ACM's Statement on the White House STEM Education Announcement
The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession
November 23, 2009
Below is a statement from Bobby Schnabel, Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Education Policy Committee and Dean, School of Informatics, Indiana University, on President Obama’s call to reinforce STEM skills in the nation’s schools:
“We are seeing broad community support for science, technology, engineering, and math—the so-called STEM fields—but the conversation needs to be elevated to the next level. We saw the start of that today as President Obama spoke at the White House to underscore the absolute importance of supporting the acquisition of STEM skills and by launching National Lab Day to bring teachers and practitioners together.
“When the applause dies down after today’s event, the STEM community will be responsible for keeping the movement going. We need to mobilize people in the computing field to act as mentors and strengthen the STEM education system with rigorous computer science courses. Efforts like National Lab Day, as well as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), which we will celebrate for the first time on December 6-12, 2009, will move ideas into action and keep the importance of STEM education within our nation’s collective conscience.
“The computing community, which represents a vital STEM area, is doing its part to engage people across the country through the ACM-led CSEdWeek (www.csedweek.org). Statistics show that 5 of the top 10 fastest growing jobs will be in computing-related fields, but the number of schools with rigorous high school computing courses fell from 40 percent to 27 percent between 2005 and 2009. It is critical that we draw attention to this troubling trend and lay out the concrete steps necessary to build a stronger program.
“By sharing resources, data, and promising practices, CSEdWeek will make the connection between computing’s significant role in our daily lives—from commerce, to health care, to national security—and why K–12 education needs to provide challenging coursework, professional development, and consistent standards to train the computing innovators of tomorrow.”
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.