USA Needs Better Tech Ed for Kids, Says Cornell Expert Diane Levitt

Posted in Web Extras

That’s Diane Levitt, Director of K-12 Education for Cornell NYC Tech, as she spoke Monday evening (July 28) to the Cornell Community and Construction Task Force.  Jane Swanson, who runs those committee meetings, described her as “a real superstar – and we’re thrilled to have her.”  She came from Belkin, a well-known tech company.

The text of Levitt’s talk, with supporting slides, is available here.

Levitt is working with PS/IS 217 and a dozen other schools to develop and test curriculum in computer science.  Her mission relates to the country’s need to deal with a shortfall in computer science talent that has led, in part, to the export of a lot of tech work that could be done domestically.  Only about a third of the U.S. jobs in computer science are represented by a student enrolled in some related college curriculum; a shortfall is inevitable.

Levitt points out that Advanced Placement examinations in computer science is offered by only 10% of the schools in the United States.  In 2012, about 440,000 students took such exams in U.S. history, but only 10,000 took them in computer science.  And, she added, “There are more jobs in computers than there are in history.”

Other notable quotes that accompany Levitt’s presentation now online here:

  • “We don’t give [kids] the tools to innovate.  Students crave relevancy.  By ignoring technology, we miss the opportunity to give them something that will connect them to school.”
  • “Across the board, minorities, including women, are in the tech force at half the rate they are in the workforce in general.”
  • “We must all get to the place where we understand the basics of computing.”
  • “We are going to change this part of their education from listening to doing.”
  • “Connection to K-12 education is core to our mission.”

 

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