America’s Schools are Profoundly Unequal! A Whole lot of Education Information


15421006_10154621210371327_254228138370067503_nHave you seen?

The report on Unequal Schools from the Civil Rights Commission

“The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation’s public schools.”

So begins a list of recommendations released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Thursday’s report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America’s schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren’t getting the resources they say they need.

The 150-page report, titled “Public Education Funding Inequity: In An Era Of Increasing Concentration Of Poverty and Resegregation,” reads like a footnoted walking tour through the many ways America’s education system fails vulnerable students — beginning with neighborhood schools that remain deeply segregated and continuing into classrooms where too many students lack access to skilled teachers, rigorous courses and equitable school funding.

“This report excavates the enduring truism that American public schooling is, and has been, profoundly unequal in the opportunity delivered to students, the dollars spent to educate students, and the determinations of which students are educated together,” writes the commission’s chair, Catherine Lhamon.

History lesson

The first two-thirds of the commission’s report is essentially a history lesson on the decades-old fight over equitable school funding, so we’ll start there, too. The fight arguably began in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education and the Supreme Court’s decision that “separate but equal” schools for black and white students were anything but equal.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson waded into the debate, arguing that the federal government should send money to school districts that serve low-income families. Congress agreed, creating Title I. In the 2014-15 school year, states received more than $14 billion in Title I money.

To this day, though, states are all over the map when it comes to how equitably they spend their own money in schools. The problem was baked into the system from the beginning, with local property taxes being an important driver of both school funding and of inequities in school funding.

“This is America,” writes Karen Narasaki, a member of the commission. “Every child deserves a quality education that does not depend on their ZIP code.”

To make that happen — many states now use state tax revenue to try to even out those local imbalances, some more effectively than others.

We are a  ‘Nation of Opportunity, and the present time points us toward the future.

There are groups that hope to change the way we learn by mentoring, by sharing, by participatory involvement at national, regional and local levels. School boards are often the passport to change. The National Science Foundation funds innovation and research.

Communities within groups like ISTE and CoSN help to drive change.They publish guides like

No Fear Coding

Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum

he people most affected by the inequality may not be a member or these groups trying to help them.

CoSN the Consortium for School Networking has action for members and reports such as this as well. AccessibilityToolkit.  

CoSn also publishes the Horizon Report on an annual basis.

NMC Horizon Report 

2017 Higher Education Edition

The NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). This 14th edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of universities and colleges. The three key sections of this report constitute a reference and straightforward technology-planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists. It is our hope that this research will help to inform the choices that institutions are making about technology to improve, support, or extend teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education across the globe. All of the topics were selected by an expert panel that represented a range of backgrounds and perspectives. View the work that produced the report on the official project wiki.
CIRCL  takes us into the future using Cyberlearning.

New to Cyberlearning? Get started here.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

  • Applying scientific insights about how people learn
  • Leveraging emerging technologies
  • Designing transformative learning activities
  • Engaging teachers and other practitioners
  • Measuring deeper learning outcomes
  • Emphasizing continuous improvement


I am a pioneer in technology and use these sites to keep up. What do you and your communities use?

                                              What about ACCESS?

While the nation continues to make progress in broadband deployment, many Americans still lack access to advanced, high-quality voice, data, graphics and video offerings, especially in rural areas and on Tribal lands, according to the 2016 Broadband Progress Report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission.

Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and to take “immediate action” if it is not.  Congress defined advanced telecommunications capability as “high-quality” capability that allow users to “originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video” services.

In the Report, the Commission determines that advanced telecommunications requires access to both fixed and mobile broadband services because more Americans use mobile services and devices to access the Internet for activities like navigation, communicating with family and friends and on social media, and receiving timely news updates away from home.  The Commission also retains the existing speed benchmark of 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps) for fixed services, but finds that the current record is insufficient to set an appropriate speed benchmark for mobile service.

While the Commission finds that it is reasonable to apply the same speed benchmarks to all fixed services, including fixed terrestrial and fixed satellite broadband service, the Commission continues to observe different technical capabilities and adoption patterns between fixed terrestrial and fixed satellite service.  Because no fixed satellite broadband service meets the 25 Mbps/3Mbps speed threshold as of the reporting period, the Report does not address the question of whether fixed satellite broadband services meeting this speed threshold would be considered to provide advanced telecommunications capability.

Significant progress in broadband deployment has been made, due in part to the Commission’s action to support broadband such as through its Universal Service programs. However, the Commission finds that these advances are not enough to ensure that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way.

