"In a widely-reprinted essay, Ohio State University assistant professor of physics Chris Orban ponders whether the tech world did students a favor or disservice by getting states to count computer science as high school math credit," writes long-time Slashdot reader theodp.
The assistant physics professor writes:
In 2013, a who's who of the tech world came together to launch a new nonprofit called Code.org. The purpose of the organization was to get more computer science into schools. Billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates donated millions of dollars to the group. According to the organization's last annual report...$6.9 million went to advocate for state legislation across the country. As part of the organization's mission to "make computer science count" in K-12 education, code.org takes credit for having influenced graduation policies in 42 states. Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia allow computer science classes to count in place of math classes like Algebra 2.
Prior to the organization's work, only a few states allowed computer science to count for math credit. In addition, 29 states passed legislation allowing computer science to count in place of a science course. When computer science begins to count as math or science, it makes sense to ask if these changes are helping America's students or hurting them...
I worry that students may take computer science just to avoid the more difficult math and science courses they need for college. Computer science could be a way for students to circumvent graduation requirements while adults look the other way....
Computer science advocates have created a kind of national experiment. The next few years will show if this was a good idea, but only if we're looking at more than just the numbers of students taking computer science.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.