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ACM, CSTA Issue Statement on Next Generation Science Standards Draft

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Virginia Gold

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WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 16, 2012 - The first public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards provides a valuable step in the collaborative, state-led effort to rethink, update, and reinvent how core scientific ideas and practices are taught to U.S. students from kindergarten to high school. The proposed changes for modernizing science education will encourage students to use computer-based modeling and simulations for generating and analyzing scientific data.

Although the proposed standards represent a positive step, ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) are concerned that they will require students to use computer science principles but will fail to teach them an understanding of those principles. Given the growing importance of computer science to the broader science field, ACM and CSTA urge the adoption of computer science as a core part of science standards, curricula, and assessments.

"A fundamental understanding of computation and computer science is critical to success in the digital age," said Bobby Schnabel, Chair of ACM's Education Policy Committee and Dean of Informatics at Indiana University. "It is a vital problem-solving discipline that students will need for their careers as well as their lives."

Chris Stephenson, Director of CSTA, agreed that computer science plays a significant role in the digital age. "Policymakers need to understand that computer science is part of 21st-century STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education], and that it is essential for scientific, economic, and social reasons."

In the coming decade, computing will continue to drive scientific discovery, innovation, and jobs across the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computing occupations are projected to be among the 10 fastest growing major professions in the United States, outpacing overall job growth in the economy. New national science standards that embrace computer science as part of the core curriculum will open the door to high-quality employment opportunities for students, and help ensure a bright future for America’s leadership in the global economy.

ACM and CSTA will continue to track progress towards the final standards document. All interested stakeholders are invited to read the draft Next Generation Science Standards, and provide comment by June 1, 2012.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, 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.

About CSTA
CSTA, the Computer Science Teachers Association, is a professional membership organization of more than 11,000 educators that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. CSTA provides opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn.

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