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Opinion: Focus on Core Skills More Important for Preparedness than Emphasizing Tech Buzzwords

Opinion: Focus on Core Skills More Important for Preparedness than Emphasizing Tech Buzzwords

Mareesa Nicosiaeducation news site, the Seventy Four, understands the importance of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to computer science education, but argues that another proposal the mayor made during his announcement concerning educating core skills was alarmingly overlooked.

"Technology and computer science are key buzzwords in 21st century education discussions, but recent research suggests that shoring up core traditional skills for younger learners can have a far more profound impact on preparedness for a digital world," she said.

And while de Blasio did have a major announcement with his commitment to computer science education and his plan to train 5,000 teachers in the subject, he also announced that within three years, 700 reading specialists will enter neighborhood schools.

Nicosia references a report from the Organization for Economic Collaboration and Development (OECD) that found that focusing on basic math and reading skills was more important to student achievement than investing in computers and other technology within schools. The report found that investment in computers had virtually no detectable effect on student achievement in schools.

But because computer science and technology have become big buzzwords in 21st century education, a phenomenon helped by the support of big names such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook, Nicosia argues that de Blasio's important plans for increasing literacy went largely ignored.

"Literacy, however, was trumped in a big way by de Blasio’s focus on computer science. Topping his to-do list of learning milestones to be achieved in the next decade (literacy for all, algebra for all, college access for all, Advanced Placement classes for all … ) was the $81 million plan to bring computer science education to every school," she said.

Read her full argument here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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