Key findings include the following:

  • 10 percent of all Americans (34 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service.
  • 39 percent of rural Americans (23 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps.
    • By contrast, only 4 percent of urban Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.
    • The availability of fixed terrestrial services in rural America continues to lag behind urban America at all speeds:  20 percent lack access even to service at 4 Mbps/1 Mbps, down only 1 percent from 2011, and 31 percent lack access to 10 Mbps/1 Mbps, down only 4 percent from 2011.
  • 41 percent of Americans living on Tribal lands (1.6 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband
    • 68 percent living in rural areas of Tribal lands (1.3 million people) lack access.
  • 66 percent of Americans living in U.S. territories (2.6 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.
    • 98 percent of those living in rural territorial areas (1.1 million people) lack access.
  • Americans living in rural and urban areas adopt broadband at similar rates where 25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps service is available, 28 percent in rural areas and 30 percent in urban areas.
  • While an increasing number of schools have high-speed connections, approximately 41 percent of schools, representing 47 percent of the nation’s students, lack the connectivity to meet the Commission’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff.

This Report concludes that more work needs to be done by the private and public sectors to expand robust broadband to all Americans in a timely way.  The FCC will continue working to accelerate broadband deployment and to remove barriers to infrastructure investment, in part by direct subsidies, and in part by identifying and helping to reduce potential obstacles to deployment, competition, and adop

What about the use of the Internet in Rural Areas?

President Donald J. Trump signed on Monday two orders aimed at improving internet speeds in some of the country’s hardest-to-connect areas, a move he described as “the first step to expand access to broadband internet in rural America.”

The first executive order aims to make it easier for internet service providers to locate broadband infrastructure on federal land and buildings in rural parts of the country. The order notes that one of the consequences of slow, expensive internet service is that it hinders schools’ ability to “enrich student learning with digital tools.”

I found these items after a long search. Many of these articles are lost to parents, communities and interested advocates. The news is full of other things. Maybe these groups have to advocate for education as the press does not usually share important information, like the Horizon Report, and ISTE Standards.



Parents and communities often have their own definition of what works in education and they may not be up to date on the reality of change within education. This report from the Civil Rights Commission probably is not seen by those without access to computers and technology.

An illustration picture shows projection of binary code on man holding aptop computer in Warsaw

An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer, in an office in Warsaw June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

What do you know about Schools and the use of technology?What you know might be gated by the school or community in which you live and learn.

This is a briefing that should be shared by schools, parents, communities and school boards. Education-Inequity.pdf.


There are a lot of people who do not have a problem with screen time. They have little access to technology. A new group is looking to find a way to use CRA funding to help the communities most impacted by lack of connectivity.

There are a lot of people who have a screen or two, but who do not use the technology effectively.

Sometimes there are programs funded within a community by groups trying to erase the digital divide.  HUD has a program that is supposed to help make the change. Connect Home.  What might be a group within your community that is trying to solve the problem?

Connect Home is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing.

Connect Home creates a platform for community leaders, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private industry to join together and produce locally-tailored solutions for narrowing the digital divide. Through these stakeholders’ specific commitments to provide free or low-cost broadband access, devices, and digital literacy training, Connect Home extends affordable access to low-income families, ensuring that high-speed Internet follows our children from their classrooms back to their homes.

                                     How Connected is Your Community?

Here is a map to check your connectivity.

How are You Connected? ACCESS MAP



STEM? There are free resources at

Groundbreaking and deeply digital learning
In recent months the use of technology has helped us to see disasters and to use big data to visualize.

This is an ESRI Story map of the recent weather event in the US.

Does your educational community take advantage of free resources, mentoring to schools and teachers in the ESRI Space?

What Can We Learn about the World using GIS?

There are free online mapping resources for schools.



Broadening Engagement, Howard West!!

The story of this project was hidden in the political machinations going forward in Black History Month.


Action speaks louder than words.

I am one of several people who have been involved in actions with those working in social justice and digital equity to do Broadening Engagement that will help to change the face of computing.

This is ideational scaffolding and a dream come true for us who worried about ways to get HBCU’s and other minority serving institutions involved in significant ways in the technology world. For us the Google project is a dream come true.

They said

“We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind—to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise.”


Google Finds a Way!!

Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Google has partnered with Howard University to offer black software engineers a chance to learn from a new program called “Howard West”.

