CHAMPAIGN, Ill., September 16, 2019 (Newswire.com) - The state of Illinois has the potential to be a leader, nationally, in computer science at both higher education and K-12 levels, if plans are approved and implemented for consistent, comprehensive, cutting-edge curriculum and resources.
Currently, across Illinois' 800 school districts access to "authentic" and "pedagogically sound computer science" education is inconsistent. Most districts have neither computer science courses nor qualified teachers to teach them, the Illinois Computer Science Education Task Force, led by then-State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, noted in a 2017 report to the Illinois General Assembly.
The task force's findings and recommendations will be the springboard for discussions at the upcoming Illinois Statewide K-12 Computer Science Education Summit, happening Friday, Sept. 20 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana. Representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education, funding agencies and foundations, industry, higher education, and the state legislature—as well as K-12 educators from around Illinois—are participating in the Summit.
"All stakeholders need an opportunity to be involved in planning, since this is critical to our state's economy and future workforce," says Gabrielle Allen, associate dean for research and research education in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-chair of the Summit's planning committee. "We're now finding ourselves at risk of being behind neighboring states in high school graduates with strong computer science knowledge and skills."
Illinois Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz, President of the U. of I. System Tim Killeen, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones will give opening remarks at the Summit, and Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of AnitaB.org, is the Summit's keynote speaker. Darden Wilkerson founded the original Computer Science for All program, building it into the curriculum for every student in Chicago Public Schools, also serving as the inspiration for the Obama administration's national CS4ALL initiatives.
Registration for the Summit is open, at a cost of $10 (plus a processing fee) per person, at www.ilcsedsummit.org/registration. Visit www.ilcsedsummit.org to view the list of Summit sponsors, including Microsoft, the Illinois Innovation Network, and others, for speaker information, and for the full day's agenda.
Gina Manola, Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source: College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign