Computer Science Education Advocacy
Start where you are!
If you are interested in making sure your school district/state/country counts computer science as a core subject, I recommend starting as close to home as you can. Start with the district you work or live in. There are no magic words, no silver bullet, to making this happen...just people who believe it is the right thing to do for our students.
Steps to Local Change:
- Be able to articulate what you want to have happen. What is the change you are looking for? Be concrete and definitive.
- Find out who the people are who can make the change happen. Who has the decision making power to effect the change you are looking for?
- Find out where they stand on the subject. Do this in a personal conversation, even if you have to make an appointment to do it.
- Plant the seed. This is when you tell them what you would like to see happen and why. Be sure to leave them with something to read (csta.acm.org is full of great PDF's you can print nicely and leave with them).
- If they don't immediately agree with you and become an advocate for the change you are looking for, you will have to water the seed
- Try not to let too much time go by, I generally try to water the seed every 1-2 weeks. E-mail is fine for this. Just send a relevant link that supports your position with a short note.
- At some point, this person is likely to ask to talk to you about the idea. They may be ready to take it to the next step, at which point you want to be sure they are armed with the best and latest data and information.
Don't hesitate to start a grass roots movement in your district. This means talking to your students, their families and even local businesses to generate the pressure the school administration or even school board may need to give your idea a place on the agenda. While data is critical, don't underestimate the power of a moving story. If there is a student in your classes or even an alumni with a powerful story, add that story to the drier (but still important) data.
Read a great article on this topic written by Chris Stephenson and Cameron Wilson!
My Favorite Watering Links
- Code.org talks to Administrators about the importance of Computer Science Education
Video on YouTube
- Computing in the Core
- CSTA is a treasure trove of documents to advocate for CS Education
- NCWIT is another great resource for a wide variety of documents.
- CS Ed Week
- Finally, but perhaps most importantly, keep an eye open for news articles on the topic! Nothing beats a timely magazine or newspaper article!