The Problem?The goal of the Broader Engagement (BE) program is to increase the participation of individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in high performance computing (HPC), including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and other underrepresented groups around the world, as well as women and people with disabilities.

In Supercomputing the conferences ,the program offers special activities to engage and support a diverse community of experts, newcomers and learners in the conference and in HPC.The BE program had several educational, networking and informational sessions . For many of us, the SC Conference was the only invitation to participate that was well known.

Google sidesteps the usual with a pilot project. Howard West  It’s exciting!!

Here is how it will work.

The first 12-week batch consisting of 25 to 30 juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science program will commence this summer with numbers expected to increase in future semesters.

Candidates have to apply and get accepted to the program, following which they will receive stipend and school credits.

Howard targets 740 students within the next five years. The broader plan is to extend the program to other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) going forward.

Here is how it is reported in Atlanta Black Star and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

In a push to encourage diversity in the tech world, Google announced Thursday that it was opening a campus for students from Howard University —a historically black college and university (HBCU) — to immerse themselves in the world of coding and engineering at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

The outpost, called “Howard West,” invites rising junior and senior computer science majors to Mountain View, California, for a three-month program where they will work with black Google tech employees, take computer science classes and indulge in Google’s famous perks, such as free food. * The reporter may not have been involved in any of Google’s programs. Food is just a very small part of the amenities.

Tuition will be paid in full by private donors and the university. The students will will receive a summer stipend, and their housing costs will be covered.

The new program launches this summer with a group of 25 computer science majors from Howard.

In addition to expanding the program to other HBCUs in the future, Howard University president Wayne Frederick hopes to retain students in the field who may not have the financial means to continue their studies.

According to the company’s 2016 diversity index, black employees account for just 1 percent of Google’s technology employees and only 2 percent of its overall employees.

Extension of Google’s Residence Program

With the Howard West program, Google is extending its Google in Residence (GIR) program. Under GIR, Google engineers teach on-job skills to students of Howard University and other HBCUs at their own campuses. With more than one third of America’s black computer sciences graduates coming from HBCUs, Google has been partnering with Howard and other HBCUs through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that places Google engineers as faculty at HBCUs. ( Historic Black Colleges and Universities.

The Howard West program will do the same at Google’s Mountain View, CA campus and its teachers include Google engineers and Howard University faculty.



Google Aims at Workplace Diversity with Howard West Program

Howard University opens a new campus at the Googleplex ( Google Blog)

Reaching the Hidden Audiences and Missing in Technology ( What can we do for Broader Engagement?)

There are so many “hidden audiences” . There are great “hidden mentors “who try to create the possibilities that were put forth when technology was beginning in the US for our citizens.There are some outreach groups that furnish low cost technologies, but communities do not always know how to embrace and take advantage of these opportunities.

There are organizations and institutions trying to fill the gap, to share information and to provide mentoring. Visual examples of minorities such as Mila Fuller in ISTE also show that when the resources and initiatives are given to professionals, they thrive and can provide leadership.ISTE

Some very positive examples of people sharing ideas are in Ed Tech,and there are many teacher/technology leaders.

Sadly , there is a digital divide in teachers with the most need,being able to be involved with some of the groups, so the groups  have done extensive online outreach to try to bridge the gap. ESRI has major online initiatives and free software for teachers and schools.

We have not met the goals of the “Super Information Highway” .

Many have not even achieved access and now the FCC has changed its mind about assisting with the Lifelong Initiative. I have been working in support of community technology. Dr. Kevin Clark’s work and the early work of the George Lucas Education Society are there to connect with and to give examples.

Some work from their center.

“Following the belief that diversity breeds innovation in scientific endeavors, there is a national push for more diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce in order to maintain national economic competitiveness. Currently, STEM-related employment is only 28% non-White; however, greater efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities should increase this figure. Amidst the attention given to supporting “leaky pipelines,” less emphasis has been placed on mitigating challenges associated with bringing diverse cultures together. This article presents a framework for supporting underrepresented minorities in building STEM-relevant skills and enhancing their ability to collaborate with peers different from themselves.”

People no longer use the term as those who are online may have forgotten that there are tribal, rural, distant,poor and urban populations who are not enjoying the uses of technology.



I am grateful for the leadership of those people who can show that we who are minorities can excel and give examples of achievement that we are ” A Nation of Opportunity”.

Long ago , when technology first entered the educational stage many of us who were making decisions about the way that technology would be used shared some ideas.

We were a diverse group of people, both Republican and Democratic, and we had these goals.

