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David Rennie
Works at Atlanta Public Schools
Attended Georgia Institute of Technology
Lives in Atlanta,GA


David Rennie

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If High Tech Jobs are going unfilled due to lack of skills, why are we saying educational courses that provide those skills are not "core offerings."

After listening to the news and how there are 14 million job seekers and 3.4 million unfilled jobs (due to "skill gaps") that got me thinking back to a general problem I have with how some courses are not considered "core" offerings in education.

In looking at Georgia, the overall high school diploma "tracks" are College Prep. , General Ed. , and Vocational Tech.  There is little, if any, cross-over between "high tech" courses such as computer programming [beginner through AP level] that are housed in the Vocational Tech. track and the more traditional "high academic" courses housed in the College Prep. track.

If the goal of high school education is to "prepare 21st century learners for success beyond high school," I have to question this divide that has been dropped between these tracks.  I'm not advocating that EVERY vocational tech. course could be considered "core" under academic college prep. work; however, with technology skills becoming more and more important in a workplace that has an increasing "skill gap" landscape I can't help but to advocate more technology-centered courses in schools.

So that led me to look at why Computer Science isn't traditionally counted as a "core" course in high school college prep course work for Georgia.  Basically it boils down to a 2005-2007 study with the Board of Regents.  The board was not sure if the course would count towards "math" or "science" credit.  College Professors more or less said "programming is not chemistry," and at the same time Math Professors said "computing is not calculus/pre-calculus."

This ultimately left "computer science" to be relegated as a "free elective" under the graduation requirements.  Add to this the fact that there is no clear "teacher certification" route other than an "endorsement" in Georgia and two main problems start to become clear:

1) Our system does not allow students to view introductory to advance level work in this subject matter as anything more than "optional elective work"

2) The individuals that qualify to teach this must be "content experts" in some other field and as a secondary thought qualify as "computer science savvy."

Is there something I'm missing here as to why we are moving in this direction?

Is it a bad thing to want a slightly stronger focus on "heavier" technology courses?

Why is education stuck in this "classic categorical box checking" model?
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David Rennie

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A teacher that loves Tech.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    Science, Technology, and Culture, 1998 - 2004
  • Lakeside High School
    Diploma, 1996 - 1998
  • Henderson High School
    1994 - 1996
Basic Information
Teacher and New Teacher Advisor
  • Atlanta Public Schools
    Teacher, 2006 - present
  • Starbucks
    Store Manager, Training Facilitator, 2002 - 2006
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    Teaching Assistant, 1998 - 2004
    Web Content Manager, 1999 - 2001
  • Chick-fil-A
    Crew Supervisor, 1996 - 1999
  • Starbucks
    Barista, 1999 - 2001
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