Computer technology may drive the U.S. economy, but computer science education is absent in most American K-12 classrooms, according to a report by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Computer Science Teachers Association.
"Some states and some schools are offering some really excellent courses. But overall, the picture is pretty bleak," said report co-author Mark Stehlik, assistant dean at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, last month.
The number of secondary schools offering introductory computer science courses dropped 17% from 2005 to 2009, and the number offering Advanced Placement computer science courses dropped 35% in that time period, the study found.
Federal initiatives such as No Child Left Behind and programs designed to boost science and math education have had the unintended consequence of undermining computer science programs, the report noted. Schools have responded to those initiatives by focusing on traditional science and math courses that are covered by achievement tests or are core requirements for high school graduation. Only nine states count computer science credits toward graduation requirements.