  1. By providing people of all ages with opportunities for lifelong learning and workplace skills development, the “Information Superhighway”should enhance each individual’s ability to create and share knowledge and to participate in electronic commerce.

We had hoped as we stated :

By the year 2000, all communities and people should have convenient access to information and learning resources available through the Information Superhighway, in their schools, colleges, universities, libraries and other community-oriented institutions.

  • 14883499_10154516710621327_6228387540186774205_oIt is way past the year 2000. If you look around in your community, who is online and who is not? Who is meaningfully on line ? Who is coding, who is keyboarding while we in technology have moved on to new ways of working and new technologies.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyber-learning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

Applying scientific insights about how people learn
Leveraging emerging technologies
Designing transformative learning activities
Engaging teachers and other practitioners
Measuring deeper learning outcomes
Emphasizing continuous improvement

The Center for Cyberlearning enables ongoing learning through cooperation, broadening engagement and examples of practices .

Many are still waiting for the initial learning and scaffolding and it seems that the people with the most needs are being left behind. There is a way that teachers can embrace the new learning, though that may not give them the technology,the practice and the skills they need.

SITE2011 105

3. Education, training and lifelong learning resources , important parts of the Information Superhighway, should be of world-class quality and the diversity of these resources should be broad enough to meet the full spectrum of society’s interests.

4. Individuals and their communities should be empowered to help shape the evolution of the Information Superhighway and help to decide how information resources best meet their learning needs.

IMG_0078The empowerment of the groups that are being left behind are addressed by leadership initiatives, such as that lead by Dr. Paul Resta and Dr. Robert McLaughlin.


Their Goals:
Help high poverty communities mobilize for sustained systemic digital equity action.
Help states to mobilize sustained digital equity initiatives.
Infuse digital equity issues and strategies into educator preparation.
Provide research and evaluation to identify best practices in digital equity that lead to educational and economic impacts.
Provide technical assistance to digital equity resource providers.
Advise digital equity investors on why and how to design efforts that are systemic so they have genuine impacts on educational and economic opportunity.

There are also pointed initiatives in STEM that seem to be unknown in many rural, distant, urban, tribal and needy communities. The reason that many cannot take advantage of opportunities is that the computers they need are also needed to complete testing in the schools.

After school does not have that problem, but they also sometimes do not have the time with participants to create meaningful uses of technology. I was so excited to see that Rafranz Davis was able to explore this technology with her students. I am learning hard lessons in after school.

Funding is? well a problem.


The children that I work with in the shadow of the capital can tell me that they play games on the computer but, can’t name the games. Many of the older students superficially use the Internet.. They use their phones, but not necessarily for the purposes that we may want. We don’t get a change to talk meaningfully about Cyber-bullying  and online safety.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

ISTE has a wonderful template of the digital age learner. It works for those students lucky enough to be in the right environment, the right school, and with a teacher who is looking toward the future with academic support of new technology.

standards-poster-500full Here is the template. It is gorgeous. Get it for your school, for your community and for those who are interested in helping to create digital age learners.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.

This is an amazing document that should be shared and given to school boards, community activist, informal education teachers, and parents. I have a powerpoint that explains all of these. How do we make the change to help “all students ” to have these skills and qualities?

Many schools and communities are  in denial about their state of technology . I live in Washington DC, and I heard the CTO of the city say that all of our students are being well served. This was at an IoT conference with global citizens. I didn’t know what to do or say. I assume that what she said , is what she was told by the school system in DC.

We the people, we the public, we the teachers need to be confrontational about the lack of those who are digitally denied.

We the teachers ,need to be educated toward the transformative policies that ISTE has shared. There are too many people who misunderstand. They think that all students are being well served.

On December 13, Free Press published Digital Denied: The Impact of Systemic Racial Discrimination on Home-Internet Adoption. The report, written by Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, examines the racial divide in home-internet adoption and exposes how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Below is an edited summary of the report written by Dana Floberg — Free Press’ C. Edwin Baker fellow — and reprinted with permission.

Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color.

Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Free Press research exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it.

Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.


Income differences explain some of the racial divide, but not all of it.

U.S. Census data on income and internet adoption paint a clear picture:

  • 49 percent of households with incomes below $20,000 have wired or wireless internet, but nearly 90 percent of households with incomes above $100,000 do.
  • 81 percent of Whites have home-internet access, compared to 70 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of Blacks.

