in reply to
Computer Education in Public Schools
Given the lamentable job that some universities do of preparing CS students for real-world computing, teaching computing in schools is always going to be problematic.
As computers become a commonplace element of peoples lives and jobs, it becomes critical to ensure that children recieve some appropriate element of IT education, however this should probably simply be a broad, computer-literacy level of teaching. This is all that 95% of them are likely to ever need, and school teachers will often lack the experience, skills and knowledge to successfully teach more than this; IT, like music and maths, is a subject where occassionally the pupil will quickly outgrow the teacher -- we should focus on providing a sound IT foundation for all students, and then enabling, and assisting, those who wish to go further to develop themselves.
Those who will take their interest in computers further than a mere computer literacy class must be empowered to do so, and provided with the necessary foundation; this requires strong mathematical, logical, mathematical, technical and mathematical skills (did I mention maths?); I suspect that US schools suffer from similar problems in this regard to UK ones -- a shortage of specialist maths and technology staff, and a poor level of mathematical, scientific and technical knowledge among other staff.
We can help students to advance in all subjects, not just technological ones, by focusing early on on teaching them how to learn, and instilling in them a desire to learn, rather than focusing too much on facts and figures. Once they've developed these talents they will teach themselves things which interest them outside the core curriculum, we need then to help foster, develop and direct their interests, so that their own learning complements their formal education as well as possible.