News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

LAUSD part of President Obama's educational plan for computer science




 In this Feb. 5, 2007 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles in this office in Palo Alto, Calif.
In this Feb. 5, 2007 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles in this office in Palo Alto, Calif.
PAUL SAKUMA

Listen to story

07:22
Download this story 3.0MB

Though technology is increasingly becoming an everyday part of life, it’s uncommon to hear about technology being an academic subject. But the White House hopes to change that.

The Obama Administration has announced that seven of the nation’s largest school districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, would begin offering introductory computer science classes to all of their students. President Obama is the first sitting president to implement such a pilot program.

But Patricia Burch of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California says that there is a larger picture in play.

"We know that this is where the jobs are now and in the future. We know that minorities, women are underrepresented in technology jobs, we know the kids are asking for this," said Burch

With LAUSD's botched iPad program still fresh, it raises the question of how well-prepared the district is to implement this new curriculum.

"A curriculum like this takes an infrastructure," said Burch. "It involves hardware, but it’s really about curriculum, it’s about pedagogy. That said, what we would want from larger urban school districts, and I’m sure what they’re gearing up to do, is to think about teacher training and capacity building. The course is only as good as it gets taught."

Of course, a plan like this requires not only the teachers and the technology, but the funding.  Burch says it does not appear that the pilot program has any federal money attached, but instead it is all coming from private sources.