Free Press’ report demonstrates that the racial-adoption gap persists even after we account for differences in income and a host of other demographic factors. For example, there is a divide between people who are in the same income brackets but in different racial or ethnic groups. The gap is widest for people earning less than $20,000: Fifty-eight percent of Whites in this group have some form of home internet, compared to just 51 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Blacks.web_header_3

There is research that tells us how to reach and teach the students. It is here.

There are students who are of tribal, rural, distant and urban areas who are affected. They are all kinds and all colors. Years ago, when the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council formed policy ( Kickstart) we acknowledged these areas of difficulty and sought to solve the problems. Politics has gotten in the way sometimes.

There are other sources , such as that of the George Lucas Educational Foundation that give examples of what helps and what hinders. Here is a special set of blogs on the topic.

Research and templates inform. We the public need to hold the school systems and communities to the standards so that all children benefit from the uses and skills enabling them to be digital citizens . But parents may not know or understand the uses of technology well.

Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to school communities to empower students to harness technology for learning and life.They just published a report “The Digital Lives of Minority Youth”. But this report, The Common Sense Census Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 matches nicely with the ISTE report.
Plan of Action?
Print out the template and take it to the next PTA meeting. Share copies of it with parents and have a speaker to access it online. Have a discussion about it and plan action for your school and community.
See if your school has an ISTE member. ISTE has a conference where these types of action and study of the topic is a part of how they serve their members. Hopefully, the school will sponsor a teacher to attend and be a part of ISTE and other technology minded groups. There are also state groups and regional groups that help in outreach.
Is there a low-cost provider who serves your community? If so get some community people working to help them with outreach. Make sure that the provider meets the needs of the community. There are many ways to do this.
 Query the school board and if possible involve people in a presentation about this topic. Use resources that fit your community.

Creating Opportunity for All

 CS is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. By some estimates, just one quarter of all the K-12 schools in the United States offer CS with programming and coding, and only 28 states allow CS courses to count towards high-school graduation, even as other advanced economies are making CS available for all of their students. The White House aims to change that. There is a new initiative.


The Opportunity

Providing access to CS is a critical step for ensuring that our nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in CS-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. CS is not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.

How Do We Prepare Students? Teachers ? The Community?

One of the problems is the lack of access, interest and the knowledge of computational thinking and learning and math. There also has been a limited supply of well trained teachers for all. Most of us are aware that there are teachers in rural, urban, tribal, minority based poor communities who don’t have a computer teacher anywhere near a school. There may be teachers who are available in after school program. The Coding week also gives some impetus to making a change but sadly , it may be only for that week. It is an excellent start. It is a way to get things rolling.

Computational thinking and cyber learning and math… we must start at the lower levels to be able to graduate those with the skills that they will need to meet a high school computer teacher.

Coding?Coding in the Classroom: What is Coding and Why is it so Important?


Computational Thinking?
“Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent.”

Cuny, Snyder, Wing

Say it again? What was that?

Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world.

Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively.

Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.

Computational thinking means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons.


There have been people working in this field for a very long time with limited success.  One must thank people like Henry Neeman, R.N. Panoff , and those who sought to broaden engagement to all with limited resources. Scott Lathrop has certainly impacted broadening engagement.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement being led by parents, teachers, states, districts, and the private sector to expand CS education. The President’s Computer Science for All Initiative builds on these efforts by:

Providing $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming Budget to increase access to K-12 CS by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. The funding will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on CS courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality CS learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities.
Starting the effort this year, with more than $135 million in investments by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support and train CS teachers, who are the most critical ingredient to offering CS education in schools. The agencies will make these investments over five years using existing funds.


Early exposure and interest

Calling on even more Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved. Today, Delaware, Hawaii and more than 30 school districts are committing to expand CS opportunities; Cartoon Network, Google and are announcing more than $60 million in new philanthropic investments, and Microsoft is announcing a fifty-state campaign to expand CS; and is announcing plans to offer CS training to an additional 25,000 teachers this year.

We still need parents and the communities to grasp the important of this project and to sign on. The initiatives mean nothing if schools don’t step up to the challenge. Has your school accepted Connect.Ed?IMG_0078

Invisible Students


Students at SITE

This article made me think of all of the people in education who have muted voices or no voices at all. It is probably because they don’t have technology, training, money, or time to make the difference that students need. They also can’t answer the experts , or share their sorrows in education. I think of them often. When I propose a workshop or a symposium, people start to tell me about the latest , hottest trend in education. Invisible students and teachers have no power. Even visible bad assed teachers can be shut out of the conversation and shut up.

