Creating High School Adjunct Computer Science Teachers

Mark Drapeau (Washington, DC) –

While nearly all aspects of modern life are being influenced by technology, the computer science industry has a dirty little secret. Despite the fact that computer science majors end up with higher lifetime earnings than just about any other major, remarkably few people actually major in computer science.

In numbers: There’s about a million computer specialist jobs out there, but only about 12,000 U.S. computer science graduates a year. It doesn’t take a CS degree to figure out this math — the U.S. can’t meet its own demand for technological experts to actually do the important work that is innovating so much in society. That has numerous implications for American education and our global competitiveness.

Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS, is a new Microsoft program that has been successfully piloted in the Seattle / Puget Sound area. In brief, computer science professionals (developers or other full-time employed people who can program Java, etc.) donate 2-4 mornings a week as adjunct high school teachers and make first period a computer science class in schools that don’t have CS education.

TEALS teachers supplement what’s already happening in schools, are treated like real adjunct instructors, and even get paid a small stipend — but money and resume building isn’t the biggest reason people have been volunteering their time for TEALS in Seattle.

Microsoft’s Kevin Wang is shepherding the TEALS program and he recently visited Washington, DC and northern VA to meet with schools and geeks to look at piloting the program in schools there. While he was in town, he did a nice interview with InTheCapital, where he describes more of the history of TEALS, some of the goals, and how you can get involved if you live near Seattle or DC.

Dr. Mark Drapeau is part of the Microsoft Office of Civic Innovation in Washington, DC.

Pics from 1up and Casper College.

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