Home > Uncategorized > Good Luck, Mayor de Blasio, On Getting Computer Courses in Place

Good Luck, Mayor de Blasio, On Getting Computer Courses in Place

Today’s NYTimes has an article describing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to offer computer science to all students in NYC schools. Based on my experience, the mayor faces a daunting challenge.

I taught computer science in a Philadelphia public junior high school in 1971-72. I had 30-36 students in my classroom which was located across the hall from a storage closet that had a terminal connected to a mainframe “downtown”. My “training”? I had one course in Fortran in college in 1967— which made me the most qualified teacher on the staff. Here’s what I observed: computer science was unimportant to kids who were fearful of being jumped by a gang on the way home or worried about where there next meal was coming from or had no adult at home during the evening because of their parents’ work schedule. Moreover, these kids would never be able to lay their hands on a computer anywhere outside of the closet across the hall from my classroom.

My conclusion: in order for the mayor to be successful in this endeavor he needs to continue pushing for the anti-poverty measures he is advocating and he needs to make sure that when the kids leave school they will all have the same access to high-speed connectivity and up-to-date technology. I wish him well… and hope he succeeds!

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