December 16, 2019

With Christmas Comes Nostalgia -

Monday, December 9, 2019

November Book Recommendations -

Monday, December 9, 2019

SMHS Mateobotics Gears Up for the Season -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Leap from High School to College Sports -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mateo Comes up Short: 2019 Little Big Game -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Master of Self-Deprecating Humor -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

How Old is “Too Old” for Trick-or-Treating? -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We Need to Get Serious About Shootings -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Boyan Slat Is Helping Solve The Great Pacific Garbage Patch -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Youtube’s Yankovic turned Chinese TikTok Star: Bart Baker -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#TeamTrees -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Varsity Football -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

CA Bill Pushes School Start Times Back -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why the Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pros and Cons of Energy Drinks -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Movies to Watch during Halloween -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bearcats Strike for Climate -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Personal Account On Vaping -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Girls Water Polo Resumes Winning Ways -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Running into the 2019 season -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Computer Science: a Global Perspective

computer-science_girls_getty.jpg-itok=9zjnebKNThough our school’s Computer Science program has made great strides in the past months with the new AP C.S. Program joining the raster of course offerings next year the question remains unanswered: how does our school stand on the global stage? The U.S. has been blessed with a “home team advantage” as the inventors of the internet, this advantage is one that has been squandered through ineptitude and slow-to-act policy makers. As we get back into the “game” of preparation for the cutting edge of tomorrow we are finding a great deal more competition as countries in Latin America, Asia, and Europe have already implemented programs competitive to the ones we are only now starting to consider.

Within our nation, SMHS is doing remarkably well, though it may be a more appropriate analysis to say our nation is fairing remarkably badly. In the United States only about 10% of high schools actually offer computer science which puts SMHS above the somewhat pathetic national average. With the AP Computer Science course here at SMHS alone we will have more students taking the AP Comp Sci exam from SMHS than did last year in the entire state of Montana. These metrics seem to suggest things are looking up for SMHS – we are, at the very least, performing competitively within our own nation. This is, however, not to say that we are competitive at a global level. Objective comparison ranks the United States 21 out of 23 countries in a recent study by Lily Hay Newman for Future Tense at slate.com. This discrepancy between our self image as the “high and mighty” inventors of the internet and the reality that we have grown lax is a clear sign of the very real problem that we are facing.

Though AP Computer Science is a step forward, and a major part of the battle for computer science education, it is not the only step needed and it is far from a solution. Elective courses such as AP Comp Sci are analogous to plugging a dike: they fill the deficit for those passionate about computer science, but they fail to provide the core computer science background and resources needed to make Comp Sci a major part of a student’s education. Through we are making progress with introducing Comp Sci to schools across the nation, we are seeing another troublesome discrepancy arise: the race and gender gap. The majority of students taking AP Comp Sci are white or asian males often with parents involved in the tech industry. For students without a sound foundation in computer technology a course like AP Comp Sci can prove to be almost impossible. The trends we are seeing today suggest that, relative to countries that provide AP Comp Sci courses spread out over a few years, the united states is seeing a vast majority of students with previous introduction to computer science and these students are, unfortunately, typically white or asian males. To really see an effective increase in computer science education we must introduce students to comp sci earlier on and more accessibly. Just as we don’t immediately tell first graders to start typing a paper, we first teach them to type, we can’t expect students to immediately start learning to program before they really understand what programming is.

Though SMHS’s ability to make a real impact is limited by it’s position as a single public school it can have some impact on these discouraging trends. It can offer multiple levels of computer science, even something as simple as providing a cp alternative for students who might be discouraged by the time investment and difficulty of AP level. SMHS can also provide related cross disciplinary courses such as robotics which merge algorithmic thinking and engineering concepts. Though the real power to make the reforms needed for our country to compete lie with the federal and state governments there are still measures we can take to make a difference at a local level.

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