponsored by Google and conducted by Gallup, polls that were collected illustrated students’ and parents’ views on the necessity of computer science as part of the students’ curriculum.
Gallup interviewed nationally representative samples over the telephone. Results show that both students and parents favor the concept of integrating computer science into the curricula.
“Despite the value students, parents, teachers… place on computer science, teachers, principals and superintendents are unlikely to say computer science education is a top priority for their school or district, and less than half say their school board thinks it is important to offer computer science education” (Gallup).
The problem is that although computer science is an important area to study, these schools have many reasons for not integrating it as a core part of their curricula. Some reasons include: focusing on topics that are national and state required tests such as math, English, and reading; they do not have a teacher available in the district to teach the class; there is not enough funding to hire an additional teacher to only teach computer science classes; they do not have the technological resources, such as computers, to teach the class; etc. However, it is emphasized, statistically, that the focus on subjects that show up in testing is the main reason that computer science is not taught in schools.
Both, principals (32%) and superintendents (24%), state that this is the main reason. Also, this study explores computer access and exposure among different races. Data show that compared to Whites and Blacks, Hispanics tend to use computers less often, a smaller percentage of Hispanic students have computers at home with Internet access (75%) than White or Black students. However, overall, there is a higher tendency for the student to have a cellphone or tablet at home with internet access. It is important to understand the background of the students’ use of computers in order to relate it to the demand of computer science taught in schools.
Also, there is a higher demand for computer science to be requirement in schools by parents with lower income. It is remarkable that all the students from a higher income background tend to have a higher percentage of classes where only computer science is taught. Generally, this research explores the demand for computer science as required course and the reasons why it is not a top priority for most schools. “Many principals expect opportunities to learn computer science to increase over the next few years” (Gallup).
Ramona Stamatin is a Wayne State University honors student majoring in biochemistry, Spanish and theatre. In the Wikid GRRLS project she teaches middle school girls online skills in Detroit Public Schools this semester.
Read the full Google/Gallup study.