A teacher in Massachusetts dedicated a computer class to developing and testing mobile apps. The Education Secretary in the UK is calling for a total program overhaul of country’s computer education curriculum. Now, the Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City has declared that an entire public high school will be devoted to teaching students software engineering. From Government Computer News:
“Today, far too many of our graduates are leaving without the skills they need to succeed beyond high school. Not every student wants to go to college, nor is college right for everyone. But all students should leave prepared to succeed in the next phase of their lives,” Bloomberg said. “It’s a new way of thinking about secondary school based on today’s economic realities.” …
Frank Thomas, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Education, anticipates that the school will have between 420 and 460 students by 2015, when all four grade levels are enrolled, Adrianne Jeffries reported in BetaBeat. The school will start with a ninth-grade class this year and add on another grade level for the next three years.
The city has other specialized high schools for science, math, the performing arts and other subjects, but it did not have one focused on computer science. …
Joel Spolsky, a board member of the new school, said one reason he’s a proponent of the school is that it could can train many excellent software engineers who are not currently at the top of their class academically.
“I think this is the best thing about the school,” he said in a blog post. “A lot of kids are just not interested enough in other academic subjects to get good grades, but they would make great software engineers. A lot of immigrants (especially in New York) are not yet proficient enough in English to get good grades in all their subjects, but they’re going to make great software engineers, too.”
I have to say, one instance is cool. Two instances make you raise an eyebrow. Three instances (especially when they’re consistently bigger examples) might just be the start of a trend. And this trend of focusing not only on computer basics, but on more advanced – more engaging – computer topics that can lead to lucrative, fulfilling career paths is long over due.