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Does Google Have Too Much Influence Over K-12 CS Education?

theodp (442580) writes | about three weeks ago

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theodp (442580) writes "Google's recently announced Global Impact Awards for Computer Science, part of the company's $50 million investment to get girls to code (on top of an earlier $40 million), are unsurprisingly very girl-friendly. Google's award for Promoting Introductory Computer Science for All, for instance, sets aside $1,000,000 for DonorsChoose credits that girls who complete Codecademy and Khan Academy online programming tutorials can use to fund up to $4,000 or so of their teachers' projects. In addition to learning a new skill, Google notes that girls in the program will be able to make-like-Don-Draper and remind teachers and boys who bought them all their nice things: "They can also point around their classroom at exciting new materials and say, 'I earned that for our class by learning to code.'" But Google's influence over K-12 CS education doesn't stop there. The Sun-Times reports that Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers are participating in a summer professional development program hosted by Google as part of the district's efforts to "saturate" schools with CS within 3 years: "The launch of CS4All [Computer Science for All], in partnership with Code.org and supported by Google, starts this fall in 60 CPS schools to try to bridge the digital divide and prepare students." And in two weeks, CSTA [Computer Science Teachers Association] and Google will be presenting the National Computer Science Principles Education Summit. "Attendees at this event have been selected through a rigorous application process that will result in more than 70 educators and administrators working together to strategize about getting this new Advanced Placement course implemented in schools across the country," explains CSTA, whose long-term Executive Director joined Google in June. The ACM, NSF, Google, CSTA, Microsoft, and NCWIT worked together in the past "to provide a wide range of information and guidance that would inform and shape CS education efforts," according to the University of Chicago, which notes it's now conducting a follow-up NSF-funded study — Barriers and Supports to Implementing Computer Science — that's advised by CPS, CSTA, and Code.org. The U of C recently received another NSF grant to facilitate the rapid expansion of CS K-12 education, seeking to capitalize on "an unprecedented time for the computer science education field as funding, public awareness, and employment needs are all merging for potentially coordinated support.""

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