Why are teachers cloaked in invisibility? Perhaps because we only ask the professors about research and not the working teachers. There are teachers and students in the world, in the US who are still not connected, and the way to get connected in their communities is difficult to find. We talk about the Internet of Things, and they have hardly the understanding of the uses of technology that are beneficial to them. I was told that sponsors don’t really care about digital equity, I don’t believe that.

I think it is difficult to walk in the shoes of those who work in rural, distant, urban, multilingual , and minority areas, but the work is necessary to lift all boats.


The public perception of the job is one thing. Being a good teacher is hard work.

The recent onslaught of attacks on teachers makes some of us like turtles. We withdraw and do our magic in the classroom as we can with what we have. The attacks make us insecure, and gives us feelings of unworthiness, sadness. Joy in the eyes of a child helps to take away the pain, or the discovery that some foundation, some credible agency understands how you feel makes for a quiet smile.

I like it that Richard Cullatta resigned and was not shy in his parting shots. The article is one that most people will never see or understand. But we in tribal. rural, distant, urban, and poor, the communities of those without the access, resources, savvy grant writers, technology trained teachers, and community support know exactly what he is talking about.

In his final public remarks as director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, Richard Cullatta had a few requests.

Please don’t scan in the same old worksheets.

Please don’t record boring lectures and put them online.

Please don’t forget the needs of low-income and minority students, many of whom don’t have easy access to digital devices, speedy Internet service and advanced classes in computer science.

*I would add please don’t forget that there are many students with reading difficulty  who think problem solving is a pain.

Culatta delivered his plea last week at National Education Week, an annual conference that was held this year at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The outgoing federal leader spoke on a panel about teaching coding in schools, and he used most of his time in the spotlight to talk about equality. We must ensure that the rapid march of innovation does not leave certain groups of people behind, Culatta said.

He said    ‘Women and minorities are underrepresented in computer science courses in high school and college. For instance, girls make up 56 percent of all test-takers in Advanced Placement courses, but just 18 percent of students taking computer science tests, Culatta said. It doesn’t get much better in college, where women make up about 57 percent of all undergraduates, but just 14 percent of them major in computer science. ‘

“And the inequality is even more stunning for people of color. In 12 states, zero students of color took the computer science Advanced Placement exam, Culatta said. And a mere 10 percent of people majoring in computer science are black.

“That’s an incredible problem that we need to solve,” Culatta said.

There are a lot of us who are not computer science teachers. But we have had support from the Supercomputing Conference which had an education section and we learned what we could in that precious space. For a while we also learned in the conference and at  Then I had a remarkable experience in the Atlas Institute , learning with Dr. Alex Repenning. We were learning scalable game design. He knows how to teach teachers who are NOT computer science teachers.  ”

Sadly in the infrastructure of boards, and meetings , and groups who decide what goes on in education and who present in education we are an invisible force if present at all in the education  groups.



IMG_0078I learned as many others did at NASA, with the National Geographic Education Institute and alliances, with Earthwatch and the Jason Project. We teachers got to meet  Bob Ballard, Bill Nye, and a number of astronauts and scientists .


I had the power of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. When people were talking about Star Wars , they did not know that Edutopia is and has been a force in education for all.

We teachers also had the power of the NEA and its advocacies for diversity. McAuliffe, selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in NASA’s The Teacher in Space Project, had made plans to provide lessons from the shuttle on the benefits of space travel. Christa McAuliffe was a gifted social science teacher who was dedicated to her students and to the teaching profession.


Many of the projects in coding are absolutely wonderful. I loved weaving the Star Wars coding with reading of the books, and sharing science fiction, and NASA photographs and  art and the movies in a mashup that few children could not be attracted to.

I am pretty savvy, so I did not even break a sweat. I walked into a lab and sat down with children I had never seen. We had a great time coding. We did not limit our time to an hour. We did various things in about 4 hours, and the kids wanted to stay longer.

*I am not in a classroom because I am a very experienced in technology and was asked to leave or give up technology during NCLB. So I left and became a consultant.


And then there is Cyberlearning.   But, but.. without regular access how do we develop the skills, and deep learning. How sad it must be to understand the Internet of  Things and to not have a learning landscape that is even good access.

surface teacher





Some of the teachers need their job so badly that they just go with the flow no matter how terrible it is. It is taken for granted that the experts in the silos of higher ed know the answers. Well, some of those experts are very isolated from the people who really teach.