Computer Science Ignored

Saturday July 20th, 2013 was going great. I got up with my son and we watched cartoons. I went golfing with some friends in a tournament, and we won. I had a wonderful supper with my family and my parents. I then went with my wife to a social (dance). We danced and talked with friends. It had been a great day.

During a conversation with a friend, who is a teacher, I was figuratively punched in the gut. I found out the local high school had its computer science class cut. This was a shock to Haley and I. The class had just started being taught the previous year. It had been about ten years since it was last taught. We went to the class and gave a small presentation and answered any questions the class (including the teacher) had. That was a fun day. However, it’s all over.

There was a lot of excitement for the upcoming year. Haley had been working with the teacher on a course outline to help improve the curriculum. We were more than happy to help out with anything they needed. We were really excited to be involved. I am currently heartbroken.

I’m left asking a lot of questions.

– Was it lack of student interest? I don’t think so. There were eleven students in the class last year, boys and girls. There were already ten new students signed up for next year. This is a school from kindergarten to grade 12 with around 470 students.

– Why is computer science still considered a sub-standard or ignorable topic in high schools? My thoughts are computer science is viewed less as a science, but more of a skilled trade. Maybe the school boards don’t understand that computer science or programming is all about problem solving, experimentation, and analysis.

– Do all physics majors become physicists? How about chemistry majors? I’m not asking this to bash the other sciences, I just don’t know the answer. I really liked physics, and the degree I was originally going for in university was chemistry. I have one friend who has a degree in chemistry and he runs his own company building houses.

– Why is it, the only way to learn programming at an early age is to do it on your own? This does seem to perpetuate the stereotype that computer geeks are anti-social. Maybe the kids just don’t have an opportunity to explore computers outside their own basement? While golfing earlier that day, one guy was talking about his wife getting frustrated with their son for watching youtube videos of minecraft instead of cartoons or playing outside. That seems like a child who would possibly be interested in a computer science course. There are a lot of video games that are good at enhancing problem solving skills.

I am going to followup and try to get the reasons for the cancellation. That way I don’t have to speculate ‘why?’.

As of writing this, the school has a forensics class. That is cool!

Shane Charles
Software Developer